X-IO’s retail customers tell us that secular margin pressures in their markets — whether they’re broad-line or specialty-focused — are combining with increasing competition, shopper expectations and the revolution in mobility to accelerate their investments in data-based systems and infrastructure that help them:
- reach the right customers with the right offers before their competition
- through the channels those customers prefer for selection and fulfillment
- while ensuring that the product the customer wants to purchase is always on hand, when the customer wants it, at the best possible price.
This emphasis on increased automation and analytics is coupled, our customers tell us, with a rigorous focus on cost reduction. The mantra is: centralize, reduce, improve.
That means that retail IT organizations are shifting their focus from traditional critical areas — distributed point-of-sale systems and inventory management applications — to integrated always-on virtualized infrastructure that can weather the demanding peak load of the retail cycle while centralizing traditionally-distributed systems, to channel integration applications that couple and enhance both online shopping and on-the-ground shopping experiences, and to promotions, advertising and demand creation campaigns that are carefully targeted and carefully instrumented, with offers tied to customer behavior, in the store and online and yields carefully measured.
This shift in emphasis, in retail IT, is leading to a significant change in both retail IT topologies — centralization, rather than distribution — and in retail software architectures, as server virtualization becomes critically important to cost reduction programs and to the effective operation of branch- and outlet-level services on shared, centralized infrastructure. Desktop virtualization, too, is becoming increasingly strategic to cutting edge bricks-and-mortar retailers, as virtualized point-of-sale environments promise to reduce outlet operating expenses and improve uptime and performance.
Database-based applications, and end-to-end processing of retail transactional data is still at the heart of retail IT operations, but today’s data-hungry statistical and predictive analytical applications are outpacing transactional systems in their demand for rock-solid high-performance infrastructure with 24x7x265 availability profiles.
X-IO’s retail customers tell us they value their Intelligent Storage Elements for:
- the no-touch, set-and-forget reliability, which contrast favorably with their experience of traditional enterprise storage arrays and the cadre of technicians required to keep those arrays up and running
- the rated-performance-at-rated-capacity guarantees, which allows retail IT architects to design virtualized infrastructure, dedicated transactional systems and large-scale data warehouses with confidence about both operating performance and cost
- the unique ability of hybrid ISEs to respond, second by second, to changes in application demand for storage, applying the performance of solid-state disk technology to the spikes in application-level demand, without the exhorbitant cost of all-SSD storage arrays
- the five-year no-cost warranty, and the ability to extend the useful life of their top-tier enterprise storage across two conventional storage buying cycles.