Cloud technology has been almost universally adopted in the retail sector, according to the findings of a new study from Six Degrees and Martec.

The Minimising IT Risk in Retail 2018 report, which surveyed 35 UK and Ireland mid-market retailers with revenues in excess of £20 million, found that 94% are happy to use the cloud for business-critical applications, up from 87% in 2015.

The report, commissioned by cloud managed services provider Six Degrees and carried out by specialist retail consultants Martec International, focusses on how the retail sector perceives business and IT risks.

As well as an increased use of cloud technologies, there has been a decreased perception of risk. There has been a rise of 9% in the number of companies surveyed that are willing to outsource at least one business critical application. This is particularly true for the e-commerce sector, in which 57% currently outsource, or are planning to.

However, when assessing whether or not to outsource these workloads and applications, cost was the ultimate factor, coming in ahead of risk. This may be because there is an increasingly high level of confidence in the current ‘performance, availability and stability’ of mission-critical applications in the retail sector.


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If confidence in cloud technologies is up, potential loss of business remains the overriding risk factor. 94% of businesses surveyed said that loss of sales or inability to trade was their main fear if cloud applications went down.

Martec deputy MD, Frances Riseley, commented: “Outsourcing, whether it is e-commerce, HR, payroll or other business-critical systems, is very much the future for the retail industry and this is reflected throughout Six Degrees’ research.

“Retailers are far more confident in the resilience of their applications and are now looking at different ways to capitalise on the value of outsourcing expertise and risk management.”

Only 6% of retailers stated that they would not consider the use of private cloud – either because they had already invested too heavily in on-premises infrastructure, or because they were not convinced of the cost benefits.