How Cloud Migration Can Underpin Retail Success

Discover how to keep one step ahead in retail with cloud migration. In this video Bryan Glick, Editor-in-Chief at Computer Weekly interviews Mark Thornton, Sales and Marketing Director at Maginus, about the challenges in today’s retail landscape - and why moving its services to the cloud has been key to enabling retail success for its customers.


Key Takeaways

  • The Business Drivers for Migrating to the Cloud
  • The Biggest Technology Challenges
  • Benefits of Migrating to the Cloud
  • Advice for those Embarking on a Cloud Application Migration Project



Video Transcript

Hi, welcome to this Computer Weekly video. I'm Bryan Glick - I'm the Editor-in-Chief of Computer Weekly and in this video we're going to be talking about how to migrate application software to the cloud. We're looking at some of the challenges involved in it, looking at why people are doing it, and most importantly trying to get an understanding of what benefits can be achieved for organisation’s that go through this sort of project. Now to help me do that - I'm joined by Mark Thornton. Mark is the Chief Operating Officer of the retail software specialist, Maginus.

BG: Mark, welcome - thank you for coming on. Now you’ve been through this process of migrating applications to the cloud, but let's take a little step back from that first and just try to get a feeling for why this is becoming so important, what are the real business drivers, particularly in the retail sector that are pushing organisation’s to move to the cloud.

MT: Okay, well retail is tough. It's a difficult environment in which to operate your business and that's just not been something that's been there for the last 12 months - it's actually been there for some time now and why has that happened? Well people can point to organisation’s like Amazon who've come into the market and disrupted the sector and what we're finding is some of our organisation’s, some of our customers, are up for the fight and they have to, they have to change their businesses in order to meet those challenges. Those challenge are that Amazon, and organisations like them, who offer superb service to their customers and in order to compete you also have to offer the same level of services. It doesn't just finish there. I think some organisation’s have made the mistake of thinking that the problem was just getting online - and once you were online the problem was solved. Now they’re facing the challenge that that’s not where the problem starts and finishes. It's also about understanding how to make profit and there are examples in the market now, Mothercare for example, who would have a fantastic website and feel as though they give great customer service, but if you don't understand your cost to serve model, or you don't understand how to make profit from an order - then you’re ultimately going to fail. We're all about solving, and not just the online problem, but also the cost to serve model.

BG: You've made a really good case there Mark for the business drivers that are pushing organisation’s to look to their software more into the cloud. Let's drill-down into some of the technology issues around that for people who are working in IT. What are the big challenges that they face in making this move?

MT: Well I would just bring us back to the problem that we're trying to solve again it's really examining what Amazon do very well which is having distributed warehousing, which is placing products as close to the end-user as possible. So how do our customers do that - how do we solve that problem? Well we can use AI for some predictive learning so that we can place product close to what the anticipated demand is but that's only part of the problem. The other part is actually distributing the software, the ERP system that these warehouses need you to use and the best way of doing that is through the cloud. So, our challenge as an organisation has been to take what we have in terms of incredibly rich software and functionality and then start to deploy that functionality using the cloud such that as long as someone has a browser they have access to our software.

BG: Most organisation’s clearly don't have the resources of an Amazon when it comes to making an application migration into the cloud and there's a lot of challenges as you've explained there that goes into this. You've been through this process, you migrated your core application to the cloud, how did you go about tackling those challenges to make it a success?

MT: Well it's not been easy and it's been a two years story but what we endeavoured to do was try something out and fail fast and indeed we started down a path which was very much we wanted to be cloud-service based, we wanted headless technologies involved, but what we quite quickly examined is that we weren’t evolving quick enough. We weren't getting down that roadmap quick enough to support our customers, so we tried another tact which a migration strategy and code conversion strategy - and that has worked tremendously well for us.

If there was one piece of advice, I would give to an organisation who was considering the same type of process is to lean heavily on your technology partners and I wish at the beginning we'd maybe done that - Oracle and Cintra have given us some great advice and that certainly has accelerated the process.

BG: So, you've been through this two-year project. It's been successful for you but clearly you've learnt a lot along the way as well. You know now you're on the other side of this project. What can you identify as the real benefits that you've got as an organisation and I guess your customers as well?

MT: Well for my customers they've got the product that they want for their business so no longer is the technology a barrier to their growth, they are able to deploy new implementations quickly without the challenges that we had previously with on-premise implementations, but with the cloud there are all the benefits as well. That their ability to scale quickly in peak is hugely beneficial, but what is also often overlooked is the ability to scale back in terms of your resources as well- when there are quiet times and our hope with this technology is it's not just quiet times in the year-seasonality. It's actually quiet times during the day so paring back resource in the middle of night when there just isn't the need for that computing power.

Some of the benefits for Maginus - well we had a user conference in October we presented this new release to our customer base and we have 10 projects to deal with in 2020 so we're absolutely delighted.

BG: So you know you've had a successful project but even probably many of the people watching this video and clearly aren't as far through that sort of migration process as you are now, if you were talking to somebody who was starting out on a cloud application migration now and you could give them one piece of advice - what do you think that would be?

MT: Just start. It is as simple as that. In hindsight maybe we just talked about it too long and rather than just get going. The quicker you get going the quicker you’re going to receive the benefits.

BG: That's a great bit of advice to finish off. Mark Thornton from Maginus thanks for coming on and sharing some of your experiences of a successful application migration to the cloud.

That's all we've got time for on this video, hopefully, you've taken away some useful experiences and ideas that you can put into your plans for moving applications into the cloud. Thanks for watching.

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