It’s no longer good enough for a company to simply have a website. In fact, by 2017, the internet will play a role in 60% of all U.S. retail sales, either as direct e-commerce transactions or as part of a shopper’s research, according to a report by Forrester Research Inc. titled “U.S. Cross-Channel Retail Forecast, 2012 To 2017.”

The decisions that businesses now have to make about their online presence are mission-critical. Website performance is crucial to success, and fractions of a second can impact the bottom line. This post discusses the four ways that the Cloud can help businesses that rely on their online presence as one of their primary sales channels to identify and even adapt to customer trends.

1. The Need for Speed

Speed is a major factor in modern web design. Almost half of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. According to digital insights company Dynatrace, if an e-commerce site makes $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay could potentially cost $2.5 million in lost revenue per year.

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It would seem logical, therefore, for a company to simply build out a site, with both hardware and software that would handle the biggest potential traffic hit on the busiest day of the year. However, the monetary cost of such a system may be cost prohibitive. It’s a poor investment to build a system on-premises to handle the traffic load of one day, or one week, while on the other 355 days of the year the resources mostly sit idle.

2. Speed Demands Scale

It makes much more sense for a business to envision a system that can expand and contract as needed to handle the load of any day, at any time of the year. That system should also be equally adept at handling traffic from any device—in fact, the user should see equal performance no matter what device is being used to browse. Scale of this magnitude and flexibility is only possible when systems are architected for a cloud environment.

Cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure, allow any business to design an application without the limitations of budget and traditional hardware procurement cycles. A cloud environment provides teams the ability to provision just enough hardware to run the application and “pay as you go”. If the application demands it, the environment can be scaled up or out to meet the need with little effort or most importantly, cycle time. Whether it’s the slowest day of the year, or the heaviest traffic day in your company’s history, your web resources are scaled to meet demand. This is an extremely efficient use of resources, as you’re only ever using what is needed, but not more.

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3. Big Data Follows Big Scale

Systems that are architected in a cloud environment also allow you to scale data. If you’re trying to attract customers online, you should be collecting data to learn about what potential customers want from you. It’s the most efficient way to learn and adapt to their wants. And in fact, the more data, the better your insights into the customers’ patterns, wants, dislikes, and habits will be. All of these insights allow you to then tailor your offering specifically to speak to those data points and increase conversions.

4. Collecting the Right Data for Better Insights

It’s easy to foresee that once you start to achieve large-scale traffic, that you would also begin to amass a large and perhaps unwieldy set of data. That data can become increasingly more difficult to mine for answers, and could even hamper your efforts to understand your key customer.

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Cloud environments include the ability to collect and store data as necessary, using only as much storage as needed, growing with you as your needs grow. That data is easily accessible to any of the dozens of enterprise analytics tools available today.

Expertise to Lead the Way

At RBA, we can bring years of experience to bear on your project. Our team has the expertise to help you architect a native cloud application that scales with need, collects the right kind of data, and allows it all to be accessed with bullet-proof uptime, security, and speed. The Microsoft Azure platform allows users to scale their need while controlling costs, paying only for the resources used at any time.

With time-to-market a major factor in the success of any application, there isn’t time for experimentation or on-the-job learning. That’s where an experienced eye from the outside is very beneficial. We can help you get past the hurdle of learning to architect native applications and services in the cloud.

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Learn more about how to make the best decisions for your business when it comes to building or moving applications to the Cloud by downloading RBA’s white paper, Architecting and Migrating Systems for the Cloud.

Author

Tom Iverson

Tom is a Cloud Solutions/DevOps Architect for RBA and has been instrumental in helping hundreds of companies with choosing the right cloud-based platform and approach for their business needs.

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