Research reveals retailers struggle to meet the demands of digital transformation

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The findings of an independent global survey, commissioned by Dynatrace, of 130 development and DevOps leaders responsible for driving innovation in the retail sector, has revealed retailers are struggling to keep up with demand for digital transformation.

Scaling DevOps and SRE practices is critical to accelerating the release of high-quality digital services that enable retailers to create more innovative shopping experiences. However, the research shows how barriers like siloed team culture, manual approaches, and increasingly complex tooling in retail IT departments slow innovation and make teams more reactive than proactive, impeding their ability to drive value for the business.

Key findings of the research reveal:

  • Increased pressure to innovate faster. On average, retailers expect to increase the frequency of their software releases by 54% in the next two years.
  • Demands for faster releases put customer experience at risk. Nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) admit they’re often under so much pressure to meet the demand for faster innovation that they must sacrifice code quality, putting customer experience at risk.  
  • Near universal agreement that DevOps is critical to achieve speed and quality. 98% of retailers say extending DevOps to more applications is key for digital transformation and optimising customer experience. 
  • Manual tasks are a barrier to accelerating retail innovation. A quarter (25%) of retailers’ DevOps teams’ time is spent on manual tasks, which reduces the time they have available to create new immersive shopping experiences. 

“The pandemic has forever changed the way people shop,” said Greg Adams, Regional Vice President, UK & Ireland at Dynatrace. “Forced to rely more heavily on digital channels for almost two years, mobile, ecommerce, and omnichannel experiences have taken on new importance. As consumers have come to rely more on these services, they now expect retailers to continually deliver enhanced shopping experiences. This has raised the stakes sky-high, putting retailers under huge pressure to accelerate innovation and keep up with consumer demand. After all, if they’re not ready to deliver the digital experiences their customers crave, a competitor almost certainly will be.”

Additional findings include:

  • Increased automation and end-to-end cloud observability are essential. Retail organisations are investing in eliminating manual incident response (69%), the automation of manual tasks (64%), and end-to-end observability (56%) to boost developer productivity.
  • Extending AIOps across the innovation cycle is key. 81% of retail organisations say extending AIOps beyond traditional use cases will play a critical role in their future success.
  • A unified platform is at the heart of retail innovation. 81% of retailers say end-to-end observability will be essential to DevOps in the future, and 62% say a unified platform will be critical to scaling DevOps beyond a single lighthouse project. 

“Retailers are fighting to keep up with today’s always-on digital economy, and meet their customers’ expectations,” continued Adams. “DevOps is key for retail innovators to meet these demands, but time-consuming manual processes, siloed cultures, and an explosion of alerts from monitoring tools continue to hold them back. To overcome these barriers, retailers need an intelligent approach, combining end-to-end observability, precise insights, and continuous automation. This will enable their teams to deliver high-quality software faster and create innovative shopping experiences.”

The research is based on a global survey of 130 senior-level development and DevOps leaders in retail organisations with more than 1,000 employees, conducted by Coleman Parkes and commissioned by Dynatrace. 

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