Smarter Computing For Retailers: Meeting The Needs Of The Smarter Consumer Through Insight And Action


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Smarter Computing For Retailers: Meeting The Needs Of The Smarter Consumer Through Insight And Action

  1. 1. 50 Years of Growth, Innovation and LeadershipSmarter Computing For Retailers:Meeting The Needs Of The Smarter ConsumerThrough Insight And Action A Frost & Sullivan White Paper Brian Cotton, PhD and Robert Worden
  2. 2. Frost & Sullivan Abstract ..................................................................................................... 3 The Retail Industry Environment: Savvy Customers And Agile Competitors ............................................... 3 The Business Need For Smarter Computing To Transform The Retail Industry........................................................... 7 The Business Value Of Smarter Computing In The Retail Industry .............................................................................. 11 Building A Responsive And Efficient Retail Business Infrastructure ................................................................. 12 References ................................................................................................. 14 CONTENTS
  3. 3. Smarter Computing For RetailersABSTRACTRetailers today are facing more technology-savvy, demanding customers and moresophisticated competitors, which are forcing them to transform their businessmodels. This transformation is being guided by three imperatives defining the retaillandscape: 1) deliver a smarter shopping experience; 2) develop smartermerchandising and supply networks; and 3) build smarter retail operations. Inresponse, retailers are becoming more customer-centric, which requires them totransform their information technology (IT) infrastructures. Forward-thinkingcompanies are moving quickly and strategically to embrace Smarter Computing, aprogressive approach to building IT infrastructures that return real business value.Smarter Computing enables retailers to connect with manufacturers, suppliers andconsumers globally for better real-time decision-making. Retailers embracingSmarter Computing are also finding that they can keep pace with their customers’changing buying preferences and demands, while realizing increased availability andresiliency of transaction systems, and lower operating costs.THE RETAIL INDUSTRY ENVIRONMENT: SAVVY CUSTOMERSAND AGILE COMPETITORSThe retail environment across the globe is challenging retailers as changes inconsumer behavior interact with an unstable global economy, rapid advances intechnology, and increased competition and regulation. In some parts of the world,the economic recession has decreased consumers’ spending ability, but has notstopped it completely. In June 2011, for instance, the retail sales index decreasedby 0.4 percent in the Euro Zone, but in the U.S., retail sales posted a slight gain of0.5 percent . There are also some signs that certain segments of the retail industry,such as apparel, are picking up. The economic mood in growth markets such asChina, India and Brazil is positive. Low unemployment and rising wages, coupledwith greater access to consumer credit, have fueled spending to the point thatgrowth markets are expected to account for 60 percent of world GDP by 2020 andcontribute significantly to world retail sales. This all suggests that consumersaround the world are becoming more conscious about their spending, which isforcing retail models to adapt.Retailers are also confronting the empowered consumer. The continued spread ofmobile communications and the rapid rise of social networking have given consumersthe power to redefine their relationship to retailers. Armed with more informationand an ability to make purchases from virtually any Internet-connected device,consumers are better informed during the purchasing process. Whereas some retailwebsites provide consumers the ability to compare products and services, pervasivesocial media open up multiple forums for shoppers to post comments and makerecommendations about a retailer’s products, pricing or customer service. Theseconsumers are savvy and seek out the highest value for products and services, as well 3
  4. 4. Frost & Sullivan as demanding a consistent shopping experience across all channels. Retailers need to take advantage of the opportunity to engage with their consumer on a personalized basis, and provide platforms for a new vision of electronic commerce. Retail Industry Drivers • An unstable global economy • Increased access to mobile technology • Changing consumer behavior • Intense retail competition • Changing regulatory rules and expectations • Fast changing online and mobile technologies Changes in retail competition and regulatory rules are causing additional challenges for retailers as many seek to expand internationally to take advantage of growth opportunities outside of their home markets. Some U.S. retailers, for instance, are entering into Canada and this is creating a highly competitive retail market north of the border. Over the past decade, seven of the top 10 U.S. retailers have expanded into Canada . Wal-Mart, for instance, operates approximately 329 stores in Canada, having made the decision to enter that market several years ago. In September 2011, Target Corporation announced plans to open another 84 stores in Canada, bringing the total of new stores due to open in 2013 and beyond to 189 locations . In addition to Target, Nordstrom’s and Kohl’s are investigating opening retail operations in Canada as well . Existing Canadian retailers have responded with lower prices, adjusting their merchandizing mix and examining acquisition targets. Regulatory initiatives in the U.S. also have retailers concerned about rising operational costs. