Cloud technology and services are in a state of radical and discontinuous change that really cannot be forecast or planned.  You can understand and plan for a general direction of the change, however you would have a difficult time making any firm or long term plans to incorporate specific changes.  This places a business and their extended network in a difficult position where there is no guarantee that a tool or service will be around for the long term and on the other hand the tool or service provides a great benefit to the network.  This challenge can be met by utilizing a continuous improvement strategy to identify and incorporate improvements in a quicker cycle. 

There has been a quickening of change over the last twenty years and the type and velocity of change as has also also increased, the change is in fact causing an increase rate of change.  I believe that one reason for this increase in type and velocity of change is the introduction of mobile technology and acceptance by consumers.  Business and business networks have no compelling reason to implement the changes and especially accept the velocity and short-lived nature of these changes without a compelling driving factor.  This compelling and driving factor is the introduction of the consumer and the consumer’s acceptance and embrace of mobile technology that thrives cloud services and technology.

The consumer has become the wild card factor in driving retail change and the consumer is becoming more demanding as they accept and embrace even more technology.  There is one retail market that is helping to drive these changes and that is the wireless phone market.  This market is driving new technology to the consumers as a means to maintain and grow their market share.  This has resulted in new and exciting technology that supports more and more areas of the consumer’s life and demands.  This new technology in turn is driving the consumer to demand new capabilities from the other retail market segments. I find this fascinating that one market segment is driving change into another market segment through offering technology and tools to the end consumer.

Retailers can no longer ignore these changes, these changes are providing consumers with new methods to shop in other segments of the market.  This requires all market segments to change based on the consumer demands.  A continuous improvement strategy is in fact the single strategy that can support the type and rate of change that is introduced by the cloud.  Retailers and their supporting networks, including the extended supply chain must continue to not only embrace the cloud technology and services, they must also demand new technology and services from the cloud.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?