Innovation and Open Architecture Systems

Yesterday Drapers Record’s Harriet Brown delivered a piece that resonated so strongly with us that we had to share it with you.

We’re acutely aware of the cultural step that it takes for a company to lay out ‘Innovation’ as a driving motivation and value of their mission or brand DNA, especially in today’s fast-paced environment. But how rigorously is this aspiration really reflected in the agility of those company’s systems?

Technology evolves at an incredibly fast rate, and to benefit from the latest developments, retailers must make sure their systems are set up in a way that enables the easy adoption of new technologies. Having an open architecture system means that retailers can trial the newest technology on their digital systems and benefit from the latest tech advances at speed, as data can be shared seamlessly and quickly.

Where retailers used to rely on large technology companies for their digital operations, there has been a recent surge in the use of open-source software – made via cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon or Google. As this kind of technology continues to grow in popularity, having a system in place that encourages easy testing is essential.

River Island’s Gardner explains: “None of the cool new pieces of tech are any good unless you can adopt them relatively quickly. They come up very quickly and the period from something good emerging to becoming a phenomenon globally can be a matter of weeks.

“For retailers, the key is being able to provide any necessary data to these third parties for these great pieces of technology to do what they need to. What we’re building is an architecture that allows all of our relevant data to sit in places and formats that are very easy for us to get data out if we want to start working with these technologies.”

Gardner says River Island has redesigned its digital systems to ensure new technologies can be plugged in and tested with relative ease. “We’re developing a base technology with these micro-services that makes it easy to plug something into our site,” he says. “So instead of a lot of deep plumbing, it’s layered in a way that you can plug something in and unplug it again in a relatively simple way.”

It is this speedy access that allows retailers to innovate and test new digital developments, and take advantage of the latest new technology.

“If we build the architecture to be able to move rapidly on the digital side and apply what we learn to our physical stores, we feel that will give us a huge advantage over pureplay retailers,” says Gardner.


If you’re interested in innovation within both the retail and supplier space please find out more here 

For the original piece from Draper’s click here

Image credit: Adam Birkett, Unsplash
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