Category Archives: Business Talk

Why Cloud Computing is a Smart Choice for Finance (Part 1 of 2)

Financial

Finance has been much slower than other sectors and other business departments to move to the cloud. Let’s explore this topic in a two-part series to better understand the hesitation and why it makes sense to overcome it.

  • Finance Industry’s Security Concerns
  • Finance Departments Used to be the Tech Trendsetter
  • 15 Reasons Cloud Makes Sense for Finance Departments

Both the finance industry and finance departments at companies have been slower than their counterparts to adopt cloud computing. Let’s look at what’s holding things back and why it’s worth tackling the challenges and moving forward – specifically, a.) security concerns of financial firms, and b.) reasons finance departments benefit from cloud.

Finance Industry’s Security Concerns

Finance has been slow to switch over to cloud computing because of concerns with security and compliance. However, more finance companies are adopting cloud every day, replacing their legacy approach with the easy adaptability, high performance, and multigenerationally approved interfaces of cloud.

What’s basically holding financial firms back is that they want to make certain that user data and business processes can be safe within another organization’s datacenters. Finance companies have expansive and intricate computing systems that depend on core on-premises software, and it’s absolutely critical that they must meet strong security and compliance standards. It’s understandable that these companies, like those in the healthcare sector (for similar reasons) have been slower than other sectors to make this technological leap.

Cloud is actually incredibly secure, though, assuming that the company providing the cloud service knows what it’s doing. “Indeed, cloud services should be at least as secure if not more secure than their in-house equivalents,” notes CloudTech. “All it takes is some careful planning to create a secure and reliable cloud solution that provides financial enterprises, and their customers and clients, peace of mind.”

Now that the flexibility of cloud services has become more pronounced, as with hybrid clouds, finance can get beyond these challenges, knowing that they are protected within a secure and compliant setting.

RELATED: At Superb Internet, our credibility as a hosting provider depends on protecting our customers, and we take that responsibility very seriously. See how we meet the strictest compliance & security standards.

Finance Departments Used to be the Tech Trendsetter

Since we often point a finger at finance these days as a sector that seems to be “stuck” technologically (and to its detriment), it’s interesting to look back at the days when these departments were at the forefront of technological adoption. By the late 90s, almost all enterprises had implemented some form of enterprise resource planning software, explains Karen dela Torre in Forbes. “Even small and midsize companies relied on finance or accounting software installed on their desktop PCs,” she says. “[T]he global economy had reached a tipping point where the risk of doing nothing was greater than the risk of change.”

These systems quickly became clunky, intricate, and high-maintenance as the vast majority of businesses decided to go into the source code and alter it to meet their specific needs. Here’s a very telling statistic from a poll of ERP users conducted by Panorama Consulting Solutions in 2014: 90% of respondents said that they had customized to some degree.

These systems resisted change because business processes became dependent on their specific capabilities (making the idea of moving to a standardized environment more disruptive). Also, there was an certain attachment to a system that had taken substantial time, energy, and resources to build.

However, when the Internet started to become a bigger part of business, and when the Y2K bug occurred, businesses upgraded their ERP programs – and it wasn’t easy. “All of their custom-coded changes disappeared and had to be reprogrammed,” says dela Torre. “This involved hiring teams of developers from consulting firms, spending a lot of money, and then waiting 18-24 months for the new system to come online.”

Basically, finance departments don’t want to go through that same madness again – so they stick with their legacy approach.

