The need for speed in cloud innovation puts customer experience at risk, say almost three-quarters of retailers

Software intelligence company, Dynatrace, has announced the findings of an independent global survey of 219 CIOs in the retail sector, which reveals that 74% of retail organisations say the need for speed in digital innovation is putting customer experience at risk.

The global CIO report, called 'Speed of Innovation in the Cloud: The Top 5 Challenges', found that on average retailers release new software updates twice per working hour as they push to keep up with competitive pressures and soaring consumer expectation.

Looking ahead, 91% of retail CIOs said they will need to release updates even faster in the future. However, the speed of releases can come at a cost. Nearly two-thirds (60%) of these retail CIOs admitted they are forced to compromise between faster innovation and the need to ensure customers have a great software experience.

"Every organisation on the planet is a software company these days. Market leaders like Amazon are releasing multiple software updates every second. Consequently, the modern approach to delivering software is about agile, fast development cycles and releasing into dynamic, hybrid multi-cloud environments," said Andreas Grabner, DevOps Activist, Dynatrace. "Yet shoppers also expect the steady flow of new e-commerce features and updates to work perfectly, without compromise. The challenge for retail IT teams is to deliver fast, while moving to a cloud native architecture and maintaining user experience."

The new survey looks at the pains organisations face as they strive for new heights of agility and speed. Key findings include:

Cloud enables agility but retail CIOs struggle with:

  • Ensuring software performance isn't negatively impacted (63%)
  • Identifying if moving an application to the cloud has delivered the desired benefits (55%)
  • Understanding if an application is well-suited to the cloud (51%)
  • Re-architecting legacy applications for the cloud (43%)
  • Ensuring the user-experience isn't impacted during the migration process (49%)

Lack of collaboration and visibility leads to innovation delays:

  • 78% of retail CIOs said their organisation has experienced IT project delays that could have been prevented if development and operations teams were able to easily collaborate
  • Retail CIOs said digital transformation initiatives were most frequently derailed by:
  • IT outages caused by external issues (47%)
  • IT outages caused by internal changes (50%)
  • Rectifying bad code that has been pushed through the pipeline (45%)

Retail organisations face challenges as they turn to DevOps to improve collaboration:

  • 61% of retail organisations have implemented or are exploring the possibilities of a DevOps culture to improve collaboration and drive faster innovation
  • 73% of retail CIOs said that DevOps efforts are often being undermined by the absence of shared data and tools, which makes it difficult for IT teams to obtain a single view of 'the truth'
  • 50% of retail CIOs identified differences in priorities between departmental siloes as an additional barrier to DevOps adoption

Grabner continued: "The challenge for retailers and indeed all organisations, is to get a holistic view of the DevOps pipeline – from idea to code to experience. As DevOps has matured, retailers are looking to automate and integrate their software development to release faster, with higher quality, and with less manual effort. It's exciting to see AI play an even greater role in reducing manual tasks, so we can do what we love – write better software, deploy with speed, and deliver perfect software experiences throughout the customer journey."

This report, commissioned by Dynatrace, is based on a global survey of 219 CIOs in the retail sector in large enterprises with over 1,000 employees, conducted by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by Dynatrace.

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