Mobile technology integration and consumer collaboration has become a very large piece of the retail toolset and because of this increase in utilization and importance it is very important for retailers to develop a robust business continuity plan to recover in the event of an event that compromises these capabilities.  It is only a matter of time before an event impacts the access or the historical archives developed by the mobile business practices and retailers must be prepared for the loss of functionality, loss of data and recovery requirements.  The retailer must include in their business continuity planning and reviews a critical section for recovery of the mobile business practices, even though in many cases these processes are support via cloud based technology. 

 

In most cases I believe that mobile technology is utilized as a portal or interface to the corporate data, in other words the mobile technology provides access to business processes supported behind the retailers firewall.  However I also believe that more and more retailers utilize cloud technologies and data stores to support the mobile and eCommerce solutions, especially as it related to social networking and interaction with the consumer.  These are the areas of concern and must be reviewed on a regular basis to identify potential points of failure and recovery procedures.  These recovery procedures become much more complex because of the interaction with external partners and service providers. 

 

Supply chain partners and service provider collaboration and especially the mobile collaboration activities must also be evaluated for points of failures and business recovery procedures.  The recovery procedures and timeframes become much more complicated as the technology platforms and the number of partners increase because of the complexity inherent in the interactions and dependencies on business processes with partners.  The interaction between partners and the expectation of data and process availability will provide the greatest risk to any partner business continuity and these interactions and dependencies must be reviewed on a regular basis to confirm recovery procedures.

 

The retail marketplace is a fast paced environment with a very high rate of change across many platforms and partners.  This environment increases the complexity of the business relationships and also the complexity of the business continuity planning and implementation.  It is very easy in this type of environment for retailers to overlook the need to account for the business continuity requirements as they are reacting to the consumer’s changing demands.  This is the most important reason though to account for business continuity planning because when there is an event that requires quick response to recover the retailer cannot afford to lose hours or days in recovery, especially during a busy holiday season.  

 

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?