15 Reasons Cloud Makes Sense for Finance Departments

The business drivers pushing finance toward the cloud are of three basic types:

Digital adaptation

  1. Changing business models – Various innovative business models have been on the rise in recent years, including product digitization (Netflix), sharing (AirBNB), and social (Twitter). The companies that are using these models need sentiment analysis, data modeling, and other functionality for which traditional ERP software was not designed.
  2. Subscription billing – Now companies can provide products and services online, but they need billing and collections to allow for subscriptions.
  3. Employee satisfaction – The workforce, especially those in the younger generations, increasingly expect sleek, mobile-optimized, consumer-friendly interfaces at work.
  4. Revenue management – An accounting standard released in 2014, IFRS 15 / ASU 2014-09, outlined guidelines to more tightly monitor contract revenue. “Especially if your business creates complex sales contracts with multiple and distinct performance obligations (aka deliverables), there will be new calculations to perform and processes to follow.” Again, on-premise ERP applications were unprepared to meet the expectations of that new standard.

Check out Part 2 here!

6 Ways it Can Make Sense to Crowdsource Data Projects

Crowd

Since there are not enough skilled data scientists out there to meet the growing needs of business, many businesses are focusing on accessing great insights by using outside parties. Crowdsourcing, one example of which is data science contests, allows you to get a project off the ground in an organized and affordable way.

  • Competing for Data Glory
  • Good Causes
  • Reason #1: Better algorithm or model
  • Reason #2: Broad interaction with the outside world
  • Reason #3: Do something no one thinks can happen
  • Reason #4: Find your data sicence whiz
  • Reason #5: Get your study out in the open
  • Reason #6: Give fodder to budding scientists

Competing for Data Glory

Data science contests are becoming more popular, and they adjust to focus on possible solutions to different problems over time. These competitions are used generally for learning, development of the analytical model, and to engage with potential new hires.

Small businesses find these contests helpful because data science is an area in which they need specific skills but can’t always budget for a staff position. However, companies of all sizes find them useful since there is such an influx of data science energy and ideas.

With regards to infrastructure, cloud computing forms the basis of many data science projects. It makes it much more affordable to process huge data sets, is often faster than a typical supercomputer, and is immediately available.  For any sophisticated project like this, companies are starting to understand the importance of choosing true cloud hosting:

  1. Distributed rather than centralized storage for no single point of failure and no bottlecks.
  2. InfiniBand rather than 10 GigE for always-zero packet loss and practically no jitter.

Good Causes

Booz Allen Hamilton and Kaggle (the latter a data science group) organized the second $200,000 Data Science Bowl, and it is taking place right now. Last year the event focused on cleaning up the oceans. This year it focuses on heart disease. The contest “challenges you to create an algorithm to automate a heart function assessment process,” notes the official site. “With it comes the opportunity for the data science community to take action to transform how we diagnose heart disease.”

The projects at these contests are becoming more elaborate all the time. Data is no longer simply text but now often includes images and speech files. Generally the problems are becoming more challenging to solve.

Yelp wanted to figure out where health-code violations would likely occur over the upcoming 45 days. They set up a contest in conjunction with DrivenData. Judgment was completely fact-based: they compared the actual results with the data projects submitted. In assessing the top algorithm against local data, they determined that the City of Boston would be able to cut their inspections significantly – as much as in half – using the predictive model.

Contests and other crowdsourcing methods are attracting more people all the time. Why?

Reason #1: Better algorithm or model

Contests provide a way for companies to come up with a better algorithm or model for better results, explains Conversion Logic data scientist Jeong-Yoon Lee. “In the competitions I’ve participated in, 100% of the time you see that the solution [arising out of] the competition outperforms the benchmarks provided by large corporations, no matter how talented their in-house data science team is,” he says.

Reason #2: Broad interaction with the outside world

It isn’t easy to recruit the best data scientists. There just aren’t many available. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to continue having an open mind toward a long-running challenge. In a contest scenario, you get a chance to go in and see how a huge group of people with eclectic perspectives can see the puzzle differently.

Reason #3: Do something no one thinks can happen

People often want to enter contests when it’s an open-ended issue for which there is no known solution. However, the projects that are particularly tough to approach are likelier to attract more seasoned pros than people just getting started, who might be intimidated by lofty project parameters.

Reason #4: Find your data sicence whiz

Often these contests are helpful to find those “whiz kids” (and veteran all-stars) of the data science world.

