Technology Record - Issue 25: Summer 2022

170 I NT E R V I EW Retail’s journey to the cloud We ask Michael Schulte of Diebold Nixdorf about the role of the cloud in retail and key criteria for transition BY E L LY YAT E S - ROB E R T S Diebold Nixdorf launched its Vynamic Retail Platform, a modular solution based on microservices, a cloud-native architecture and an appplication programming interface-first approach, in March 2022. Hosted on Microsoft Azure, the Vynamic Retail Platform is highly scalable and adaptable, as well as channel and touchpoint independent. As the cloud becomes integral to the operations of retailers, Michael Schulte, vice president of retail software product management at Diebold Nixdorf, discusses how brands can best use the technology to exceed customer experiences and drive business success. Where do you see the biggest growth opportunities for retailers as part of their digital transformation? While the customer experience may mean different things to different retail segments, one thing is true for all retailers: today’s customers seek relevance, convenience and instant fulfilment of their needs. That’s why we see the store expanding both in role and responsibility, with online retail quickly becoming part of the core processes. This puts high demands on streamlining and improving omnichannel customer journeys – such as growing the efficiency of order fulfilment processes and the effectiveness of personalised loyalty campaigns. Integrating different channels and touchpoints has always been important, but now it is essential to solving the puzzle. What is your take on cloud-native vs ‘cloudified’ software solutions? Traditional software applications were often built as standalone, siloed solutions. However, cloud computing has raised the bar. Security, scalability, performance, deployment, upgradability and openness to use point-of-sale software in a wider technology ecosystem are now incredibly important functionalities. However, they impact the core design of a software solution’s architecture and cannot be easily met by simply ‘cloudifying’ your legacy software solutions. If you want to reap the full benefits of cloud computing and cloud-centric software, the solution is a cloud-native software, that is built from scratch and leverages open cloud standards. What does the cloud architecture for a store of the future look like? The store-of-the-future will have a broader role compared to the traditional store we see today. It will be viewed as an asset that contributes to the omnichannel customer experience and online-to-offline journey execution. Continuous readiness to innovate requires native support for flexibility and openness, so retailers can rapidly expand and adjust customer and staff journeys. From a software design perspective, this can be realised through highly modular software architecture based on microservices and an API-first design approach. And to complete the picture: the execution of some journeys requires a cloud set-up combined with offline enablement. That means cloud-native software should also support hybrid deployment models involving edge devices, so that the software can either run 100 per cent in the cloud, 100 per cent in the store, or in a hybrid configuration.