The skin of a watermelon presents a paradox or simultaneous reality of its core; both perfectly ripe and disappointingly mushy, but you won’t know which until it’s cut open. So you just leave it be; looking green and fine until it’s too late and… disintegrates.
We’ve worked with a number of organisations who make use of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV suite as their Enterprise Resource Planner (ERP). As is common with similar off the shelf tools such as SAP and FinancialForce for Salesforce, it can be hard to provide a productive and enjoyable user experience, often requiring a number of unituitive steps on several screens to perform basic tasks such as logging a sick day.
Far from technology star gazing, we explore what a modern retail technology platform could look like. Established retailers are typically encumbered by a number of legacy technology choices that are deeply embedded in their business – from a creaking SAP rollout, to proprietary Warehouse Management Systems that are resistant to integration.
When coming up with an explanation of our cloud migration heritage for my talk at Red Hat Forum the phrase “accidental cloud migrators” came to mind. You see we didn’t set out to help organisations move workloads to the cloud but nevertheless we’ve found ourselves helping organisations modernise and migrate. On reflection, I think accidental cloud migrations are the best kind of migration, let me explain why.
Cloud is good for us. So too are practices like DevOps and Continuous Delivery. It’s easy on the surface to read a few articles and think, “yeah, that’s a good idea,” but putting them into practice on the other hand isn’t so easy.
Your organisation has decided it’s ready to move to the cloud. Where do you start?
For all the excitement and talk of cloud it seems the reality, at least in enterprises, is a little less glamorous. With more and more executives backing the move to the cloud, more and more organisations are booting up large migration programmes. Unfortunately their aging IT departments lack the experience required and organisations are forced to depend on service providers to fill the gap.
The retail industry has been squeezed on many fronts over the past decade, from Internet giants flexing their technology muscle (and willingness to not always turn a profit) to disrupt markets to fast-moving start-ups who are unencumbered by big company process, and who are able to attract strong technology talent.
As a polyglot software engineer, I have discovered some disciplines which I have found beneficial to me. My hope is that readers of this article will find the experience I share here profitable to their endeavours as polyglots (or indeed as monoglots).
An increasing number of retailers are exposing core parts of their business through APIs, delivering a more cohesive customer experience across a variety of touchpoints, making it easier to streamline internal operations, and opening opportunities to interface with external channels.