Why You Cannot Afford IT Infrastructure Glitches This Holiday Season
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Christmas shopping spree are just around the corner. With this short period accounting for about 30% of annual retail sales, IT teams are going the extra mile to ensure continuous availability for all critical systems. Online and brick-and-mortar retailers alike simply cannot afford any IT glitches that affect service availability or data during this busiest time of year.
Digital Systems and Their Impact on Business
The growing prominence of e-Commerce shopping is well established. But not only are people buying more online, digital activities are also influencing in-store shopper behavior. One study shows that 84% of store visitors have used digital for shopping-style activities prior to their store visit. The top digital activities include price comparison, finding coupons, obtaining product info and planning store trips.
The influence of mobile and digital shopping on in-store sales increased by $593 billion between 2012 and 2013. In 2013, 36% of total in-store sales came from mobile or digital shopping activity, with smart phones accounting for 75% of total growth. In addition, digital customers are 40% more likely to purchase while their order sizes are also 22% higher.
Why Service Availability is Essential
Disruptions caused by IT infrastructure issues create a Pandora’s Box of problems for businesses. The most obvious, and damaging, repercussion of IT infrastructure threats is service disruptions and of course downtime. Given the scale of enterprise IT environments and the high frequency of change – especially when retailers are in the midst of preparing their IT systems and revamping their web and mobile storefronts for the holiday season – it becomes increasingly challenging to meet application and service availability requirements. Downtime is simply not an option; for many retailers, performance over the next few weeks will determine whether they meet their financial expectations for the year or fail to do so.
Shopper expectations compound the problem. Today’s customers have zero tolerance for service issues, especially online. Customers tend to quickly lose their patience and move to the next retailer when businesses are unable to supply them with the goods and services they want – particularly during their holiday shopping rush. There is simply too much competition out there to ignore the harmful effects of crashes, downtime, service delivery delays and other IT glitches.
So What Can You Do to Prevent A Cyber Monday Crash?
A great deal of research has been conducted about shopping in-store vs. online. Industry experts believe that it is absolutely imperative to prepare for the upcoming challenges, because they will occur and the consensus is that the digital influence is substantial in both instances. Businesses that fail to plan and take proactive measures, are simply planning to fail.
Best practice methodology in these situations is to take proactive measures ahead of time to prevent outages from happening in the first place by detecting and fixing IT environment’s soft spots. Service Availability Management (SAM) software is an ideal solution to ensure the resilience of your entire IT infrastructure, as it provides a single platform for detecting availability risks in all relevant IT layers. It discovers any hidden issues, single-points-of-failure or misconfigurations that would put your systems at risk of IT outages, service issues or even data loss incidents.
Surely you should also use performance and monitoring tools, but the key here is being proactive. That means uncovering those hidden vulnerabilities that are not affecting availability right now, but could potentially do so at any moment – and at the worst possible time. Performing regular checks on your IT environment that alert the relevant teams to possible issues helps them collaborate and correct those issues before they impact business operation. Verifying that your IT environment is flawless could be priceless, especially during the holiday season. As Benjamin Franklin once said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”