A Retailer's Guide to Optimizing Their IT Budget
In times of financial hardship, prioritizing IT investment is essential. For those retailers facing sustained pressure on their IT budget, there's a growing awareness that rather than having to make a difficult decision to justify investment in new financial or warehousing solutions, incremental add-ons to existing infrastructure can deliver real benefits.
So why is it often much tougher to pick between any number of add-on solutions that focus on the small, but key, areas of business need than it is to make the big decisions (e.g., enterprise resource planning or electronic point of sale)? Why do online retailers so often invest in personalized marketing tools or complex web analytics when basic processes such as address verification are overlooked (a practice that leads to expensive resending procedures and poor customer satisfaction, by the way)?
Well-focused, modest investments that can deliver return on investment within months and improving the customer checkout experience should be top priorities for all online retailers.
Financial difficulties continue to rumble on, and these are no more evident than at the small to midsize business level. Compared to large, global corporate businesses, small retailers have been forced to make bigger gains from smaller spend to survive in a fiercely competitive marketplace. With budgets becoming tighter however, increasing revenues by even the smallest amount has become no easy feat.
Certainly the provision of IT services has traditionally been seen as a business enabler, and if applied effectively a retailer can be empowered to enhance its customer service, drive efficiency and directly improve its bottom line. Today, however, organizations are struggling to prioritize investment and assess how best to squeeze more value from their IT budget and infrastructure. Indeed, while in the past it was a relatively simple process to make the case for a new core business application, companies are now faced with myriad choices for sweating the existing IT asset base by making targeted, incremental investments.