Clicks To Win Over Bricks With Availability

Delivering unmatched customer experience is the new normal. But are CXOs prepared to win customers with the Availability of Always-On business?

The recently concluded online sale season in India highlights the evolution of the e-commerce sector and growing breed of shoppers who are comfortable buying almost everything online – from detergents and vegetables to expensive smart TVs and furniture. To this effect, the total number of online shoppers in India is estimated to grow 3.5 times to touch 175 million by 2020*. The retailers, on the other hand, have their task cut out to keep their promise of delivering quality and precise quantity on time to customers. In this context, data needs to be available 24*7*365 and has become critical to gain a competitive edge and survive the digital disruption.

With an increase in traffic loads, data security and agility is of paramount importance. For data to securely move across multi-cloud infrastructures, it must meet the expectations of the mobile, always-on world. All business, large or small need to offer round the clock uninterrupted services to survive ‘the new world order of consumer’s expectations of an always-on enterprise’ and this brings new insights from data and rapid increases in productivity to speed the pace of innovation and delivery of new digital services and experiences that improve how we live and work. With consumer experience at the heart of a business, availability of data can provide a crucial advantage for businesses in the sale season.

 A surge in online shoppers 

A joint study by Assocham and Deloitte has revealed that the Indian online retail market is expected to cross $50 billion in value by the end of 2018, as compared to the current value of $38.5 billion. In addition, new technology trends like cloud, big data, mobile, etc. are elevating the convenience levels and further empowering consumers for informed decision-making. To elevate the shopping experience, customers want the online interface to be engaging and fast to respond. With the content shifting from plain text to visual i.e. images and videos, websites /apps are managing massive amount data size that users expect at the click of the button. Delivering an Always-On business will help convert consumer engagement to sales.

Unplanned downtime preparedness 

Unplanned downtime can not only result in loss of revenue but also impact productivity and reputation. According to Veeam Availability Report 2017, 82% of enterprises are facing a gap between user demand and what IT can deliver, or an ‘Availability Gap’. This gap results in unplanned downtime costs averaging $21.8 million per year which stifles innovation, as 66% of enterprises admit that digital transformation initiatives are being held back by unplanned downtime.

Are the online retailers really prepared to gain maximum from the internet traffic during this holiday season? The answer lies in their availability. The only way to mitigate the risk is to have the right technology in place to monitor, restore, and restart.

Consumer communication: In the event of a blackout, direct a customer to a helpline or activate dark site. This assures customers with the dedicated message that the issue is being resolved.

Testing paradigms: Understanding the present performance metrics for your website/app goes a long way in defining peak loads during the holiday season. One way to do this is to scan historical data of online traffic. Once performance patterns are formed, benchmark average daily traffic against past peak loads to generate insights in meeting high demands.

Mock load testing: Conducting mock test with artificial traffic and help analyze server capacity to accommodate peak loads without failing to meet the anticipated demand. If it fails to accommodate the increased load, get your technical team to resolve potential bottlenecks. Continue to test till the website accommodates peak loads.

Monitoring is key: Once the bottlenecks are removed, it is critical to automate real-time monitoring of backup and virtual infrastructure. This helps in notifying any potential issues before the website or application impact the users negatively. Additionally, this enables tracking of resource allocation and utilization, which is critical for maintaining Availability of IT services

The fast maturing Indian e-commerce market is entering mobile platforms as well via applications that are accessed by consumers anytime, anywhere. This is creating a further demand for Always-On platforms. While Availability will act as a differentiating factor for winning or losing a customer, any gap in Availability will cause hindrances in establishing a smooth shopping experience. Availability will play a key role in driving swiftness for businesses during the shopping season.

* ‘Digital Retail 2020’ report by Google and AT Kearney.


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