In today’s retail environment, the “store” is never closed. As a result, retailers must fortify their efforts to ensure business systems are always operational for internal business users and consumers. Wherever, whenever and however they want to buy. Increasingly, retail functions are shaped and driven by digital technology. This creates a heightened need to support the digital lives of retail buyers and workers across a wide range of devices, applications and services. If retailers fail to align access to their systems with constituents’ digital lives, they will find themselves in an untenable situation.
Mind The Gap!
A gap occurs when an organisation cannot meet the recovery requirements expected by its business units in terms of availability and data protection. Gaps are expensive in both money and opportunity costs and particularly destructive to digital life in retail. It chokes retailers’ ability to generate sales and profits, and it prevents shoppers from purchasing products. It affects the ability of retailers’ business stakeholders and shoppers to enjoy a mutually beneficial, satisfying experience. This not only negatively impacts the relationship between retailers and their customers today, but longer term.
There are, however, steps IT decision-makers can take to close gaps. Aside from a viable business continuity plan, they can invest in solutions designed to address the business continuity challenges of today’s highly virtualised and cloud-enabled retail computing environments. These should focus on three critical areas:
1. Ensuring business continuity and availability
- Optimised backup and recovery strategy: retailers should follow the 3-2-1 best practices guideline for data protection, which is:
- Maintain at least three copies of data
- Store data on at least two different types of storage media
- Keep one copy of the backups in an off-site location
- Ensure data loss avoidance: the solution should achieve major improvements in recovery time and recovery point objectives of less than 15 minutes for all applications and data.
- Off-site backup and recovery: the flexibility to leverage cloud backup and replication as part of the 3-2-1 data protection strategy.
- Fast recovery of the entire machine or application-level recovery: verifiable recovery of every file, application and virtual server every time, is key.
2. Compliance and visibility
- Visibility and real-time monitoring and reporting for virtual environments: helps meet compliance requirements and anticipate and address potential problems before they affect operations.
- End-to-end visibility for both physical and virtual machines: helps prevent possible failures of any type of application or system.
- Creation of incidents based on events that happen in the environment: retail environments are subject to strict regulations for data protection so having a clear picture of events can save time and money in meeting compliance requirements.
3. Workload mobility and cloud data management
- Testing applications and application upgrades before they go into production: most users are consumers of technology in their personal lives. And they bring those expectations with them to their work places – including in retail store environments – and wherever, whenever they shop. By using a solution that features an on-demand sandbox to test, applications can be delivered quickly and bug-free.
- Cloud-based workload mobility: public cloud is an increasingly valuable aspect of digital life in retail. It’s a cost effective way to scale IT resources without big capital expenditures or additional hiring. By leveraging public cloud services, IT teams can support DevOps teams with the infrastructure they need. And without having to go through lengthy procurement and deployment processes.
- Flexible, simple and cost-efficient deployment options: data can be managed, migrated and restored across a physical, virtual and cloud-based IT infrastructure without complex configurations or additional hardware investments, thus minimising operational costs.
In today’s retail environment, IT decision-makers have an important obligation to meet the digital requirements of all their internal functions as well as the diverse shopping and purchasing needs of consumers.
IT leaders must focus on business continuity and closing any gaps. With the right solutions in place, IT teams can ensure continuity and meet compliance requirements. They can also extend visibility and leverage workload mobility and cloud data management. We partner with Veeam Software as the innovative provider of solutions that deliver ‘Availability for the Always-On Enterprise’. Customers save time, mitigate risks, and dramatically reduce capital and operational costs.
‘3 Critical Steps to Retail Business Continuity’ extracts taken from TechTarget and Veeam whitepaper entitled ‘3 Critical Steps to Retail Business Continuity: How IT Can Help Make It Happen’.
Retail has always been a fast-moving, often-changing industry. Today, change isn’t being driven by new fashion styles or popular toys. Instead, the biggest changes in retail centre on the very nature of where, when and how products are purchased. Find out more by downloading the whitepaper.