“Data science competitions are a way to get access to people who you might not know how to identify or you don’t have full-time requirements for,” notes Kaggle CEO Anthony Goldbloom.

The participants get ranked at many contests, which provides a strong sense of competition.

Reason #5: Get your study out in the open

Contests are a quick route to get recognition for your research and to gather new ideas for it. Essentially, the contest can determine if your algorithm is strong. If it tests well, that will often result in acceptance of your approach – as has occurred with some machine learning methods.

Reason #6: Give fodder to budding scientists

“We see tons of interest from students and other people [who] are interested in data science, because one of the biggest hurdles to developing your skills is getting access to real data sets,” notes Greg Lipstein, cofounder of DrivenData.

Two Surveys: Cloud is Growing, Strategies Adapting

Growing Cloud

Cloud is growing at an incredible pace, just as it did in 2015. As cloud comes into its own, IT managers are learning how to better strategize to make the most of these virtual systems.

  • Cloud Becoming Increasingly Popular with Business
  • Rise of Hybrid Cloud, DevOps, Containers

Cloud Becoming Increasingly Popular with Business

A study conducted by the research firm Clutch shows that two out of three medium and large companies will spend more on cloud systems this year than they did in 2015.

For the poll, which interviewed 300 information technology executives, more than two in five (42%) expected their cloud budget to rise moderately: 11-30%. Smaller proportions expected mild and extreme increases in their use of cloud: 27% said it would remain the same, while 14% expected a 31% to 50% greater expense. Meanwhile, only 6% said they would be using less cloud than they did last year.

Since cloud is growing so incredibly, it could be a chance for service providers to fill the emerging business demand. Specific services that enterprises most need include app deployment (51%); disaster recovery and backup (62%); and storage (70%). Plus, all companies require strong hosting as they realize they want the best infrastructure-as-a-service providers. For instance, Superb Internet uses a distributed design (no bottlenecks) and InfiniBand (dozens of times lower latency than the theoretical minimum of 10 GigE).

Companies are putting more money into their cloud budgets simply because it’s better helping them meet their business objectives, notes Go Nimbly CEO Jason Reichl. “The cloud is building ROI faster and with better business accuracy,” he says, “so companies are willing to reinvest in it ever year.”

Businesses tend to hire experts to set up their cloud systems – the majority (53%) do, in fact. There are positives and negatives to working with consultants. Of course it’s good to have access to the expertise of a third party dedicated specifically to working with the cloud. However, keeping the expertise outside the company means the insights of the cloud transition aren’t integrated as fundamentally into your own business.

Rise of Hybrid Cloud, DevOps, Containers

Another survey revealed that cloud is no longer in the realm of shadow IT. Instead, RightScale’s poll of 1060 IT leaders found that “the shift is well underway from shadow IT driven by individual teams to a centralized approach that enables cloud consumption of cloud services across the entire organization,” notes Joe McKendrick of ZDNet. IT executives are becoming cloud brokers, sources of knowledge on how to piece together cloud systems.

More and more, medium and large companies are realizing that it’s best for IT managers to create cloud policies (44% vs. 31% in 2015). Policies generally will include catalogs of acceptable cloud systems. In terms of the three types of cloud, businesses were committing to each category to about the same degree: 29% hybrid, 27% public, and 23% private.

The biggest issue companies have encountered when transitioning to cloud is recruitment of personnel with the applicable skills. Previously companies were worried primarily about security, but the top challenge is now seen as training and internal understanding of the technology (32% training  vs. 29% security).

IT leaders don’t always have the money they need for cloud. However, different techniques are making it easier for companies to achieve their missions affordably and efficiently. DevOps is one area that is particularly important, comments McKendrick. “As companies seek to drive digital business by delivering new software applications and features more quickly,” he says, “they look to both DevOps and cloud as key enablers.” DevOps is headed toward ubiquity, rising from 66% to 74% adoption between 2015 and 2016.

