How to develop a future-proof cloud platform for retail

Modern retailers require a paradigm shift in software development to provide them with the platforms to deliver connected journeys, flexible stores and efficient operations

Michael Schulte
By Michael Schulte on 20 May 2022
How to develop a future-proof cloud platform for retail

Retail ecosystems are continuously evolving.

Technology development and consumer demand for convenience and flexibility in their shopping journeys are the main driving factors for digital transformation, which has accelerated during the pandemic. Consequently, retailers are being forced to support journeys in parallel, as well as to adapt and improve business operations in various areas. This means they must focus on developing easily adaptable customer and staff journeys, and flexible store set-ups.

Behind the scenes, however, this can be challenging to execute. Traditional ways of managing retail stores and processes will not work anymore. Retailers need to take an end-to-end integral approach, where journeys, stores and business operations are managed as a whole, and where changing one part of the equation will immediately impact any other part. In reality, software solutions designed for single use cases become siloed and therefore impede innovation and complicate the delivery of today’s shopping experiences. Moreover, they are hard to upgrade to meet evolving demands, which results in retailers being unable to support new processes and journey innovations.

To overcome these challenges, we believe a holistic innovation strategy is needed. It should be a strategy that connects business and technological innovation. This calls for a highly responsive software platform that enables retailers to shift all gears simultaneously, orchestrate cons­umer journeys from the cloud while integrating with existing store ecosystems of touchpoints and software applications, and easily inject modern solutions in a structured way. In other words, retailers need a software platform that connects journeys easily, scales stores flexibly and operates retail businesses efficiently.

To achieve this, a paradigm shift needs to happen in software development. The software industry is already changing from exclusive to inclusive. Stand-alone, monolithic and siloed software solutions are something of the past now that the world is becoming more connected and integrated. In the future, software deliveries will be part of a continuous and accelerated innovation cycle where the software solution is constantly enriched to support the continuous evolution in consumer and staff journeys.

The conclusion? Maximum interoperability, agility and scalability are required to meet the demands of the ‘store of the future’, which will serve as a platform for both the customer’s shopping experience and for cross-channel fulfillment.

This can only be achieved if properly built from the start. It demands a different way of thinking about how to design and build future software solutions, namely with customer-centric planning to ensure their expectations are met; continuous integration and delivery methods to ensure situation-oriented functionality; and a cloud-native design to optimise IT efficiency and spending. Retailers should also consider software development based on application ­programming interfaces (APIs) to allow all applications to interact with external operating systems, microservices and data.

This is exactly what we did when developing our new cloud-native software platform for retail – Vynamic Retail Platform. We built a new cloud-native software platform from scratch for maximum scalability, security and performance. Open APIs enable smooth integration for adopting a best-of-breed ecosystem approach, while feature-rich microservices ensure high scalability that simplifies the composition and adaptation of journeys, and edge computing functionality provides offline availability. We offer different deployment scenarios, including as-a-service, with Microsoft Azure as a preferred partner, and we consistently use industry standards and cloud technologies for secure configuration and optimal performance.

We believe this is the only way to achieve true scalability, security and performance in the cloud. Hosted as a service, leveraging open APIs and modular microservices, and offering dedicated industry packages, Vynamic Retail Platform is a modern cloud solution that supports connected, flexible and efficient shopping experiences for customers. It’s easily adaptable to all specific needs, with predictable investments for retailers. In short, it is natively designed to address the demands of retailers’ digital ­transformation journeys.

Michael Schulte is vice president of product management retail software at Diebold Nixdorf

This article was originally published in the Spring 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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