July 29, 2004, 12:00 AM

Faster and Faster

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In summary, companies wishing to consistently grow revenue online face an increasingly demanding audience and must look to technologies such as web services to help create competitive advantage. Recognizing the key elements of online shopping success-speed, convenience, scalability and responsiveness-is critical to earning and retaining long-term customer value.

The challenge in capturing this demanding audience is, as it always has been, the balancing of IT practicality with merchandising creativity. The difference today is that a web services-based environment enables IT to be as flexible in their response as the merchandising department is in their requests.

Allan Wood is a retail industry solution specialist for Akamai Technologies Inc., provider of distributed computing solutions and services. He can be reached at awood@akamai.com.

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