Open-source cloud platforms are becoming more popular as well. The most obvious example is Docker. Docker uses containers to allow businesses to quickly deploy programs broadly and easily allow portability of apps. Docker more than doubled in adoption, rising from 13% last year to 27% this year.

Configuration management systems are also becoming increasingly popular. Puppet and Chef are each used by 32% of those surveyed, while Ansible is in use at 20% of organizations.

Hybrid cloud is now becoming more of a standard. That’s because both public and private cloud use is growing considerably. The vast majority of medium to large companies (82%) currently have hybrid clouds that inegrate public and private components.

Generally speaking, there is greater use of private and public clouds as companies let go of their legacy systems. Companies that have over a thousand public cloud virtual machines rose from 13% to 17%, while those with over a thousand of the private variety went up to 31% (from 22% in 2015). A related finding is that enterprises with more than 1000 in-house virtual machines hit 48% (vs. 42% in 2015). That data is where the numbers on growth of private and hybrid cloud can be a bit deceiving. RightScale explains: “The growth in private cloud workloads also may include long-standing virtualized environments that have been enhanced and relabeled as a private cloud.”

The De Facto Cloud Should Be Transformative

Cloud Icon

There are all these reports coming out that cloud is now the “de facto” choice for technology – that basically it has trumped legacy systems so substantially that it’s now the top tech priority for businesses. But if cloud is now standard, it must also be transformative in order to incorporate finance chiefs.

  • Cloud at Top of Business
  • Now Considered the “De Facto” or Default Choice
  • Leveraging the Potential for Transformation
  • Why Settle for Mediocrity?

Cloud at Top of Business

It’s obvious to most businesspeople that technology is now central to business success. The ever-changing landscape of technology can only be ignored at one’s peril. What’s the evidence? In fact, a report released in June found that almost three out of four chief executives around the world believe that technology is disrupting their industry – in other words, they say it is the one element that most greatly influences the market.

Technology is important, but what’s the most key technology for development, differentiation, and competitive advantage? Here are the top responses:

  1. Cloud computing – 63%
  2. Mobile tech – 61%
  3. Internet of things – 57%
  4. Cognitive computing – 37%
  5. Groundbreaking manufacturing tech – 28%

[RELATED: Do you want cloud that’s never oversold? That’s us.]

Now Considered the “De Facto” or Default Choice

Cloud technology is gradually becoming the default method with which business computing is put into operation, according to another recent study. The era of doubt about cloud seems to be over, with very few large companies deciding not to shift funds toward the virtual technology.

“As the majority have run mission critical applications over the cloud, and there is near universal recognition of better performance, usability and lower cost of ownership,” explains Business Cloud News, “the fear of adopting cloud and [abandoning] old expensive computing models has disappeared.”

Let’s take a look the statistics from the 2015 study. Compared to similar studies conducted in previous years, more large companies (69%) say that they redesigned at least one business task to take advantage of the cloud. In fact, that statistic is almost twice as high as it was in 2014. What’s more, an incredible seven out of eight respondents (88% percent) say that cloud is better than legacy systems and improves engagement. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds (65%) believe it has had a positive impact on general operations.

The data, frankly, is kind of astounding. “80% [of businesses] say they feel as secure or more secure than they do with an internally run IT service,” says Business Cloud News. “As a result, 87% of businesses are now using the cloud for mission-critical workloads.”

Just look at these figures for mission-critical application penetration by cloud (the last figure a projection):

  • 2013 – 60%
  • 2014 – 71%
  • 2015 – 87%
  • 2016 – 98%

Enterprise IT should be pleased to know that not all systems are being moved to external locations, with nearly half of companies (44%) saying they were either currently using or developing private clouds.

Leveraging the Potential for Transformation

Okay, so the world is changing under our feet, with industries worldwide being disrupted by cloud technology. Cloud actually isn’t just the new technological model but an opportunity for organizational transformation. That was the topic at the Cloud Business Summit, a forum presented in New York.