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) employer mandate provision, for example, has retailers concerned about not being able to afford healthcare for employees, a situation that may lead to layoffs . A U.S. Department of Transportation initiative to reduce driving time hours for freight companies could impact delivery schedules by mandating drivers have two consecutive nights off. Those retailers using night-time shipping would be most affected. All of this means that retailers need to develop leaner, more efficient operations. The drivers of today’s retail environment have shifted power to the consumer, which is compressing margins and changing the retail paradigm. Retailers are scrambling for the right strategic approach in this challenging environment, as traditional retail models such as warehouse stores, department stores and specialty 4
  5. 5. Smarter Computing For Retailersretailers are reaching maturity, and online retailing is growing. Retailers need tofind ways to be more agile, and to expect that their suppliers will do the same.The challenges of the retail environment create complexity for retailers trying to adaptto the 21st century economy, and this is requiring them to transform their businessmodels, and the technology that supports them, to succeed. This transformationprocess is guided by three vital retail imperatives, as shown in Figure 1.Deliver a smarter shopping experience: enabling a shopper to engage on apersonal basis with retailers, shopping whenever and wherever they want, and matchinventory and brand experience across channels, in stores and via mobile devices.Develop smarter merchandising and supply networks: gatheringcustomer information continuously at every touch point, to manage and deliverassortments based on customer insights.Build smarter retail operations: inserting intelligence into customer datamanagement and processes to understand real-time sales trends, while improvingmanagement across production, product development, and assets to driveoperational excellence and lower costs.Figure 1: Imperatives Guiding the Transformation of the RetailIndustry Deliver a Smarter Shopping Experience Develop Smarter Merchandising & • Customer Intelligence & Insight Supply Networks • Online Customer Experience & Selling • Supplier Integration & Management • In-Store Point of Service • Supply Chain & Inventory Optimization • Cross Channel Order Management • Transportation & Warehousing & Fulfillment Management • Cross Channel Campaign Management • Supply Chain Performance • Social Retailing and Analytics Optimization Retail Industry Transformation Build Smarter Retail Operations • Financial Performance Management • Financial Analytics • Energy Performance Management Source: Frost & Sullivan Analysis and IBM 5
  6. 6. Frost & Sullivan The imperatives shown in Figure 1 revolve around how a retailer can transform its business model to be more attuned to the customer, make changes to the organization and improve the shopping experience for the customer. The transformed model equips the retailer to listen to the customer, through multiple media, and learn from their choices, feedback, and behaviors. This allows them to service customers flawlessly, and predict and grow customer loyalty. It enables the retailer to develop a single, “truthful” view of each customer across multiple shopping channels, and use this information to guide changes in merchandising and marketing to make interactions more personalized and service-oriented. Finally, the new retail model enables the customer to select the methods and channels of interaction, while taking control of social media so that a customer’s suggestions and feedback are able to build a retailer’s brand. The retailer who embraces these imperatives will become a lean, informed and versatile organization capable of driving operational efficiencies and growth. The key requirement of success, however, is the need to adapt the retail IT infrastructure to handle the demands imposed by these imperatives. Key Infrastructure Requirements • Scalability • Performance • Flexibility • Reliability and Availability • Standardization The conundrum for smarter retailing is how to support the imperatives with an IT architecture that is collaborative, scalable, secure and integrated. The infrastructure must be scalable in response to increased demand, such as consumer responses to promotions or seasonal shopping periods. The systems must also support high-performance computing across multiple workloads to accommodate large numbers of consumers shopping on a website, for instance. The infrastructure also needs to be flexible to adapt to changes in demands and new applications, enabling IT managers to direct resources where they are needed most, and it must be reliable and robust to ensure constant uptime. Finally, it is crucial that the infrastructure be standardized to close gaps in the existing architecture, governance rules, and process management simultaneously across the enterprise. Many retail IT infrastructures have often been implemented without these necessities as top considerations and over time expanded to handle singular tasks that were not part of an integrated design. 6
