Looking for a Cloud Provider for Your Retail Business? Here are 5 Questions to Ask
If you’re one of the many retailers looking at a move of your technology to the cloud, that’s a good move. According experts, moving to the cloud helps retailers get to market faster by making it easier to scale and easier to innovate without the risk. Add to that the ability to get intelligent insights from your data in ways that aren’t possible with on premises technology, and you have very good reasons to digitally transform. But how do you choose the right retail cloud provider? While you likely have specific industry and business requirements, there are four questions any retailer should ask potential candidates:
1. What Are Your Certifications?
Reputable retail cloud providers comply with industry standards and quality frameworks, as well as best practices—and they’ll have recognized third-party certifications to back it up. Compliance with standards like ISO/IEC provides the confidence that the provider is serious about providing a secure, compliant cloud environment. For example, Microsoft and LS Retail cloud-based solutions are all offered via the Microsoft cloud. 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies run their businesses on the Microsoft stack because they know they can trust and depend on it.
2. What Is Your Technology Roadmap?
It’s not enough to have good platform and technologies now; they must be capable of keeping up with your business as it grows. Make sure the retail cloud provider can demonstrate that their architecture, services, and standards handle your future as well as current workloads and business processes. How will they innovate and grow over the next several years? Will they stick with specific technologies and vendors? How will they ensure interoperability?
3. What Is Your Data Governance Framework?
Reputable retail cloud providers provide robust physical security from the top down. Make sure their capabilities are on par with or above your security strategy and policies. Also, be sure to inquire about how your data will be stored and managed, and make sure the provider can meet any specific industry requirements and will give you the choice and control of your data that you demand. Remember: You own your data! If the provider is not transparent about data, you should look elsewhere.
4. Who Are Your Partners?
Who is the retail cloud provider working with? Make sure you are aware of relationships with key vendors and those vendors’ credentials. If they partner with a vendor like Microsoft, what is their level of partnership, and how long have they been partners? You’re looking for stability and longevity throughout, but an added bonus is integrating existing technologies or plugging in new ones. If you have multiple solutions running on the same technology stack, adding new functionality and updates/upgrades should run more smoothly.
5. How Much Experience Do You Have?
As with selecting any other product or service, you should look for a retail cloud provider with deep experience and an excellent track record, preferably engaging in similar deployments to what you’re planning. Don’t assume they’ve done this before; ask for use cases and customer references…and if they refuse, move on.
It Comes Down To Trust
Overall, you’re looking for a retail cloud provider you can trust with a major transformation. They need to expertise, qualifications, and experience to deliver and keep delivering. Perhaps most importantly, they need to make you feel safe in your decision to hand over your business to them. If they do their job right, they’ll be your partner for a long time, so make sure you feel good about the relationship you can have with them. You need a partner who will communicate and collaborate with you every step of the way and be there for you to support the technology you depend on.
If You’re Ready for the Cloud, We Can Take You There
Retail leaders recognize the importance of the cloud to propel their businesses forward…and it takes the right retail cloud provider to do the job right the first time. As a long-time Microsoft and LS Retail partner, we understand retail, the cloud, and all the technology and processes behind a successful digital transformation. If you’re ready to make the move to the cloud but not sure where to begin, contact the retail experts at ArcherPoint, and be sure to check out our financials and business intelligence solutions for retailers.