Unless you’re a developer, things like PHP, Java, and HTML are probably not part of your daily vocabulary. But if you have an online retail business, these things are critically important to your success. The vast majority of SMB eCommerce businesses have few, if any, internal technical resources. But, even the most technically unaware among us realizes that a lot goes into launching an eCommerce site. Even after its initial launch, the upgrading, updating and regular maintenance of an eCommerce environment is very resource-intensive. So it’s not surprising that more and more companies are outsourcing this responsibility.
What is a Managed Cloud eCommerce Solution?
The latest option for outsourcing eCommerce IT responsibility is via managed cloud services. A managed cloud eCommerce solution provides a pool of technical experts to supervise the infrastructure, enabling any company to launch a sophisticated eCommerce system, such as Magento. The economy of scale that comes with this arrangement lowers the project TCO, and makes an advanced site technically and financially viable for any size merchant.
“Organizations that do not have a high-level cloud computing strategy driven by their business strategy will significantly increase their risk of failure and wasted investment.”
Gartner, Devise an Effective Cloud Computing Strategy by Answering Five Key Questions, November 2015
The future is in Cloud Computing
Industry experts agree – the future is in the cloud. But even more importantly, it’s in managed services. It’s not just about moving to cloud servers, and having the advantages that cloud computing brings in itself. With a managed service approach, merchants can rely on the vendor to provide the eCommerce expertise required to manage the site, including implementation, testing, benchmarking, integrations, upgrades and more. Going this route offloads a significant resource burden to a trusted partner that has invested in the hardware, software and personnel necessary to launch and maintain eCommerce sites.
Engaging an eCommerce managed service provider enables internal IT resources to serve a more strategic role, ensuring the company’s business objectives are supported by the right technology. Internal IT can stay focused on what will serve the customer best and on maximizing the financial performance of the company’s IT investments.
“Take a top-down (application-portfolio led) perspective, not a bottom-up (infrastructure-led) perspective to develop business-oriented playbooks to guide your organization's cloud initiatives.”
Gartner, Three Factors Will Continue to Impact Enterprise Cloud Playbooks, September 2015
Traditionally, IT projects have been capital- and time-intensive. A managed service approach to eCommerce allows companies to move a significant portion of the IT budget from capital expenditures to operating expenditures, to better predict IT costs, and to adjust spending based on need. Cloud computing offers a more agile approach to technology, provides increased opportunity to take advantage of upgrades, makes it easier to implement new eCommerce tools, and enables a merchant to adjust capacity for spikes in traffic, scaling up or down very quickly to meet demand. Going with a cloud eCommerce solution also helps ensure that a merchant won’t be burdened with a costly legacy system that no longer serves the needs of the company, limiting its ability to be innovative. These are the infrastructure benefits of a cloud solution.
Added advantages come in partnering with a cloud infrastructure provider that also has the eCommerce platform and application know-how to ensure that decisions about technology, and the site in general, will support the company’s eCommerce goals. It’s not just about cloud infrastructure, it’s about the whole business, and the technical expertise required to support and run an eCommerce site.
“With the rapid growth of new business solutions/workloads/data, by 2018 more than 60 percent of enterprises will have at least half of their infrastructure and applications in a cloud.”
Saugatuck Technology, Cloud Business Summit, November 2014
Sophisticated, technically advanced sites are possible for companies of all sizes when they turn to vendors that have invested not only in the infrastructure, but also in the platform and application expertise, to make eCommerce dreams a reality.