  7. 7. Smarter Computing For RetailersRetail industry leaders are beginning to seek advanced IT solutions to help themaddress their rapidly changing environment. Forward-thinking CIOs are starting totransform their IT infrastructures to respond to the imperatives driving 21st centuryinnovations in retail business models. Retailers need a modern IT infrastructurepowered by an efficient set of operations to successfully deliver a smarter shoppingexperience backed by an agile merchandising and supply network. The architecturaldesign of this infrastructure must accommodate a constantly updated stream ofinformation from customers and the supply network, feeding into analytic platformsthat enable quicker reactions to changing customer preferences and operationalconditions. They also need to perform complex information capture and processingefficiently, and support different types of business models to keep costs down.Smarter Computing is an approach that can help retail industry CIOs transform theirIT infrastructures to address these imperatives.THE BUSINESS NEED FOR SMARTER COMPUTING TOTRANSFORM THE RETAIL INDUSTRYIntroducing Smarter ComputingSmarter Computing is a new approach to transform IT infrastructures to enableretailers to optimize the shopping experience for today’s digitally-empoweredconsumer. This approach is based on three fundamental capabilities: • Designed for Data means designing an IT infrastructure to harness all available information, including real-time streaming data, to unlock insights for better decision-making. It is about extending beyond traditional sources of data to generate insights by leveraging new forms of information, which can be incorporated into a retailer’s information supply chain to reduce operational costs, master a single version of a customer profile, simplify data security, and get insights from huge volumes of complex data. • Tuned to the Task means matching workloads to systems that are optimized to the workload characteristics, ranging from transaction processing and database management, to business intelligence and analytics, to managing communications across merchandising and supply networks. Optimizing the systems to the workloads enables greater performance and efficiency, helping CIOs working to enable smarter retail operations. • Managed in the Cloud means changing operations to support evolving business models and enable delivery methods that bring greater efficiencies out of existing IT assets, and deploy resources flexibly, dynamically and quickly to multiple store locations, distributors, and suppliers in a cost-effective manner.Smarter Computing supports business transformation by creating a technologyframework to enable business operations that realize the business imperatives, andgenerates business value in a competitive, cost-conscious environment. The 7
  8. 8. Frost & Sullivan Smarter Computing approach in the retail industry revolves around how customers’, suppliers’, store, and partner data is collected, processed, analyzed, saved, and shared. The IT infrastructure that supports the model’s business operations delivers business value by using data to guide decisions, using optimized systems to maximize efficiency, and leveraging the cloud to transcend geographic borders and legacy system limitations. Figure 2 illustrates the application of the Smarter Computing approach to retail industry innovation. Figure 2: Smarter Computing and Retail Industry Transformation Retail Organization Transformation Deliver a Smarter Develop Smarter Build Smarter Retail Shopping Experience Merchandising & Supply Operations Business • Customer Intelligence & Networks • Financial Performance Imperatives Insight • Supplier Integration & Management • Online Customer Management • Financial Analytics Experience & Selling • Supply Chain & Inventory • Energy Performance • In-Store Point of Service Optimization Management • Cross Channel Order • Transportation & Management & Fulfillment Warehousing Management • Cross Channel Campaign • Supply Chain Performance Management Optimization • Social Retailing and Analytics Business SMARTER COMPUTING-BASED IT INFRASTRUCTURE Operations Process Automation Business Process Management Event Processing Customer Intelligence Business Intelligence Transaction Processing Data Storage, Sharing, & Management Physical World Interfaces (Sensors, Systems, Devices) & Data Acquisition DESIGNED FOR CLOUD WORKLOAD Business DATA ENABLED OPTIMIZED Value Customer-Specific Offers Scalable Operations for Seasonal High Availability, Multi-tiered and Outreach Activities Promotions and Events Transaction Processing Source: Frost & Sullivan Analysis Retail company CIOs can use Smarter Computing-based IT infrastructures to carry out the operations underlying the transformation imperatives. Because the various business operations have different