We know that retailers only need three things from their technology investments: insight, efficiency and smart response; and that there are four steps to achieving these.
The first two steps, connectivity and aligning processes and systems, provide fundamental insights:
- Into what is taking place within the business right now
- Into the journeys that customers make
- Into understanding how systems are aligned to the business processes and customer journeys.
These insights facilitate efficiency in that they highlight opportunities within the business for streamlining and automation.
The last two steps are as follows:
Step 3 – Orchestrate and automate
You need to automate processes and eliminate waste – and the potential from error – by using business process management to orchestrate complex processes across multiple systems.
Examples here include the approach to introducing a new product to the business and processing a consumer return. These are both processes where specific actions need to be taken by specific individuals or systems across different parts of the business. They are also processes that could well be error prone if handled manually, causing significant pain if delayed. They require high-level visibility into what process steps have been completed at a given point in time.
The real difficulty comes from the multiple systems and people — inside and outside of the organization — that need to be involved. This means that automation of the complex processes across these different systems and individual actors that impact the business is essential in order to drive the efficiency needed.
Step 4 – Real-time intelligence response
The combination of real-time data from both systems and sensors are required in order to achieve this. Data from systems spanning inventory, customers, operations, sales and operations, combined with predictive analytics, artificial intelligence can enable you to automatically respond to what is taking place right now.
One example of this is responding to a specific action of a customer, for example during a real-time marketing exercise. Predicting a customer’s potential to purchase (or not purchase) at a given point in time, based on their actions, and being able to respond accordingly is the coveted smart response (taking advantage of that “retail moment” I have explored previously).
Retailers only need three things from technology: insight, efficiency and smart response. As we have outlined, achieving these takes four steps: 1. Connectivity across the enterprise; 2. Aligning systems and processes to the business; 3. Orchestrating and automating business processes; and 4. Being able to prove a real-time intelligent response.
Who would have thought that reimagining retail could be so simple? Find out more about how the world’s leading retailers are reimagining their retail business with Software AG.