5 Numbers showing why the Time to Invest in eCommerce in the UK is Now

A decade or two ago, you might have already had the urge to invest in eCommerce. But astute as you are, you must have decided to wait for the right time and perhaps the right place to do it. That time has come. And the right place to do it? Try the United Kingdom.

Here’s why:

1. ?100 billion worth to the UK economy

A report conducted by US-based BCG (Boston Consulting Group) showed that Internet-based business in the UK reached ?100 billion in 2009. That translated to 7.2% of the country’s GDP that year, making it bigger than industries like construction, education, and health & social work, and even slightly bigger than agriculture, hotels & restaurants, and mining, combined. Click here to see the comparison shown as a graph.

?100 billion?is certainly huge, but?the market potential of the Internet in UK is even made more evident if you also look at the numbers based on amount spent per capita…

2. # 1 in per capita spending

According to IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group), “the UK’s per capita spend of ?1333 (?1108) per annum” is number one in the world. This shows that people from the United Kingdom are more willing to buy goods from the Internet than other people on the planet. And this alone should tell you why UK is the best place for e-commerce.

But while you’re still pondering whether now is really the best time to invest, bear in mind that competitors who have gone to the Internet before you are already thinking of expanding …

3. 1.5 million workers in Internet retailing by 2015

Last year (2011), the number of people employed in UK e-businesses was about 730,000. While conducting its second annual e-Jobs index in 2011, IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) found out that it was largely due to a rise in employment in 63% of e-businesses. The study also showed that 60% of e-businesses were also planning to beef up their employees within a year’s time.

While other sectors are shrinking their ?workforce, businesses on the Internet are growing theirs. Were they just speculating? Perhaps not…

4. 50% of parsels during 2016 pre-Christmas peak will come from e-commerce

Last year (2011), parcels coming from e-commerce accounted for 37% of all items sent through UK couriers during the November-December stretch. That volume from e-commerce was 15% higher than the previous year. This remarkable climb, which was reported by Global Freight Solutions (GFS), shows the growing confidence of customers when it comes to buying products online.

If this rate continues, items from e-commerce will easily comprise 50% of parcels by 2016. Chances this rate will continue? Let’s go to number 5 and you be the judge.

5. 66% of all adults made online purchases in 2011

A statistical bulletin published by the ?Office for National Statistics revealed that 32 million people made online purchases in 2011. That actually comprises 66% of all adults in the UK. Significant as that may seem, what is really striking is that that figure used to be 62% in 2010. So again, this proves that the number of people who buy products and services online is steadily growing.

If you really think about it, these statistics should not be surprising. The smartphone is now practically the default mobile device of anyone who owns a mobile phone. And then of course there are laptops and tablets.

With these devices on hand, coupled with the ever growing number of WiFi hotspots and telecommunications bandwidth, gaining access to the Web has never been easier.?It can be done practically anytime, anywhere.

This makes it so easy for people to search for products, compare competing brands, and eventually make a purchase from home, the office, on the terminal, or on the train.

Related post:

Integrated e-commerce ? The right way to do extend your business online

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How DevOps oils the Value Chain

DevOps ? a clipped compound of development and operations – is a way of working whereby software developers are in a team with project beneficiaries. A client centred approach extends the project plan to include the life cycle of the product or service, for which the software is developed.

We can then no longer speak of a software project for say Joe?s Accounting App. The software has no intrinsic value of its own. It follows that the software engineers are building an accounting app product. This is a small, crucially important distinction, because they are no longer in a silo with different business interests.

To take the analogy further, the developers are no longer contractors possibly trying to stretch out the process. They are members of Joe?s accounting company, and they are just as keen to get to market fast as Joe is to start earning income. DevOps uses this synergy to achieve the overarching business goal.

A Brief Introduction to OpsDev

You can skip this section if you already read this article. If not then you need to know that DevOps is a culture, not a working method. The three ?members? are the software developers, the beneficiaries, and a quality control mechanism. The developers break their task into smaller chunks instead of releasing the code to quality control as a single batch. As a result, the review process happens contiguously along these simplified lines.

CodeQCTest???
?CodeQCTest??
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Colour KeyDevelopersQuality ControlBeneficiary

This is a marked improvement over the previously cumbersome method below.

Write the Code?Test the Code?Use the Code
?Evaluate, Schedule for Next Review?

Working quickly and releasing smaller amounts of code means the OpsDev team learns quickly from mistakes, and should come to product release ahead of any competitor using the older, more linear method. The shared method of working releases huge resources in terms of user experience and in-line QC practices. Instead of being in a silo working on its own, development finds it has a richer brief and more support from being ?on the same side of the organisation?.

The Key Role that Application Program Interfaces Play

Application Program Interfaces, or API?s for short, are building blocks for software applications. Using proprietary software-bridges speeds this process up. A good example would be the PayPal applications that we find on so many websites today. API?s are not just for commercial sites, and they can reduce costs and improve efficiency considerably.

The following diagram courtesy of TIBCO illustrates how second-party applications integrate with PayPal architecture via an API fa?ade.