characteristics, workload-optimized systems yield efficient computing infrastructure designs. The efficiencies lie in systems that are flexible enough to meet peak-level workload demands, such as back-to-school or holiday sales, and enable resources to be deployed elsewhere during off-peak periods. Smarter Computing’s cloud capabilities facilitate the deployment and implementation of new processes and models that encourage collaboration and contributions from customers, retailers, and suppliers across the value chain, while giving managers a unified view of the insights derived from customer and business intelligence. By being able to capture all available data for advanced analysis, a Smarter Computing infrastructure can help managers predict preferences and behaviors and make decisions accordingly. Importantly, the approach gives CIOs 8
  9. 9. Smarter Computing For Retailerscontrol over capital and operational expenditures because existing ITinfrastructures can be transformed and need not be completely replaced.Delivering a Smarter Shopping ExperienceDelivering a smarter shopping experience requires retailers to develop a deepinsight into the needs and shopping behaviors of their customers and offer thempersonalized products and services, often in real time at point of sale. This is basedon intelligence about past purchases and behavior, and incorporates social retailingand mobile commerce patterns. Retailers use this insight to develop customizedoffers and product mixes, conduct cross-channel campaigns, and fulfill ordersquickly and cost-effectively. A smarter experience also relies on communicationbetween a retailer and a customer across channels in whatever media the customerchooses— store, online, or mobile— in and offering social networking to theircommunity to gather and interpret customer feedback.The key to a retailer’s ability to deliver a smarter shopping experience is puttingthe savvy, digitally empowered customer at the center of their operations. Thereis a wealth of data, both structured and unstructured, available to retailers that canbe captured and analyzed. The resulting insight can be shared across the valuechain. By building an IT infrastructure that is designed for data, retailers canharness large volumes of rich data and apply sophisticated analytics to it, enablingthem to redefine their relationships with their customers. By deploying systemsand components that are optimized to their IT application and operational tasks,and hosting the applications in the cloud, retailers can quickly scale out to maintaina personalized connection with all of their customers— without the need to buildcostly infrastructure at multiple store locations.The Smarter Computing approach also creates business value for a smartershopping experience by: • Capitalizing on social and mobile commerce; • Contributing to growth by enhancing and extending the value that the retailer gives to their customers; and • Enhancing customer loyalty by supporting customer-specific offers and outreach activities.Developing Smarter Merchandising and Supply NetworksDeveloping smarter merchandising and supply networks requires retailers tosynchronize operations across the supply chain, optimizing inventory and orderfulfillment processes to bring the smarter shopping experience to customers quicklyand efficiently. This involves not only managing vendor relationships, but alsoenabling open collaboration between retailers, customers, suppliers, and shippers to 9
  10. 10. Frost & Sullivan ensure that the products customers want are available and can be delivered rapidly. Retail industry CIOs can apply the Smarter Computing approach to build an IT infrastructure that sustains smarter merchandising and supply networks by integrating and managing suppliers in the process of developing customer insight to deliver product assortments that customers want. Applications that enable asset and inventory management and tracking would be able to run on infrastructure components architected to harness and analyze customer and operational data. In an online and mobile commerce model, retailers would use cloud computing to enable suppliers, outlets, and customers to remotely access storefronts and warehouses and input data securely. A cloud model would also enable supply chain performance optimization using real-time analysis of data to dynamically allocate supply chain resources and coordinate workflows across the chain. Smarter Computing can help CIOs gain business value from smarter merchandising and supply networks, including: • Optimized supply chain performance, from product manufacturing through warehousing and distribution; • Efficient, robust, and resilient supply networks; and • Secure and seamless transaction processing and order fulfillment. Building Smarter Operations Retail CIOs can apply Smarter Computing to build smarter operations to improve business processes, make production more efficient, and control costs across the business. The big data capabilities used to develop sophisticated customer insights can also be applied to better understand the financial performance of retail operations and support management decisions. An IT infrastructure that is optimized to handle a retailer’s workloads can save operational costs, such as energy, and reduce unnecessary infrastructure expenditures. By applying virtualization technologies, retailers can deploy resources during off-peak times of demand for other projects, such as application development or backup of mission-critical systems. Smarter Computing can also help realize other business value from having smarter operations, including: • Improved business intelligence; • Support for high-availability, multi-tiered transaction processing; and • Cost and consumption management. 10
