New Study Finds Maintenance Needs Overwhelm Retail IT

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RSR's most recent benchmark report: "The Future of Application Delivery in Retail: Benchmark Study 2008" reveals that maintenance associated with legacy application portfolios is becoming a make-or-break challenge for retailers to overcome. Legacy applications prevent retailers from addressing a growing backlog of requests for new development from the business. And even though retailers are devoting more IT resources to new function development, demand outpaces IT's ability to deliver, resulting in dissatisfaction with the IT function itself.

The Future Of Application Development In Retail

The pace of change within the retail industry continues to speed up, and with it there are increasing demands on the internal IT department to deliver more value to the business. IT is increasingly challenged to deliver projects on time, within budget, and with promised functionality, in part because the IT organization must support heavy maintenance loads that prevent sufficient resources from being directed to new development efforts. As a result, companies are generally less than satisfied with their IT department's ability to support the business.

For all sizes of company, the backlog of requests for new IT enabled functionality continues to grow. Because of this, retailers are looking hard at new application delivery models, moving irrevocably away from proprietary development and towards commercial packages, either "best-of-breed" packages or ERP/"suites". There is also growing interest in on-demand delivery models such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and modern architectural concepts such as Services Oriented Architectures (SOA). The goal of most retailers considering these options is not only speed of delivery, but also a reduction in the ongoing cost to own a solution once it is in production.

The study, "The Future Of Application Development In Retail," sponsored by Accenture, finds that retail IT's ability to meet the needs of the business is impacted by two basic challenges: the application portfolio itself, and IT/Business alignment. Retail Winners worry that the increasing demands for IT services will overwhelm their organizations' ability to respond, while others worry about a lack of business direction for their efforts as well as the cost of re-engineering business processes.

"Most retailers today understand that they are strategically disadvantaged by the absence of IT-enabled processes that address business challenges and opportunities, and only tactically advantaged by their presence," said Brian Kilcourse, Managing Partner at RSR and author of the report. "Retailers are increasingly focused on choosing application delivery options that promise the quickest time to value realization."

RSR's new study, The Future of Application Development In Retail: Benchmark Study 2008, identifies the internal obstacles retailers face in delivery IT-enabled business value and the methods retail winners use to overcome those obstacles. It also provides recommendations for becoming a winner in IT business application delivery.

To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, click here or:
http://www.retailsystemsresearch.com/_document/summary/526

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Brian Kilcourse

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