Retail: How to win this holiday season

Posted by AIMS Innovation


While many companies are almost at a standstill during the holidays, one industry has its busiest time of the year. With Black Friday looming closely ahead, and the Christmas shopping already started, retailers are facing an influx of customers that demands the highest level of functionality in their IT infrastructure.

The National Retail Federation expects sales in November and December to increase 3.7 percent, and holiday sales in 2015 are expected to represent approximately 19 percent of the retail industry’s annual sales. Almost half of holiday shopping will be done online, and a record high 21.4 percent of smartphone owners will use it to purchase holiday merchandise.

“BizTalk provides a coordinated, customized and integrated shopping experience across points including the store, website, catalogue, smart devices and call center".

BizTalk increases operational efficiency by reducing enterprise application integration (EAI) complexity. In simpler terms, BizTalk constitutes a platform that connects the different systems and applications in your business and allows them to communicate with each other. In a retail this means, for example, that your online inventory is always up to date on your website, ensuring a good shopping experience for your customers. BizTalk also offers B2B integration, meaning you can integrate your customers, logistic providers and suppliers in your end-to-end business processes. This will create a more efficient supply and demand chains by standardizing electronic business transactions

With BizTalk having such a vital role in the business, ensuring that all these systems are communicating, the most important factor this holiday is making sure your BizTalk is fully operational at all times. This means constant monitoring to pick up any errors or messages that may lead to downtime in your system.

To do this, you can have your staff monitor your BizTalk manually. This means someone in your IT department has to spend all their time setting thresholds by playing a guessing game as to which parameters may have potential problems. This can result in thresholds being set either too high or too low, meaning you either get overwhelmed by too many alerts, most of which are irrelevant, or you might miss important alerts, eventually leading to your system breaking down.

Imagine, for example, your website caving in under the holiday pressure, realizing any retailers worst nightmare. Not only will you lose important revenue this holiday, but the loss of trust from your customers might mean they don't come back next year either.

With proactive, intelligent monitoring, you don’t need to worry about when the system is going to break down, and the disaster recovery process that will ensue. AIMS will tell you whenever there is an anomaly in your system, so you can check it out before it becomes a serious issue.  Since it’s a machine learning solution, intelligent monitoring evolves with changes in your enterprise and then alerts your team only to issues that truly need attention.

This means both managers and IT operations can take the time to enjoy the holiday season along with everyone else, without worrying about BizTalk performance issues.


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