  11. 11. Smarter Computing For RetailersTHE BUSINESS VALUE OF SMARTER COMPUTING IN THERETAIL INDUSTRYRetail organizations are facing an unprecedented set of challenges that are forcing “The goal was tochanges in their business models. Global economic uncertainty is making customers ensure that ourmore careful about their spending, and mobile communications and social networking customers wouldare giving them the means to demand more from retailers. Competition among have a great siteretailers for this business is increasing, and the successful merchants will be those that experience relativeconsistently deliver a smarter shopping experience to their customers. Commercial to performance.success will also depend on smarter merchandising and supply networks, and smarter We wanted toand more efficient operations. All of these factors are driving retailers’ IT departments decrease our totalto transform their IT infrastructures to adapt to the imperatives of today’s retail cost of ownershipenvironment. Some progressive organizations have embraced the Smarter Computing for the hardwareapproach to direct their transformation to meet these imperatives. technology while increasing flexibilityStaples: Delivering a Smarter Shopping Experience and scalabilityStaples is the world’s largest office products company and provides products and for the future.”services in office supplies, copy & print, technology, facilities, breakroom, andfurniture. The company is a leader in eCommerce sales and considers the continual —Rob McClellan,improvement of the online shopping experience to be a strategic priority. As part of Vice President of IT,this, Staples’ marketing teams need the ability to model customer responses to Staples.comvarious promotions before taking them to market. Staples recognized that its currentIT architecture would be unable to provide the computing platform necessary for thistransformation, and it would need substantial investments in it to achieve itsambitious goals. Rather than taking on a huge cost burden, it partnered with IBM toimplement a Smarter Computing approach to guide the process.The goal of the project was to develop a next-generation platform that would giveStaples’ customers a differentiated shopping experience, and save the companycapital and operational costs. The core of the transformation involved replacing 35older servers with seven new servers, built specifically to support Staples’ e-commerce initiative. The architecture design enabled Staples to apply real-timeWeb analytics to a range of customer data, which was used to create targetedmarketing messages and offerings. The system is also designed to scale to handlespikes in activity during peak load periods. During off-peak periods, it can redeployresources on the fly to do promotion testing alongside production, boosting theflexibility and efficiency of the system. Staples’ system was built with futurecapabilities in mind, such as leveraging its cloud capabilities to serve multiple microe-commerce sites. By consolidating its servers and building them to handle specifice-commerce tasks, Staples reduced data center space requirements by 56 percent,cut hardware maintenance requirements by 80 percent, and saved tens ofthousands of dollars in energy costs in the first year. 11
  12. 12. Frost & Sullivan Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory: Automating Business Processes Increases Insight and Effectiveness “We can run our business so much Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, a candy maker, franchisor, and retailer with 300 more effectively locations in North America and the Middle East, applied Smarter Computing and with so much principles to develop a smarter merchandising operation. The company maintains a more insight using focus on developing and producing candy, and leaves the majority of sales operations the IBM system.” to the 300 franchise stores. Each of them, in turn, maintains a separate point-of-sales (POS) system and manually e-mails sales and inventory data to the company’s main —Key Jobson, office. This manual approach was time- and labor-intensive, which meant that the CIO, important findings in the data reports were often out of date and not useful to the Rocky Mountain company’s merchandising strategy. Trends were also difficult to identify, and Chocolate Factory products were often not delivered to meet these trends. