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A family affair: Digital transformation for the retail industry

  • Posted on October 30, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 2 minutes
digital transformation for retail

I hope you’ll indulge me for just a bit as I try to connect some dots. I recently took some time off to help a family member downsize. Fortunately, it had nothing to do with a diminution of her mental or physical capabilities but rather a desire on her part to cut back on some activities that were now less important to her so that she could focus her time and energy on those things that she was both good at and enjoyed. At the same time I was helping her move, I was also pouring over the findings and statistics from some retail research Avanade recently commissioned. The overlap produced some interesting alignments – at least in my mind. 

Given Avanade’s relationship with MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR), we conducted a survey based on work that CISR did positing that businesses must become future ready if they are to flourish. To accomplish that will require them to develop along three dimensions – efficiencies, experiences and innovation. Avanade’s new research focused on the digital transformation aspect for each of these dimensions, across multiple industries, including retail, which is my area of interest. As I started to dig deeper into the retail findings, my less than bicameral mind began to see an alignment between my family situation and what’s happening in the industry (dots connected!). 

We found two basic tenets that work for both: Leverage what you have and integrate as much as possible. 86% of the retailers in our survey told us that modernizing business-critical systems is crucial to building agility across their business processes. And 58% of them stated that their number one challenge related to modernizing or replacing business-critical systems was that their current infrastructure was difficult to integrate because they lacked the right tools. 

From an integration perspective, 96% of the retail respondents said that data management, hygiene and governance was important to realizing their digital transformation and AI vision while data silos and lack of integrated data resulted in diminished real-time insights into customer behavior for over 50% of them. Many of them are using or expect to use modern analytic tools to find and exploit patterns in operational data. 

Those are just a few “teaser’ stats from our research. We’ve prepared a guide that incorporates more findings and some actual case studies showcasing how retailers can act quickly to become Future Ready. Now. My family member hasn’t read it yet, but she will. I’m sure there will be feedback. Stay tuned. 

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