Cloud Computing


Providers promise that retail can increase its flexibility and economic efficiency by using Cloud Computing. Such services via the Internet increase the dependency on external partners, but there are also many advantages. External servers and large-capacity computers store large data volumes that incur in Internet retailing and social marketing. Small retailers could also benefit from some Cloud Applications.

Whereas the development of your own data processing center costs time and ties up capital, the Cloud is immediately available and you only pay for what you use. In a survey by the Experton Group commercial enterprises in 2011 named the topics ”increasing efficiency”, “standardization of IT services“ and “reduction of maintenance expenses“ the most important goals for using Cloud Computing. Ranking second are ”scalable, on-demand resource allocation“, ”hardware cost reduction“, ”process cost reduction“, ”reducing IT complexity“, ”reducing licensing costs“, ”risk minimization by reducing manual overrides“ as well as ”cost flexibility“.

SAP wants to grow with Cloud Applications

As the first large commercial enterprise in Europe, EDEKA headquarters wants to install human resources software by Successfactors. This year, they start with a module for employee recruitment. SAP has completed the acquisition of Successfactors in June. Successfactors specializes in human resource management software in the Cloud.

SAP had already announced in its 2010 Annual Report it wants to strongly expand with Cloud Applications over the next few years. The term can be found 25 times in the report. After the just completed acquisition of Successfactors, the people from Walldorf, Germany, are now working on acquiring Ariba, a provider of cloud-based business commerce solutions.

EuroCIS-Interview with Volker Giessler, Senior Industry Consultant Retail, Teradata

Volker Giessler manages products in the data warehouse division for European enterprises. He views Teradata as the leading global solutions provider for large data volume analytics. Teradata includes almost three quarters of the global Top 20 commercial enterprises among its customers. In June, the US company with its German subsidiary in Augsburg has completed the acquisition of eCircle from Munich into its Cloud subsidiary Aprimo portfolio. In this interview, Volker Giessler talks about the advantages of Cloud Applications for integrated marketing management.

Where do you see the largest growth potential for Cloud Applications in the retail market?

If you generally look at the Cloud approach, it is about flexibly adapting IT infrastructures – computing capacity, data storage, network capacity or even finished applications – to the respective needs. This way you can quickly respond to peak demand or new requirements. The approach offers this special advantage by using software as a Service (SaaS).

These advantages can be ideally utilized for instance in the areas of email and digital marketing services. Here it is essential to adopt high-performance, scalable solutions for sending hundreds of thousands of emails on specific days. This capacity would not be utilized on days without email transmission. When you use a Cloud service provider, a service charge per email would be incurred instead of considerable IT infrastructure costs.

Does the Cloud only make sense for the big players in retail?

Generally, using Cloud solutions pays off for any company size given the right prerequisites. Cloud solutions make it possible for instance to use software that is not among the core competencies of a company. This pertains to all commercial enterprises – from industry giants like the Otto Group or Douglas all the way to mail-order retailers such as Hess Natur for example, who all rely on Cloud solutions for digital marketing.

Marketing incurs large amounts of data. How can you manage them? How can the Cloud help with this?

The advantages are obvious especially for marketing: it allows the flexible use of data and the analytics options are more affordably available in the Cloud than with on-premise solutions. Seasonal or peak loads due to sales promotions in retail can be flexibly managed. In retail, generally data warehouse solutions are used for a targeted analysis and use of marketing data. This includes shopping cart data and customer information.
In conjunction with campaign marketing, a targeted one to one marketing can be built and company success significantly increased.

Due to the introduction of online shops, data volume has once more significantly increased. If you consolidate this data with the information from call centers, you get a 360-degree customer view and insights into his/her behavior. Especially for the analysis of behavior on the Web, enormous short-term requirements for additional system resources can result.

Customer information and data protection: the better the analytics, the stronger the mistrust by consumers? Does it have to be this way?

The use of customer information is becoming the pivotal factor of success for customer-oriented companies. In most cases, it is not the individual customer who is the focus of analysis, but rather customer segments and their significance on sales and earnings for instance. Based on this data, stores, product lines and promotions can be optimized and geared towards the customer.

Dialogue marketing is an exception, where the individual customer is being targeted and approached with services relevant to him/her. Based on this, untargeted mass marketing that is oftentimes perceived as annoying can be omitted and the customer feels better understood. However, the customer at any time has the option to withdraw from this type of address by using opt-out. Teradata offers so-called “Private Cloud” solutions for these requirements, where our commercial customers can easily use additional computing and storage capacity. Data protection is optimally ensured with a Private Cloud.

In early June, Teradata has completed the acquisition of eCircle. How does this benefit your commercial customers?

Through the integration of eCircle into the portfolio of our Aprimo subsidiary, our commercial customers receive an integrated marketing management solution with systems continuity. It ranges from marketing planning and campaign management all the way to one-to-one address.

With the creation of a real end-to-end solution for the complex marketing value chain, product integration is our top priority and advances speedily. The directly upcoming step is the combination of our products with a leading global multichannel campaign management solution. Customers are enabled to not just optimally use digital channels for their marketing, but are also able to seamlessly integrate classic channels like call centers for instance into their campaigns.

Social media is a challenge for retail. What does a digital messaging platform need to accomplish?

Retail can no longer imagine a life without social media and its enormous possibilities and impact. Important information can be pulled from the Facebook “Like” function for a customer-friendly presentation of retail services and a targeted address in digital marketing. By integrating Aster Data, a special analytic platform for social media data, Teradata has laid the foundations for the analysis of social media data. Based on analysis results, targeted offers can be communicated with the digital messaging platform from eCircle.

How can Cloud-based marketing help in addressing customers who are too old for the new communicative devices?

Those who prefer traditional communication channels will also be addressed via personalized mail or through the call center in the future. Our experience shows that a combination of different communication channels leads to success. Cloud-based marketing solutions can be used for instance to select target customers for a campaign and by selecting the right communication channel. What is crucial however is that this is a Private Cloud solution where data integrity and data protection are ensured.

Interview: René Schellbach,