In a roundtable talk at the forum, tech and financial executives talked about the integration of cloud with finance. The business leaders agreed that finance chiefs often disagree with other executives in their continuing skepticism toward cloud.

Cloud is now a fundamental piece of the enterprise, notes IT consultant Bruce Guptill of Connecticut-based Saugatuck Technology. “There are thousands and thousands of case studies and examples how we can improve our value to our organizations,” he says.  “It’s not replacing us, it’s a new set of tools and a new set of lenses creating more opportunity.”

Basically, the heads of the IT and finance departments are moving at different paces because caution is considered the #1 rule of finance by many.

Companies often get uneasy when they consider a financial move to the cloud because making changes to finance often impacts the entire organization, notes CIO Bill Sinnett of Financial Executives International. “How do you go into a halfway measure around your core accounting and shift it to the cloud?” he asks. “There isn’t a transition path.”

That helps to explain the concern of finance chiefs: cloud feels “all-or-nothing” to them. You can’t just force people in the finance world to love cloud. You have to show them how cloud will improve financial data analysis.

It’s critical to understand that finance chiefs are focused on reporting, and discussion of cloud is better focused on solving big-picture problems. When financial systems malfunction, finance chiefs tend to think it’s an issue with business intelligence, specifically reporting, Sinnett advises. “But the reporting tool is not the problem — it’s a data problem,” he says. “[T]hey haven’t captured the right kind of data. It’s a whole financial architecture problem.”

Why Settle for Mediocrity?

Business is moving quickly to cloud, and it seems that many finance leaders will start to better appreciate its appeal when they see how they can better analyze data.

The key is to make sure that the cloud systems your company uses are great cloud rather than mediocre cloud. At Superb Internet, we use distributed storage rather than centralized (the latter a mainframe-era remnant still used by most cloud providers) and InfiniBand rather than 10 Gigabit Ethernet (for zero packet loss and almost no jitter).

7 Meaningful Improvements for E-commerce

Ecommerce

How could you improve your e-commerce business this year? Try these methods to rethink your design, content, and hosting.

  1. Perform a content audit.
  2. Perform a design audit.
  3. Verify mobile usability.
  4. Put new content on your site, especially pictures and reviews.
  5. Retool your product copy.
  6. Use good photos that are not massive.
  7. Get true 100% HA cloud hosting.

What can you potentially add or change about the way that your e-commerce company does business that can make a big impact on growth? Here are eight tactics from online strategists, web developers, and hosting experts.

1. Perform a content audit.

Has some of your content become dead weight? We all know it’s good to have a huge amount of quality content, but sometimes certain pieces or posts will no longer fit with your message. Kathryn Hawkins of Eucalypt Media recommends creating a spreadsheet and marking each content piece to retain, change, or remove. That tactic does wonders for UX and navigability, she says.

You also want to make sure you don’t have a bunch of broken links, advises Steve Silberberg, founder of the weight loss company Fitpacking. Broken links are irritating to individual users and also damage your Google search standing.

2. Perform a design audit.

You also want to carefully analyze all the design elements of your site, such as the fonts, color scheme, and amount of white space, according to Neill Harmer of LightCMS. “These elements reflect a site’s credibility, usability and mood,” he says. “While the use of different fonts enables you to showcase creativity, too many varied fonts can have a discordantly jarring effect.”

You also don’t want to have an overload of too much stuff on any one page. Make everything easy so that people have options but aren’t driven away by TMI – too much information.

3. Verify mobile usability.

If you aren’t presenting yourself correctly for mobile use, you will be unreceptive to the increasing number of people who access your site on their smartphones, comments Kindra Svendsen of Speak Creative. If you don’t use the principles of responsive design, people will likely reroute to another company.

