Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

Follow the Lead of Holiday Retailers: Embrace Rapid Response

Rudy Lukez
Director, ERP Product Marketing, Oracle

Today, efficiency defines business. This is very apparent during the holiday season, when performance matters and seamless in-store, in-app, and online transactions rule across supply chains and drive overall customer experiences. Such efficiency requires rapid response. Yet small and medium businesses face challenges in delivering this fast functionality and keeping up with their larger competition. 

On-premises systems can devour both time (think “years” and “months”) and financial resources. Too often, SMBs sink under the weight of time-consuming and expensive application upgrades / patches and IT modernization efforts. It is requires too much capital to move forward with a major upgrade or release, or to collect and catalog everything.

By the time a project is researched, scoped, installed, integrated and operating—and employees and others are trained on how to use the new system—it is time to start the whole process again.

This is not the foundation for rapid response.

Worse, on-premise systems usually become IT islands, forming data siloes. Collecting, managing, and sharing of data at digital speed becomes exceptionally difficult, blocking SMBs from putting data and information to work strategically..

There is a better way.

As you probably have heard, cloud-based systems deliver robust and highly flexible frameworks for managing IT resources. This means that a SMB can transition from a reactive mindset to a proactive mindset. It can now play on a level playing field.

Consider the example of your favorite holiday retailer. A single cloud platform reduces the friction between the online and in-store shopping experience. It simplifies processes, speeds transactions, and improves visibility into products and resources. In the best possible scenario, SMBs can harness the cloud’s power to provide the same level of agility and flexibility that larger competitors have already.

Into the Fast Lane

Large retailers have historically had an advantage in deploying point-of-sale (POS) technology and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in order to automate sales and supply chain operations. With their resources, they could set up and operate an automated POS terminal that was automatically linked to the ERP system to update inventory, submit refill orders, store customer purchasing behavior for predictive analysis and handle any/all accounting formalities.

SMB retailers need this same power to compete, but since they do not have the extensive IT infrastructure, they need automated systems- with the same functionality—that fit their budgets. Historically, they have always tried to fill this need through the use of multiple standalone systems and had to manually navigate between them.

Is your small to medium business overwhelmed by the season? Chat with us to get help.

From an IT perspective, cloud computing reduces—and sometimes eliminates—many of these headaches. Instead of paying constant attention to the IT systems, doing data entry, and updating spreadsheets, SMBs can use their limited resources more strategically. They can be just as competitive as larger retailers.

Let’s not forget about the cost savings. With cloud, an SMB can transfer staff from repetitive, low-impact tasks to high-impact initiatives that produce new products, services, and revenue streams. By breaking free of technology upgrade cycles and other daunting projects, a small and medium business can adopt a more iterative and agile framework to respond to constantly changing business requirements. Suddenly, a strategic vision and value take shape.

An Ally, Not an Enemy

Unfortunately, you’ll hit speed bumps on the road to progress. Many company executives mistrust the cloud, believing that it doesn’t deliver any intrinsic value, and that the technology introduces security and other risks.

In reality, cloud computing creates efficiency and cost savings. And no organization benefits more than SMBs, which typically have limited dollars to spend on capital IT investments. The right cloud infrastructure maximizes limited resources. It removes worries about having the right emergency power systems, accessing the right backup sets at a moment’s notice, and ensuring data security. In addition, no more endless software updates and patches.

As technology evolves from a cost center to a profit center, challenges fade, and opportunities grow. The result is an SMB that operates at maximum agility—able to pivot on a dime, to accommodate change.

Learn more about how Oracle cloud solutions for SMBs can help you become as agile and cost effective as your favorite holiday retailer. If you like what you hear, chat with one of our SMB specialists today

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