Avoiding Downtime During the Festive Season: Why E-Commerce Companies Need Observability
Avoiding Downtime During the Festive Season: Why E-Commerce Companies Need Observability

It’s the time of the year when retailers and e-commerce businesses in India ramp up for annual festive season sales. Annual sale events are crucial to the industry, and in 2022 alone, India’s e-commerce industry reached Rs 40,000 crore ($480 million) in revenue. In a few days from now, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be here. 12.7 percent of annual shopping will take place across this eight-day shopping marathon, making it one of the largest drivers of revenue for the Indian retail market.

When large, revenue-driving sales are underway, businesses face challenges with maintaining the uptime of their websites and mobile apps due to an increase in traffic. Because downtime drives customers away, competitors with more reliable systems will come out on top. When website and mobile app traffic volumes rise during sale days, backend teams need to constantly fight issues, which they may not be able to address fast enough. This is perhaps why research into Cyber Monday sales revealed that only 36 percent of customers in India were satisfied with their online experience during this sale period.

Today’s retailers face fierce competition amid a risky macroeconomic climate, with major hikes in energy costs, growing inflation, interest rates and supply chain disruptions causing consumers to tighten their purse strings. This makes festive sales even more critical, as customers look to find a bargain.

With millions of dollars on the line, it is critical for retailers to double down on their digital customer experience (DCX) strategies to create seamless customer journeys. Observability is important here, as it allows teams to proactively analyze and optimize their systems based on logs, metrics and traces, in order to provide a real-time view of collated data. Retailers need powerful AI-driven observability solutions to ensure they can offer seamless customer experiences for festive season shoppers.

The Cost of Doing Business without Observability

With the festive season sales already well underway, Indian e-commerce and retail businesses must ensure that their services can scale efficiently to meet the demand of peak traffic periods, as even a small outage can have an adverse impact.

According to the New Relic State of Observability in Retail report, nearly 4 in 10 global retailers report having high-impact outages once a week. What’s concerning is the time taken to resolve these, as the longer a resolution takes, the more revenue is lost. Currently, 61 percent of retailers say it takes at least 30 minutes to resolve such outages, and this is costing them dearly. The median annual cost of IT outages among retailers stands at $9.95 million. During a sale, this could mean more revenue is lost. For businesses that aren’t using full-stack observability, the process of finding and fixing issues becomes very difficult and ultimately ends up costing the business new customers and brand loyalty.

Fixing Incidents Quickly to Maintain Uptime

Retailers are realizing the benefits of observability because the payoff is evident. By adopting observability, retailers improved the time taken to detect and fix incidents. Many of them are realising the monetary benefits of maintaining uptime. The State of Observability in Retail report also revealed that nearly 60 percent of retailers derived more than $500,000 in total annual value, with 43 percent saying they derived a total annual value of $1 million or more after adopting observability.

In most retail and e-commerce companies, the responsibility for maintaining uptime falls on engineering teams. To enable an omnichannel approach, retailers often depend on third-party solutions that they have little or no access to like kiosks, video cameras and POS systems. They also use different technologies for payments and external distribution logistics. With such a variety of technology in play, teams often find it challenging to easily implement telemetry in their retail strategy. And when outages occur, engineering teams at the backend have to spend hours trying to parse logs, analyse metrics and toggle between different monitoring tools. Spending a significant amount of time on fixing a single issue can pose a challenge to maintaining uptime.

All-in-one observability platforms consolidate the entire process of monitoring and analyzing the IT infrastructure. It helps engineering teams find out what’s going wrong and also to derive valuable context of how it went wrong and what’s needed to fix the problem. When these processes are automated, DevOps teams can fix issues faster, ensuring uptime.

Retailers aiming to keep their digital storefronts operational this festive season must invest in full-stack observability. This will provide them with comprehensive visibility into their software, and the ability to proactively collect and visualise data, apply intelligence and understand the behaviour of the IT ecosystems. Observability solutions have emerged as a competitive differentiator for retailers and ecommerce companies, and the time for these businesses to adopt them is now. Otherwise, they risk losing millions in revenue.



  Author: Prasad Rai, Vice President Sales for India, New Relic

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Most of Our Products are Built in India: Puneet Chandok of Microsoft India
Most of Our Products are Built in India: Puneet Chandok of Microsoft India

In a spirited discussion on AI and the retail industry, Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India and South Asia delved deeply into India's role in transforming the world through Artificial Intelligence and technology enablement. He discussed Microsoft's commitment to India, not only in training Indian talent but also in leveraging it.

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised the Tech Entrepreneurs Association of Mumbai (TEAM) for hosting Mumbai Tech Week and their ongoing involvement in building tech startups in the country. During a panel discussion with Haptik CEO Aakrit Vaish at Mumbai Tech Week, Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India and South Asia, emphasized the transformative impact AI could have on various aspects of daily life.

Chandok stated, “When we look at India through the lens of demand, supply, and impact, there is no other market like India today. There are 7,000 listed companies in India and one hundred thousand startups. Many startups are in Maharashtra, and one hundred new startups are emerging in India every day. India is the largest SMB market globally, making it one of the most exciting markets today.”

He further added, “When we look at the supply lens and examine Microsoft's data, one out of four projects on AI in GitHub today is run out of India. Every sixth AI researcher in the world is from India. In the next ten years, 25 percent of the global workforce will come from India, meaning every fourth worker in the world will be from India.”

Discussing the growing influence and power of Artificial Intelligence, Chandok mentioned, “Last night, my 12-year-old daughter was creating text-to-video, and she told me that AI will change her life. She is an artist; she draws and paints. This also indicates how the younger generation perceives AI.”

Expanding on this, Chandok continued, “People will stop searching and instead have conversations. I have stopped searching myself; in fact, I was conversing with my Copilot to understand what is happening at the event and what I should speak about. We have shifted from searching to genuine conversations. This is not just chat drama anymore. These are sophisticated engines providing reasoning within.”

Regarding his personal perspective, Chandok remarked, “People say AI is overhyped, but I think it's not hyped enough. The next generation, which will use this in the next few years, will have much higher expectations of what technology can do for them. So, how you build it for that generation, how you build it for that future, will be really interesting to see."

Chandok also emphasized that those who do not embrace AI, risk falling behind in the rapidly evolving technological landscape. He encouraged Indian developers to seize the "lifetime opportunity" to become unstoppable by learning to use and deploy AI effectively.

He concluded, “If you are not learning AI, you are falling behind. I myself spend 30 minutes a day to learn more about AI. Technology is changing every day, and it has been 15 months since ChatGPT was launched. The speed of technology diffusion is unlike anything I have seen in my life, and it is advancing very rapidly. My call to action for everyone is to find a way to learn, otherwise, we will all fall behind.”


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