A Viewpoint from Jeff Warren, Vice President Solution Management, Oracle Retail
launched Oracle Retail Cloud Services combine reliability, security, cost
savings and built-in interoperability
ever-accelerating pace of change in retail puts pressure on everyone within the
retail enterprise, but perhaps no one feels it more acutely than the CIO.
Technology is rapidly reshaping key elements of the traditional shopping
experience, from m-commerce and mobile payments to store-based fulfillment. IT
departments are tasked with discovering, and bringing on line, these fast-emerging
functionalities, while at the same time maintaining the existing architectures
that support both basic corporate and retail-specific systems.
competing demands – “keeping the lights on” while simultaneously serving as the
engine for business agility – retail CIOs require cloud-based applications from
a trusted technology partner with extensive industry expertise. Oracle is
responding with a new offering of Oracle Retail Cloud Services applications for
managing e-commerce; customer engagement; order management and order brokering;
loss prevention; and brand compliance. (See product list below.)
applications, which in essence outsource many elements of IT management,
maintenance, and upgrades, address retailers’ need for business agility. It’s
increasingly common that when an IT organization can’t supply the new
functionality that the business side seeks, a simple lack of time is cause.
Cloud deployments free up IT resources for more strategic projects, and they
also allow technology vendors to deliver innovation to retail users more
quickly and with more frequent updates.
Costs in Check
benefits of cloud-based applications have been well documented, and are part of
the reason so many businesses and individuals have been embracing cloud-based
applications, data storage, and processing. They include:
initial hardware and software costs
ongoing costs, leading to a lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)
deployments and streamlined routes for patches and system upgrades
features are particularly well suited to a retail environment. Scalability and
easy access to additional processing power on an as-needed basis fit the needs
of a highly seasonal business, one that must often deal with unexpected spikes
(such as when a retailer seeks to promote a suddenly “hot” product) and dips.
pricing for retail applications maximizes this benefit, bundling software,
hardware, and upgrades into a predictable cost structure. In addition, by
pricing IT services like a utility, retailers only pay for the processing power
they require and actually use.
Risk, Maximizing Security
retailers have hesitated with cloud deployments based on concerns about data
security and overall reliability. This is understandable, given that retail
data breaches are highly visible and can tarnish both individual companies and
the entire industry. The ability to protect data and maintain the trust of
their customers necessarily remains top-of-mind for retailers.
Retail Cloud Services benefit from the company’s worldclass culture of
operational excellence. Oracle Data Centers are classified as Tier 4, the
highest level of sophistication, providing 99.995% of uptime. This translates
to less than 30 minutes of downtime during an entire calendar year –
performance that very few (if any) retailers could match. Oracle Retail also
has access to Oracle’s top-notch expertise in the cloud, security, and
features inherent to Oracle technology solutions allow for transparent data
encryption at the column level, allowing PII (Personally Identifiable
Information) to be encrypted using keys that are held in a separate “wallet.”
Backups are automatically encrypted, and keys can easily be changed on an
as-needed basis. The Oracle Retail solutions leverage Oracle Identity Manager solutions
to manage and enforce authentication and authorization for applications, and
all elements are PCI-DSS certified.
will also benefit from the strategy behind Oracle Retail Cloud Services. These
solutions are part of the retail industry group’s comprehensive Commerce
Anywhere strategy, which encompasses technology ranging from financial
applications to system hardware, so they are designed for maximum
interoperability with both on-premise and cloud-based systems.
offers flexibility in cloud deployment options. Because different retailers
will be at different points in the cloud adoption curve, Managed Cloud services
(also known as hosting) allow users to get more comfortable with the concept of
outsourcing elements of their IT infrastructure. As the technology provides
“wins” and the retailer’s culture adapts, the adoption path can ultimately lead
to Oracle Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service offerings.
Oracle offers choices that retailers can leverage based on where they are in
terms of their own maturity level and business needs.
importantly, Oracle Retail Cloud Services give CIOs the tools to keep up with
today’s dizzying speed of change. Retailers can no longer wait one to two years
to implement the next big thing; IT departments need to deliver meaningful
value to the business in time frames that are measured in months. By
outsourcing key day-to-day operational duties to cloud providers, IT
departments are freed up to offer higher levels of strategic innovation and