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The end of traditional IT systems in retail?

The end of traditional IT systems in retail?

This is how the Hybrid Cloud based on Azure Stack HCI supports your retail organisation

No more cumbersome server infrastructure in traditional data centres. The future of retail is in the cloud. Where traditional IT infrastructure shaped the past of your business, the future lies with the Hybrid Cloud based on Azure Stack HCI.
In this blog, you will discover the limitations of traditional IT infrastructure and the possibilities of hybrid cloud and Azure Stack HCI. A fusion of technologies that accelerate the transition to smart retail and help you take the customer experience in your shop to the next level.

What is traditional IT infrastructure and what are its shortcomings?

Traditional IT infrastructure relies on several principles that make it difficult for retail organisations to respond quickly to market demands:


1. On-premise physical servers and IT infrastructure
In many large retail companies, you still see large data centres that house physical servers alongside storage devices and networking equipment. Those components are static, expensive to buy and cannot be set up in 123.

To expand a data centre, or at least its capacity functionality, you take into account a lot of limitations. After all, it means making major investments again and being patient. It does not make it the most flexible solution to adapt your organisation to fluctuating workloads, rapid growth or technological innovations.
2. Monolithic software applications
Many software applications in traditional IT systems were developed as single, tightly integrated units. Such "legacy" applications are often large, complex and static. Changing or updating features therefore requires a lot of development effort.

This, in turn, entails various risks. Consider, for instance, potential downtime or interruptions to critical business processes. It makes you less inclined to embrace innovations and less responsive to market trends or customer expectations.
3. Obsolete POS systems
A lot of retail businesses are still reeling from the Point of Sales (POS) cachier systems of yesterday. Systems that were developed decades ago and completely ignored the challenges of today, let alone the future. They are often closed, standalone systems that focus on processing transactions and stock management.
Again, the biggest challenge is the lack of flexibility and integration capabilities. For example, in times when retail is moving towards omnichannel approaches, outdated POS systems struggle to add new payment options or adapt to cross-channel experiences.  Integrations with CRM platforms or e-commerce environments are also often a challenge.
4. Tailor-made IT
Tailor-made IT environments have the advantage of perfectly meeting your specific business needs and operational workflows. But what if those change? In times when technological innovations are only new for a very short time, further development on custom coding is labour, time and cost intensive.
Yet another serious hurdle for retail organisations looking to expand or change the functionality or capacity of their IT infrastructure. In addition, "vendor lock-in" lurks around the corner.
5. Traditional data warehouses and business intelligence tools
Data warehouses store transactional data for later analysis. Today, these get a lot more data to process than in the past. As a result, they struggle with the volume, speed and variety of data generated by today's retail environments.
This leads to performance issues but also scalability limitations or high infrastructure costs. Outdated Business Intelligence tools also often lack advanced analytics capabilities such as real-time insights or unstructured datasets from social media or Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
When you read about traditional IT systems in the context of retail in this blog, know that these are IT infrastructures - often outdated - that are static, have complex configurations and are difficult to scale. Just as retail is undergoing a huge transformation and moving towards a global Retail 4.0 approach, these systems limit the growth of retail organisations.
As a retail business, if you want to meet customer expectations and reap the benefits of emerging technologies, you better deploy systems that are flexible, scalable and cost-efficient though. Find out exactly what that is here at Proximus SpearIT.


Download our Smart Retail e-book, to discover all the benefits of hybrid cloud based on Azure Stack HCI for your retail business.
Download our e-book


Your IT infrastructure: as dynamic as your retail business

Modern consumers expect nothing less than a seamless, personalised and engaging shopping experience. Online as well as offline. Traditional IT systems, as explained above, will no longer get you there as an ambitious retailer. If you don't want to lose your customers to competitors who do meet customer demand, start upgrading your IT infrastructure to a dynamic, flexible and scalable environment today.
With the rise of technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and advanced data analytics, as a retailer you have endless opportunities to gain deeper insights into your customers' behaviour and preferences. With opportunities for personalised offers, better inventory management and optimised efficiency, your dynamic IT system will help you meet market expectations.
Because, as a retail entrepreneur, you process and store customers' personal and transactional data on a daily basis, dynamic IT infrastructures also focus on security. Through robust security measures, they protect customer data and business-critical information. Thanks to patches and updates, these are virtually always up-to-date and adapted to the latest knowledge on cybersecurity.
Technologies such as the hybrid cloud based on Azure Stack HCI are known to be very dynamic, flexible, scalable and secure. This is precisely why they are the perfect sidekicks of ambitious retail organisations. What Hybrid cloud and Azure Stack HCI can do for your business is fodder for the last part of this blog.

HCI and hybrid cloud as sidekicks of smart retail

Hybrid cloud environments combine the flexibility of the public cloud with the control and security of the private cloud. This allows you to easily divide  
workloads between public and private. In turn, Azure Stack HCI integrates high computing power, storage and networking components into a single, unified system.

The benefits? Optimal efficiency, less complexity, and lower costs.
The disadvantages? It requires specific expertise and a tailor-made plan of action to manage this infrastructure. Expertise that we house at Proximus SpearIT. Whatever your needs, we assist you from the analysis of your current infrastructure and your future plans (via our cloud assessment), to long after the implementation of your new IT infrastructure. 
You will learn how hybrid cloud based on Azure Stack HCI supports you in such areas as:
  • switching to the cloud,
  • omnichannel integration,
  • data-driven decisions,
  • customer engagement and personalisation, and
  • cybersecurity and (privacy) compliance.

Download our Smart Retail e-book, to discover all the benefits of hybrid cloud based on Azure Stack HCI for your retail business.
Download our e-book


These are just a few examples of how retail businesses flourish thanks to the solid foundation their IT infrastructure provides them. Moreover, this hybrid technology can be found at Microsoft. With Azure Stack HCI, they have developed - in our opinion - the best HCI solution on the market. This because of 4 reasons:
1. The flexibility of the hybrid cloud
With Azure Stack HCI, you seamlessly extend your on-premises infrastructure to the cloud. Think flexible scaling of resources, migrating workloads between on-premises and cloud environments, and leveraging cloud services as backup for important datasets.
2. Scalability and excellent performance
Azure Stack HCI embraces various workloads such as POS systems, inventory management and e-commerce platforms. More than that, it does so with massive computing power, storage capacity and network resources in a single, integrated platform. This makes it very easy to manage but also to scale during peaks. Without the risk of downtime or failures.
3. Security and GDPR compliance
To securely process, store and analyse your customer data, Microsoft has incorporated a lot of measures into its Azure services. Think of built-in encryption, identity and access management, and threat detection. This protects your data from cyber threats, data leaks and unauthorised access. Moreover, Azure Stack HCI complies with GDPR standards.
4. High ROI

HCI ensures a less complex IT environment. Not only through lower acquisition costs compared to components in traditional data centres, but also through streamlined management, lower overheads and minimal downtimes.

In summary, it is not too late to trade in your traditional IT infrastructure for the power, flexibility and scalability of Hyperconverged Infrastructure. With our Azure Stack HCI experts by your side, you can be sure of the best choices tailored to your vision for the future, and seamless integration into your business processes.

Download our Smart Retail e-book, to discover all the benefits of hybrid cloud based on Azure Stack HCI for your retail business.
Download our e-book