As with broken links, failure to remake yourself for the mobile world will hurt you with Google as well. That’s actually definitely the case since April 21, 2015, when Google Mobilegeddon occurred. In fact, according to David Goldman of CNN, it’s critical to adjust to this major algorithm tweak (which notably does not affect tablet rankings). “The top spot on a search page typically attracts 20% to 30% of the page’s clicks,” he explains. “Positions two to three generate 5% to 10% of the clicks, and links below that receive less than 1% of users’ attention.”

4. Put new content on your site, especially pictures and reviews.

E-commerce businesses have placed too much of their focus in the last few years on social media, says 2 Dogs Design founder Jill Caren. Businesses haven’t been paying as much attention to email newsletters and their own blogs. That shift in focus from site to social has been too aggressive.

You can, however, integrate social content into your site. You want reviews from customers and even images from them all over the place, notes PR specialist Matt Krebsbach of Bazaarvoice. “Not only does this provide vital information that helps customers to make better purchase decisions,” he says, “but it delights your customers with engaging social experiences that drive awareness and influence sales.”

Krebsbach has actually conducted research showing that integrating social information and reviews boosts conversion rate by 3-9% and engagement by 25-40%.

5. Retool your product copy.

You want to be as comprehensive as possible with your descriptions of everything you offer so you are likelier to float to the top on the search engines. Simply transferring in copy from the vendor is a common and very bad error for Google ranking.

You also want to replace wording that is excessively complicated, according to marketer Rafael Rivera of e-printing company PrintRunner. Don’t describe the solution you are offering itself but the advantages of using it.

Video can be effective in getting your message across to some users. Keep in mind it’s all about speed and conveying your differentiators immediately.

6. Use good photos that are not massive.

You must have strong photos, says TorontoVaporizer CEO Nima Noori. Images are absolutely critical to sales. Think about incorporating lifestyle images of your product.

Delivery of the images is key as well, says Tammy Everts of datacenter networking provider Radware. “To make images render more efficiently, ensure they are compressed, consolidated, correctly sized and formatted,” she says. You also want them to be “optimized so that images below the fold are deferred.”

7. Get true 100% HA cloud hosting.

You obviously want your site to be engaging with great text and visuals that are laid out in a compelling way, as indicated by the above six elements. Your choice of a cloud hosting provider is equally important, though. Specifically, you want one that has 100% high-availability, where you’ll actually be leveraging the full power of cloud technology.

Specifically, you want distributed rather than centralized storage. Unfortunately, centralized storage is used by most cloud providers. With distributed storage, there is no single point of failure (SPOF). Even if multiple nodes fail, there will be no impact to performance. You also want to take advantage of the superior performance of InfiniBand, a far better choice than 10 GB Ethernet. If your host uses InfiniBand, you benefit from zero packet loss and 10+ times lower latency than the theoretical minimum of 10 GigE.

Want to knock one of these items off your list? Check out the packages we have at Superb Internet, where performance is guaranteed because we never oversell. Learn more.

Trends Critical to E-commerce Growth in 2015

Ecommerce 02

This year, worldwide business-to-consumer e-commerce is projected to total more than $1.7 trillion, with mobile purchases representing almost $300 billion of that amount. Obviously every e-commerce business wants to get as big a slice of that market as they can, so they try to stand out and get the attention of consumers, a large portion of whom use mobile devices for shopping.

What are the best ways for a company to outperform its rivals in 2015? The key is understanding eight current trends.

  1. Greater complexity is being built into content, but text still matters.

Many companies are finding that consumers are especially responsive to more dynamic, interactive features on e-commerce sites, comments e-commerce visual specialist Russ Somers of Invodo. What types of content, specifically? “Images that spin and rotate, interactive videos that have clickable elements that allow consumers to learn more about products and purchase them, and guided online walkthroughs of consumer electronics devices,” says Somers.

While Somers is right that sophisticated visuals can be effective at engaging consumers, it’s also important not to forget the basics: words. After all, original copy (i.e., any kind of unique text) is still considered the most valuable form of content by three in five marketers (58%).