Working quickly and releasing smaller amounts of code means the OpsDev team learns quickly from mistakes, and should come to product release ahead of any competitor using the older, more linear method. The shared method of working releases huge resources in terms of user experience and in-line QC practices. Instead of being in a silo working on its own, development finds it has a richer brief and more support from being ?on the same side of the organisation?.

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The DevOps Revolution Continues ?

We close with some important insights from an interview with Jim Stoneham. He was general manager of the Yahoo Communities business unit, at the time Flickr became a part. ?Flickr was a codebase,? Jim recalls, ?that evolved to operate at high scale over 7 years – and continuing to scale while adding and refining features was no small challenge. During this transition, it was a huge advantage that there was such an integrated dev and ops team?

The ?maturity model? as engineers refer to DevOps status currently, enables developers to learn faster, and deploy upgrades ahead of their competitors. This means the client reaches and exceeds break-even sooner. DevOps lubricates the value chain so companies add value to a product faster. One reason it worked so well with Flickr, was the immense trust between Dev and Ops, and that is a lesson we should learn.

?We transformed from a team of employees to a team of owners. When you move at that speed, and are looking at the numbers and the results daily, your investment level radically changes. This just can’t happen in teams that release quarterly, and it’s difficult even with monthly cycles.? (Jim Stoneham)

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Firewalls

There are two main reasons why some companies are hesitant to plug into the Internet.

  1. They know they’ll be exposing their company data to outside attacks from malicious individuals and malware.
  2. They fear their employees might get too many distractions: games, porn, chats, videos, and even social networking sites.

One vital component for your overall security strategy against such concerns? A firewall.

A firewall can block unauthorised access to certain Internet services from inside your organisation as well as prevent unauthenticated access from the outside. It is also used to monitor users’ activities while they were online.

In an enterprise setting, one may expect a collection of firewalls either for providing layered protection or segmenting off different units in the organisation. Some areas only need a standard line of defence while others require more restrictions. As such, certain firewalls may have different configurations compared to others.

Naturally, the more intricate an organisation’s defence requirements get, the more complex the task of monitoring, testing and configuring the firewalls becomes. That’s why we’re here to help.

  • We’ll evaluate your network as well as the security requirements of each department under your organisation to determine which firewall architecture is most suitable.
  • To achieve maximum efficiency, we’ll point out where each firewall should be positioned.
  • We’ll work with your key personnel to make sure all firewall configurations are set and optimised with your business rules in mind.
  • If a large number of firewalls are required, we’ll help you set up a firewall configuration management system.
  • Firewalls should be regularly tested and assessed to ensure they are in line with the organisation’s security policies. We’ll perform these routine tasks as well.

Firewalls aren’t very good at defending against sophisticated viruses. There are much better solutions for malware-related vulnerabilities, and we can help you in that regard too.

Other defences we’re capable of putting up include:

A Definitive List of the Business Benefits of Cloud Computing ? Part 4

Lowers cost of analytics

Big data and business intelligence (BI) have become the bywords in the current global economy. As consumers today browse, buy, communicate, use their gadgets, and interact on social networks, they leave in their trail a whole lot of data that can serve as a goldmine of information organisations can glean from. With such information at the disposal of or easily obtainable by businesses, you can expect that big data solutions will be at the forefront of these organisations’ efforts to create value for the customer and gain advantage over competitors.

Research firm Gartner’s latest survey of CIOs which included 2,300 respondents from 44 countries revealed that the three top priority investments for 2012 to 2015 as rated by the CIOs surveyed are Analytics and Business Intelligence, Mobile Technologies, and Cloud Computing. In addition, Gartner predicts that about $232 million in IT spending until 2016 will be driven by big data. This is a clear indication that the intelligent use of data is going to be a defining factor in most organisations.

Yet while big data offers a lot of growth opportunities for enterprises, there remains a big question on the capability of businesses to leverage on the available data. Do they have the means to deploy the required storage, computing resources, and analytical software needed to capture value from the rapidly increasing torrent of data?

Without the appropriate analytics and BI tools, raw data will remain as it is – a potential source of valuable information but always unutilised. Only when they can take the time, complexity and expense out of processing huge datasets obtained from customers, employees, consumers in general, and sensor-embedded products can businesses hope to fully harness the power of information.

So where does the cloud fit into all these?

Access to analytics and BI solutions have all too often been limited to large corporations, and within these organisations, a few business analysts and key executives. But that could quickly become a thing of the past because the cloud can now provide exactly what big data analytics requires – the ability to draw on large amounts of data and massive computing power – at a fraction of the cost and complexity these resources once entailed.

At their end, cloud service providers already deal with the storage, hardware, software, networking and security requirements needed for BI, with the resources available on an on-demand, pay-as-you-go approach. In doing so, they make analytics and access to relevant information simplified, and therefore more ubiquitous in the long run.

As the amount of data continues to grow exponentially on a daily basis, sophisticated analytics will be a priority IT technology across all industries, with organisations scrambling to find impactful insights from big data. Cloud-based services ensure that both small and large companies can benefit from the significantly reduced costs of BI solutions as well as the quick delivery of information, allowing for precise and insightful analytics as close to real time as possible.

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