Month: January 2017

In the age of omnichannel retailing, optimising digital performance is key to winning, says Claranet

AWS and Claranet will discuss retail optimisation at a joint event at the AWS Auditorium, London, on 9 February

With ecommerce and mobile both acting as a significant driving force for retailers over 2016 and especially during the Christmas period, it is apparent that the capacity to continually optimise IT operations is now a key competitive differentiator in the retail sector. This is according to Claranet, which is hosting a joint event with Amazon Web Services (AWS) on 9 February to discuss how retailers can gain competitive advantage in this fast-paced environment.

The need for continual optimisation will only continue to grow in importance as technological developments such as the Internet of Things, predictive analytics, and machine learning all shape an increasingly personalised experience for consumers.

Online spending rose by 16 per cent in 2016, reaching £133billion, according to research from IMRG and Capgemini. Of this total, a significant proportion was spent in the weeks leading up to Christmas – £25billion. The Christmas period also saw mobile continue its rapid growth as a shopping tool, with mobile purchases up 47 per cent year-on-year.

Sam Bashton, Head of the Claranet Cloud Practice, commented on the significance of these trends:

There is now unparalleled convenience for consumers, allowing them to make purchases at any time from any place – and growing ecommerce sales indicates how well this offer is resonating. However, it is this very promise of convenience that puts such pressure on retailers – as consumers become more accustomed to the ease of shopping like this, their tolerance for technical issues and delays will decrease. This puts a competitive premium on ensuring that IT systems are agile and scalable enough to deliver a seamless experience.

Referring to Claranet’s own work with fast-fashion brand Missguided, Bashton spoke of the strategic importance of continuously optimising IT operations:

For disruptive brands such as Missguided, to be competitive you need to be ready to constantly sharpen IT performance in order to deliver the seamless experience that consumers expect.

In its own research, Claranet found that 48 per cent of retailers consider optimisation to be their biggest IT challenge over the next 5 years, as opposed to 39 per cent of other organisations. Bashton commented on why this might be the case: “As a result of technological developments the future of retail looks increasingly personalised, continuous, and immersive. Augmented and Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things will all be deployed to enhance the in-store experience and to make home shopping more enjoyable and more seamless.

Bashton concluded: “Retailers should begin developing this approach of continuous optimisation now, so that they can better take advantage of ecommerce’s current benefits and future developments. I look forward to discussing the topic further at the retail event with AWS on Thursday 9th February.”

To register for Claranet’s event – Relentless optimisation: the new normal – and for the full agenda, visit:…

Security concerns holding back innovation, finds Claranet

Research finds 57 per cent rank security and compliance as biggest IT challenge

Research has found that UK IT departments are some of the most likely in Europe to identify security and compliance as the biggest challenge they are currently facing and, as a result, they are also some of the most likely to host their applications internally. For Claranet, as security fears inhibit risk taking and, by extension innovation, organisations must work to alleviate their concerns if they wish to remain competitive in their market and innovate in a controlled way.

Vanson Bourne surveyed 900 end user IT leaders from mid-market businesses in the six markets in which Claranet operates (Germany, Benelux, France, Spain, Portugal, and the UK) and found that 57 per cent of UK organisations rank security and compliance as the biggest IT challenge, joint highest with security conscious Germany. This concern is reflected by the fact that 50 per cent of applications managed by UK businesses are hosted on internal infrastructure, which can be attributed to prevailing attitudes towards cloud security and data ownership. Additionally, authentication and security are the applications that are most likely to be hosted internally, with 63 per cent of UK organisations doing so, due to the fact that these are often associated with highly secure data.

For Ian Furness, Hosting Services Director at Claranet, it’s critical that British businesses address these security concerns and maintain the integrity of their data so they can facilitate innovation and respond to changing market pressures.

He explains:

Security concerns amongst UK organisations are justified as businesses come under increasing pressure to keep up with the constantly evolving threat landscape, especially as more data is analysed and stored online. However, these security concerns make organisations a lot more risk adverse, which ultimately stifles innovation. Considering that today’s businesses are becoming much more software driven and the gate to competitiveness comes down to adapting applications that respond to increasing market pressures, security concerns, if left unaddressed, present a major stumbling block to the prosperity of businesses in the UK.

Organisations often equate security to having perceived control, which indicates why British businesses are more likely to host their applications internally. It’s understandable that organisations may want to take this approach for their applications, particularly those that are associated with high risk information. But just because your servers are under your roof, this doesn’t necessarily make them more secure. In fact, if managed and maintained correctly, alternative delivery models, such as public cloud, are suitable for even the most sensitive data and can bring massive transformational benefits to organisations.

Though security is not likely to change as the number one IT priority any time soon, the specific threats, and the ways businesses manage and respond to them, most certainly will. Businesses will need to stay alert to changes to legislation and the nature of prevailing threats as more and more data is stored and analysed. IT services provider (ITSPs) have a critical role to play here. A well-staffed ITSP with years of security expertise is likely to be in a better position to maintain the integrity of data, compared to an under-resourced in-house IT team. By working with trusted ITSP, businesses can benefit from transformational benefits and highly compliant security protocols in tandem,” concludes Furness.