  1. Mobile transactions are becoming more common.

A report from Goldman Sachs forecast that almost half of all money made by e-tailers in 2018 will come through smartphones and tablets. Part of the reason that people are increasingly using mobile is because the payment gateways of major brands such as PayPal and Apple simplify the process of logging in and making payments, says identity management executive Patrick Salyer of Gigya.

Many e-commerce companies now see that it is not just common but typical for their customers to access their sites via mobile.

To better serve users that arrives from mobile, it’s incredibly important to use the principles of responsive design, according to marketing manager Matt Winn of Volusion. By making your site responsive, you “provide the best user experience across devices, regardless of operating system or screen size,” he says. “Doing so will ensure a seamless shopping experience, lead to increased site conversions and provide retailers with a more modern branding component.”

  1. Personalized, micro-targeted approaches are yielding a competitive advantage.

Online retailers are better connecting with consumers by using big data to personalize the consumer experience, says digital VP Anees Merchant of Blueocean Market Intelligence.  Companies’ increasingly sophisticated personalization and targeting methods allow them to win bigger share of wallet and create more relevant engagement, she adds.

In fact, a study conducted earlier this year by cross-channel personalization company MyBuys found that half of consumers (53%) say they spend more when their experience is customized.

  1. Consumers now want the product faster.

When people started going online to buy products, the initial expectation was that it came with a downside: you had to wait a few days for it to arrive. Now, some companies, including Walmart and Google, offer same-day delivery, explains Andrew Van Noy of SMB e-commerce provider Warp 9. That speed is creating new expectations.

  1. It is becoming simpler all the time to sell worldwide.

The majority of shopping carts are now designed to allow companies to sell their products internationally, notes e-commerce specialist Steve Power of Bigcommerce. “And thanks to third-party fulfillment services, which simplify the process of shipping products across borders,” he adds, “even smaller ecommerce businesses can now reach customers around the world, tapping into the multibillion-dollar global ecommerce market.”

  1. B2B e-commerce is becoming more competitive.

Business-to-business e-commerce sales will continue to accelerate, according to equity analyst Todd Miller of Sterling Partners. The market has always been dominated by B2C, but businesses are now becoming more collaborative in meeting each other’s needs through integrated distribution networks.

B2B e-commerce allows wholesalers and manufacturing companies to offer mobile solutions, streamlining the experience for returning customers and facilitating more efficient support.

  1. Retargeting is becoming fundamental rather than innovative.

Retargeting and going after users who abandoned their shopping carts with tailored messages can now be considered fundamental to online sales success, per Mohita Nagpal of split testing company vwo.com. “According to our research,” she says, “more than 55 percent of online shoppers are open to the idea of purchasing a product they abandoned in their cart if it is offered again at a discounted price.”

Plus, retargeting features are now built into many e-commerce environments, so it is easier to implement the tactic.

  1. Companies are realizing that not all clouds are alike.

Businesses used to simply want to make a decision between using a traditional server environment and going to “the cloud.” Now, more e-tailers are becoming savvier about which specific cloud hosting providers they use.

The most important elements include:

  • Distributed storage – Businesses now realize that distributed storage is preferable to centralized storage so that they can avoid bottlenecks and experience even multiple node failures with no hit to their performance;
  • Infiniband – Similarly, more companies understand that the guaranteed zero packet loss and almost nonexistent jitter of this networking technology represents a considerable improvement over 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

Launching Industry-Best Cloud Servers

The above trends show that there are several major ways in which e-tailers can focus to outpace their competition – such as mobile, personalization, and shipping speed.

It’s also increasingly wise to optimize cloud infrastructure. Beyond the above two elements of a strong cloud, ecommerce companies are looking for solutions that don’t oversell and can in turn offer guaranteed performance.

At Superb Internet, we meet all those expectations – delivering PassMark-rated performance that is typically 4 times better than AWS or SoftLayer on cloud plans with similar specs.