Target’s Leverage of Google Cloud
With over 1,800 stores nationwide and 85% of United State’s consumers shopping there per year, Target has easily become one of the largest and most-well known retailers. Around 2015, Target began to lose ground when they were running behind in the digital aspect. Their technology was not at the pace they needed to become a business leader. Target’s management leaders had two dimensions to their jobs and goals: to operate efficiently and effectively and to create the business of tomorrow as fast as possible without ruining what they already had.
When the systems were not up to par, Target’s Cyber Monday left the company with varying key databases and nothing to do about suffocating site traffic. By Cyber Monday the following year, Target had transitioned to the cloud. Alarmingly though, a key database overheated. This time around, a couple simple commands were executed that successfully spun up a new database on a larger server. All the data was transferred across to the new database and traffic was redirected so quickly that no customers ever noticed. Sales continued to roll in without hiccup. The cloud offered elasticity and agility, so now there is confidence in the functionality of the technology. With minds at ease, engineers can now focus their attentions and energies on creating and achieving the future’s target.
Target believed in the ideology that the retailers with the best technology end up amongst the winners in its field. Target’s engineering team has reenergized itself to create valuable software at an extraordinary pace that, in the past, would have taken months even years to complete. Now, infrastructures are provisioned in a matter of minutes. Hundreds of new experiences have been launched for Target’s guests and team members. Some notable experiences include Target’s Drive Up service that allows customers to shop via the mobile app and simply drive up to the physical store front. When the customer hits a geofence, a staff member is alerted and directly brings their order straight to the car. There is no need to get out of the car, walk through aisles or wait in line. This experience is simple, hassle-free and perfect for the on-the-go people. Target Restock is another initiative that promises overnight delivery of household essentials. The mobile app that was created for this allows the store team to place online orders in the off chance that Target did not have the product in stock. Target was able to go within their supply chain systems and get their goods quicker than ever before.
Google Cloud was to thank for all that Target was able to accomplish. It was responsible for the speed and innovation of Target. It simplified all the complexities and abstracts of the software infrastructure so Target’s developers could focus on creating more value for the company. Moving forward, Target seeks to tackle optimizing the supply chain while still solving the many, everyday little problems. Some of the smaller issues for the retail chain involve tagging data on the pictures posted on their site. On Target’s online site, they sell mix-and-match swimwear online. They rely on their photographers to tag the images they take to say ‘bikini top’ or ‘bikini bottom’. As the photographers tend to be the artsy type, tagging accurate data is the least of their priorities, causing more headache for Target. Nowadays, a trained AI model is used to tag the images and the result is everything the retail giant could ask for. To Target, making fundamental changes to the company without adopting cloud infrastructure would be like trying to make wine without grapes. Without the cloud, Target would not be what it is today. Now, Target is operating efficiently, while swiftly working on creating tomorrow. We see similar stories like this across the retail world where the simple transition to the cloud made them a fierce competitor in their field.