Go cloud or stay on-premise? For organizations looking to drive innovation, the answer is clear: there really is no alternative to embracing shared, multi-tenant infrastructure and services. This is not only true for retail but also applies to other industries. Let’s look at five of the most important reasons:

Because It Enables Innovation

Classic on-premise software can stifle innovation. What if that one particular function you need  will only be available after an upgrade, which IT has scheduled for the following year? Building on top of a cloud-based application is an entirely different story. New features are there instantaneously, ready to be used. So, instead of having never-ending discussions about a change of the upgrade and release planning with engineers and administrators, business developers can start building the new functionality which meets their requirements right away.

Because Businesses Can Experiment

Being innovative also means being able to experiment. Organizations need to make sure to turn new ideas into applications and presented them to an audience – fast! If those are successful, they will be further improved during the next iteration. If not, they are thrown away and a new idea is picked up. In the cloud, it is easy to do rapid prototyping and gain valuable insights into customers’ behavior. Businesses build lean and minimum viable products (MVPs) online and improve them successively – instead of wasting resources building something that nobody wants.

Because Businesses Join the API Economy

One of the many benefits of cloud applications is the fact that they usually come with an API that can be used to build new features. Once they can expose their data to their users, brands and merchants benefit from a network effect – which is the reason why retailers such as Walmart and BestBuy have started externalizing APIs, enabling others to use their data for entirely new use cases. Secondly, being able to consume 3rd party APIs helps to supplement one’s offering. For example: Why would organizations build their geolocation functionality and maintain their IP database for this when vendors are offering those cloud services already – and integrating their API is as easy as 1-2-3?

Because It Is More Secure

Yes, you read this correctly. Granted, there are still people arguing that it is safer to take care of hosting and running hardware and software themselves. Their point is that DIY is inherently more secure than relying on external cloud service providers – after all, those customer data are the companies most valuable asset, we cannot just let them live on someone else’s servers, right? Wrong. The large cloud providers have thousands of security experts, advanced monitoring processes, and Fort-Know-like buildings to make sure systems stay up-to-date and safe. Of course, businesses could have their own sysops rockstars keeping everything beautiful and safe. However, as a business owner, would you rather spend your IT budget on applying a new security patch – or on developing that new thing that keeps you ahead of your competitors?

Because Starting Is Easy

Typically, all that is required to start using a cloud service is a credit card and some basic user credentials. Usually, like with commercetools, there is a free test period you can use to get to know the system and find out whether it does what you expect. If yes – continue and use it in production. If no, stop the trial – and also the cost!
These days, Infrastructure is a commodity. Cloud has become the new normal. In commerce, the cloud-native commercetools platform lets brands and merchants focus on what really matters: drive innovation and create value for their customers instead of re-inventing the wheel each day.