Commerce Trends

by Manhattan Associates

Cloud-native or cloud-enabled? Beware ‘cloudwashing’ and don’t be fooled!

Cloud-native or cloud-enabled? Beware ‘cloudwashing’ and don’t be fooled!

If you read no further be sure your system is cloud-native and you will sail through seasonal peaks and troughs with ease. Black Friday will be anything but black for your retail organisation. Cloud-native systems are created for the web, are flexible, are elastically scalable, and will run anywhere there is an internet connection. They are, basically, everything you need your IT system to be to compete in today’s retail fast-lane.  You will leave your competitors in your wake as they hastily struggle to react to new fads and trends and find themselves fitting square pegs in round holes.

We are frequently reminded, most recently at the 2018 World Retail Congress (#WRC2018), that we need to provide a personalised and seamless service to customers.  A cloud-native system, with its ability to give a unified view of systems such as point of sale, clientelling and order fulfilment, empowers teams across the board to leverage data and hyper personalise brand engagement to drive a unique consumer experience.

Vendors and suppliers will often ‘cloudwash’ information-hungry people and use the terms ‘cloud-enabled’ and ‘cloud-native’ interchangeably which creates a great deal of confusion and blurs the lines between the two.

There are a few ways to not be caught out.  One is to check it is based on microservices rather than just encased in an IP-wrapper.  As the name implies, microservices are small, mostly autonomous components and each one performs a very specific function, such as order capture or inventory, and a genuine cloud-native application will be made up from many microservices joined together by a common fabric.

Another clue to look for when determining if a system is -native or -enabled is by looking at the updates.  If they are released annually or need downtime, the solution is not cloud-native. Cloud-native software is easily and continually updated with no downtime or disruption.

Look for limits around volumes and capacity. Cloud-native solutions are also elastically scaleable and there is definitely no need to fear a shut down over Black Friday or Cyber Monday!

Discover more ways to avoid being ‘cloudwashed’ here: