Commerce Platforms of the Future

The commerce platforms retailers are embracing today look and function far differently than the commerce platforms retailers were using just 10 to 15 years ago. Charles Darwin made a clear and compelling statement an age ago when he said that it was not the strongest or most intelligent that will survive but the ones that are most adaptable to change. Never has a truer statement been made when considering the global retail landscape over the past decade. Some organizations who were once leading the S&P index have either disappeared or fallen into obscurity, and conversely other relatively unknown businesses have risen to prominence not because they were filling the void left by other retailers but because of their rapid innovation.

I was fortunate enough in my earlier career to have worked at a company where the revered Harvard Professor Dr. Michael Porter was a board member. From his famous five forces strategy model, he often spoke at our management meetings on competitive advantage / rivalry.  Specifically, that competitive advantage can be created by the systems and processes a company adopts to differentiate itself from its competition.

Whilst traditional retail models have evolved and consumer expectations changed, the death cry of many a challenged retailer was “we needed to innovate faster.” Patently, technology has been one of the limiting factors in a retailer’s ability to adapt to change or innovate quickly. It’s no wonder then that Retailers are moving away from acquiring packaged technology built in a different era to a DevOps focus to enable them to build applications that fit to their needs and aspirations rather than utilize the same ‘off the shelf’ vanilla platforms and functionally as all their competitors do.

To this end, retailers are embracing advanced solutions to transform IT environments and remain competitive in the marketplace. They are revamping their front-end and back-end mainframe lifecycle development processes with the help of DevOps in a bid to boost business efficiencies. Specifically, retailers are adopting DevOps to change the configuration of their software applications quickly in response to their evolving customer needs.

Next: The growing importance of microservices

Doug is VP, Retail and CPG Industries, at ForgeRock