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory’s management decided that the threat to business was substantial and decided to team up with IBM to standardize the POS system, which would feed data quickly into an IT system designed to manage the company’s merchandising and supply network. By applying the Smarter Computing approach, the company is able to identify trends more quickly, and act on them, to increase sales and profitability. BUILDING A RESPONSIVE AND EFFICIENT RETAIL BUSINESS INFRASTRUCTURE Retail industry CIOs and IT managers are under constant pressure to ensure that their IT infrastructures enable their companies to be lean and agile in their intensely competitive retail environment. Value-conscious customers are connected and empowered, and demand personalized service across a number of channels. At the same time, retail in a globalized world is fiercely competitive as companies contend for business at brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce sites. To succeed, retailers need to adapt their business models to deliver a smarter shopping experience to respond to their customers, while building smarter retail operations and smarter supply networks to maintain cost-efficiency. Retail CIOs need a smarter way to transform IT infrastructures to capture complex customer, competitor, and operational insights underlying retail business models that are responsive and efficient. The application and operational requirements to realize these imperatives come with substantive IT workloads, and traditional IT infrastructures that were designed around a one-function-one-hardware system principle cannot cope with these workloads. In today’s austere economic climate and highly competitive industry, retail CIOs have the additional requirement for their IT infrastructures to reduce operating costs, be flexible and scalable to deploy computing resources where they are needed, and to encourage collaboration across the value chain. 12
  13. 13. Smarter Computing For RetailersThe Smarter Computing approach is a holistic solution that can guide retailers’ ITdepartments along the path of establishing the IT infrastructure to support theimperatives of a responsive, efficient, and reliable business infrastructure. Anumber of retailers around the world are beginning to realize the benefits ofimplementing a Smarter Computing approach. Industry CIOs may wish toinvestigate using a Smarter Computing approach if they are considering: • Establishing a sophisticated program to capture customer intelligence and derive insight from a variety of data types and sources; • Supporting a global network of merchandise suppliers, store outlets, and virtual storefronts for serving customers across multiple channels; • Enabling the rapid development and deployment of promotions and offerings to take advantage of emerging product and customer trends; and • Creating a company-wide data management system, with shared access to master records.Forward-thinking retailers, such as Staples and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory,have employed a Smarter Computing approach to help them meet the needs ofdemanding customers and succeed in a competitive, cost-conscious environment. 13
  14. 14. Frost & Sullivan REFERENCES 1 U.S. Census Bureau. “ADVANCED MONTHLY SALES FOR RETAIL AND FOOD SERVICES JULY 2011,” August 12, 2011. 2 “IBM Forecast: Fall Looking Bright for Apparel Retailers.” IBM Press Release, 31 August 2011. 3 The Conference Board, “Global Economic Outlook 2011.” http://www.conference- 4 Colliers. “The Retail Report Canada,” Spring 2011 Edition. 5 Target Corporation. Press Release “Target Finalizes Real Estate Transaction with Selection of 84 Additional Zellers Leases,” September 23, 2011. 6 Reuters, “Canada a magnetic north for U.S. retailers,” September 26, 2011. 7 National Retail Federation. “NRF Testifies on Health Care Reform, Asks Congress to Eliminate Employer Mandate Penalties,” February 9, 2011. This report was developed by Frost & Sullivan with IBM assistance and funding. This report may utilize information, including publicly available data, provided by various companies and sources, including IBM. The opinions are those of the report’s author and do not necessarily represent IBM’s position. XBL03015-USEN-00 14
  15. 15. Silicon Valley San Antonio London 331 E. Evelyn Ave. Suite 100 7550 West Interstate 10, 4, Grosvenor Gardens, Mountain View, CA 94041 Suite 400, London SWIW ODH,UK Tel 650.475.4500 San Antonio, Texas 78229-5616 Tel 44(0)20 7730 3438 Fax 650.475.1570 Tel 210.348.1000 Fax 44(0)20 7730 3343 Fax 210.348.1003 877.GoFrost • http://www.frost.comABOUT FROST & SULLIVANFrost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, partners with clients to accelerate their growth. The companysTEAM Research, Growth Consulting, and Growth Team Membership™empower clients to create a growth-focused culture that generates, evaluates, and implements effective growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan employs over50 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses, and the investmentcommunity from more than 40 offices on six continents. For more information about Frost & Sullivan’s GrowthPartnership Services, visit information regarding permission, write:Frost & Sullivan331 E. Evelyn Ave. Suite 100Mountain View, CA 94041Auckland Dubai Mumbai Sophia AntipolisBangkok Frankfurt Manhattan SydneyBeijing Hong Kong Oxford TaipeiBengaluru Istanbul Paris Tel AvivBogotá Jakarta Rockville Centre TokyoBuenos Aires Kolkata San Antonio TorontoCape Town Kuala Lumpur São Paulo WarsawChennai London Seoul Washington, DCColombo Mexico City ShanghaiDelhi / NCR Milan Silicon ValleyDhaka Moscow Singapore