Into the woods: Columbia Sportswear adopts Microsoft cloud
Columbia Sportswear tapped into Microsoft's cloud to enhance its consumers' experience, according to a company announcement. The outdoor clothing company will use Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Azure cloud for its retail, data center, CRM and merchandising operations.
Columbia is addressing the need to create a personalized experience for customers with a "holistic view of its consumer and improved omnichannel capabilities," according to the announcement.
The company also intends to use the Microsoft platforms to drive insight from customer behaviors, wholesale businesses, e-commerce and physical store locations.
The retail industry in particular is dependent on driving customer insights to better overall products and services. CIOs in the retail space need to not only maintaining their company's IT but promoting its products with technology.
CIOs at outdoor companies are tasked with promoting customers' connection to nature and company products through the medium of technology. In order to do this, the company needs to better understand its customers' desires and actions.
The cloud offers retailers more personalized insight into customers and their needs. Customer data must then be stored and analyzed at the rapid pace it accumulates, so turning to the cloud is an obvious choice. Maintaining individual software and hardware units in traditional brick-and-mortar stores is becoming unrealistic — especially when shoppers are turning to online platforms.
A direct competitor of Columbia, REI, uses both Microsoft Azure and AWS for its workloads. Prior to adopting both cloud platforms, the company experimented with cloud services on its website, e-commerce apps and analytics software.
A cross-cloud approach to storing and managing workloads and data is not an uncommon practice. Most companies, in the retail industry or not, adopt multiple clouds for redundancy measures as well as accommodating the weaknesses associated with different cloud vendors.
Follow Samantha Ann Schwartz on Twitter