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  • 27 November 2014 23:26

Black Friday and the Big Christmas Retail Code Freeze

Retailers the world over have gone into technology lock down, to protect their businesses - and Christmas revenues - from software quality issues.

As retailers gear up for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the recently minted biggest day in the retail calendar, retailers the world over have gone on IT lockdown, the so-called “code freeze.” With millions of consumers racing to the high street and e-commerce sites to tick gifts off their Christmas lists, retailers really can’t afford for their applications, systems and websites to fall over at this most crucial revenue generating time.

This means that many retailers are refraining from making any changes to core applications – their e-commerce sites, supply chain or warehouse systems – to protect themselves from the risk of bugs being let loose which could scupper their Christmas plans.

Retailers operate such complex IT environment and there is ample opportunity for things to go wrong. Software quality is the most essential thing to help them maintain business as usual (BAU) during the busiest shopping time of the year – 20 per cent of the year’s shopping takes place between November and December.

Recent research commissioned by Original Software and conducted by retail consultants, Martec, surveyed 48 senior IT executives from the UK’s top retailers and found:

• 71 per cent of retailers are making significant application investments over the coming year but 69 per cent suffer from bugs • E-commerce systems are the leading culprit – glitches in these systems make an immediate dent in revenue generation • Most retailers find it hard to maintain quality in an era of increasing release frequency • Retailers are challenged to complete user acceptance testing due to lack of resource and automation

In relation to the retail code freeze, George Wilson, Head of Operations at Original Software, observes: “Retailers face challenging times as they attempt to knit together core applications – store systems, logistics, e-commerce etc. The run-up to the code freeze is a demanding time as they need to complete all essential maintenance or upgrades and confirm systems are up to the Christmas peak season. Thorough testing of applications is key to ensuring systems don’t fall over at retailers’ busiest time.”

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