How do cloud services help to handle a seasonal peak?2022 11 07
November indeed signifies the upcoming holiday season. Announcements about trade promotions related to Black Friday or Christmas can already be noticed in the online space. The wholesale and retail sales load can vary depending on the season, so these companies’ IT systems must adapt to these fluctuations at the lowest possible cost.
This blog post presents how cloud solutions successfully help implement large and complex trading systems and support traders to optimise their processes during the seasonal peak period.
What challenges do you face during the seasonal peak?
When trade volume increases significantly in preparation for the seasonal peak, it is worthwhile for trade companies to consider and assess the risks and consequences.
First, overloading IT infrastructure causes multiple disruptions. The increase in customers and orders will undoubtedly affect the technical infrastructure operations. Assessing and analysing what additional load IT systems can withstand is crucial. Also, wrong architectural system solutions can become a real headache for employees taking care of its IT infrastructure. Worst of all, this comes to light when the system uses a more significant number of customers than usual. Finally, excessive infrastructure load causes problems with the snowball effect – the system starts to crash, users can no longer use certain system functions, and often, during the peak of the trade, the system may become inaccessible.
IT infrastructure disruptions can lead to significant financial losses for businesses. The company does not receive revenue without trade whenever consumers cannot purchase or pay for selected goods. Also, the company will need immediate IT team resources or additional equipment to restore the infrastructure activities as soon as possible. This naturally increases available costs, making it not beneficial to the business.
Another negative consequence for business – the company’s image and reputation deterioration. In today’s world, the business’s ability to create an enjoyable digital experience can help grow the number of loyal customers. Conversely, poor website or mobile application performance often results in users not returning to your virtual retail space. During the peak season, a malfunctioning system can hinder the sale of your goods or services and worsen the company’s image in the public field. Imagine if many people experience the same system crashes and other obstacles. It can simply encourage users to stop using your services or leave negative feedback, which will be visible to current and future customers. In addition, they can share their bad experiences with their contacts’ circle.
How does the public cloud help during the seasonal peak?
The cloud infrastructure will help to ensure systems’ stability by automatically expanding resources when and how much you need them. Companies also can manage resources flexibly: order them when it is needed and stop using them anytime. We will discuss two main public cloud features:
- Flexibility describes the ability to centrally and automatically adapt a computing infrastructure to actual system loads.
- Scalability means access to unlimited resources that can easily expand the capacity of your systems as needed.
On the one hand, system owners are interested in paying only for as many resources as they need. Also, they want to have a certain reserve in case the need increases significantly. Flexibility and scalability allow both seemingly incompatible needs to be executed.
Let us examine a few strategies for traders’ behaviour during the peak trading season. It may vary slightly from market to market. Still, we can usually start to feel the shopping fever from November to the end of January. From Black Friday sales until mid-to-late January, the peak of Christmas discounts falls.
From a system perspective, this may mean that if the infrastructure is used optimally before seasonal trading, there will be insufficient capacity during increased demand. On the other hand, if infrastructure capacity can withstand heavy loads, then it is more likely that resources will remain untapped in the coming months of the year.
Some traders who sell their goods and services online choose to have enough IT resources to cover them during the seasonal peak. In this way, the business ensures itself before the next sale period. Likewise, the company expects the expanded equipment resources to be sufficient to manage and service the rising number of customers. This may protect against potential disruptions. Still, from the economic side, there are better options than this because plenty of resources are not used after peak hours, and its maintenance is costly. Yet, if the flow was higher than predicted during the planning phase, there would be problems with adding new resources rapidly. Consequently, the risk of peak management is only partially addressed.
Cloud solutions for a smoother seasonal peak
Proponents of public cloud technology choose a different scenario. Cloud-based operational trading platforms can estimate load levels. As it rises, cloud solutions help to automatically scale up resources with more server capacity. Additional resources are automatically turned off when the load returns to the standard position.
Moreover, thanks to the public cloud, organisations are only accountable for the services they actually utilise. Thus, the service fee is higher during peak hours and lower during the other period. This way, infrastructure costs will be saved, and the system will be ready to withstand critical situations. Therefore, public cloud capabilities can help traders avoid seasonal operational challenges and do so under economically attractive conditions and eliminate manual labour.
Seasonality is relevant not only for retail business
Manufacturing companies, banks, insurance companies, and public service organisations face similar seasonal peaks. Often an organisation must prepare activity reports at the end of the financial period. As the need to accumulate large amounts of data grows, tools also emerge, allowing complex multilayer calculations. These functions require more resources during specific periods. In such cases, public cloud solutions serve well and solve the fundamental dilemma – how to secure the right amount of resources when you need them but not pay when they are not in use?
Our practice and work with various companies show that the model is well understood in theory. Still, customers face multiple challenges in putting it into practice. For example, developing and properly configuring systems to ensure their reliable and automated operation requires appropriate competencies and specialisation in cloud-type projects.
In such cases, Baltic Amadeus experts can help create a flexible and expandable IT infrastructure and its proper maintenance. Enable your business transformation with a complete suite of cloud services – contact us now!
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