Bridging the Gap between Legacy Systems and the Cloud

Retailers continue to maintain legacy systems (e.g., procurement and inventory systems) that impede innovation and require significant outlays to maintain and manage. Retailers often continue the use of these systems because the costs and the risk involved in eliminating them are high; in many cases, they run core business functions. Retailers are looking for a solution that will help eliminate these legacy systems and move them to modern cloud-based systems with minimal impact to core retail functions. 

Retailers are looking to invest in a variety of capabilities that will enable shopping anytime, anywhere, for anything. The need to utilize automation, machine learning, and other capabilities is predicated on data being real time accessible.  Many retailer legacy systems – often custom built – do not enable these new capabilities.  Despite these limitations, they often run critical systems directly tied to ongoing operations with no redundancy.  Retailers face several problems in trying to move off these systems and migrate to cloud-based solutions that offer greater future capabilities, flexibility, and returns.  

First, there is the real fear off lost profits and information for any amount of time that systems may be down to transition.  Second, there is difficulty connecting the business value of new capabilities with the value of legacy system retirement in light of multiple competing priorities.  Third, often big portions if not all business operations have been built around legacy systems and changing them requires changing many connected business operations and re-organizing complexity and criticality.  Finally, for custom built legacy systems, there may only be one or two people who understand how they work creating a significant bottleneck to transition. 

The sum of these problems is that many retailers continue to operate legacy systems which limit their capabilities, making them less technologically nimble, and ultimately inhibiting their ability to rapidly deploy new innovations to improve the business.  

Success Criteria

The Challenge Sponsors seek a cost-effective solution that presents a creative way to bridge legacy system functionality while migrating data and capabilities from them.  A successful solution addresses downtime, demonstrating future value, interconnected business operations, and limited expert personnel. In addition, explores options for security, model personalization, flexibility, and upkeep of these systems.  For this challenge participants can submit solutions focused either on new cloud migration technology, new business roadmaps and strategies, or both.

In addition to the above criteria, submitted ideas will be evaluated for the following:

•    Innovative: Is the idea new and unique for this application?
•    Retail Focused: Does this idea address specific retail related challenges? 
•    Scalable: Can this idea be scaled up to be used across an entire portfolio of stores?
•    Practical: Can this idea be implemented without significantly impeding ongoing business operations?

[Challenge Details]

Submission Deadline:
September 30, 2018
Submission Contact:

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