Are IT roadmaps the route to retail success?
The route to winning the battle for customers and improving margins often leads to the CIO's door as data starts to pile up. So is there a better roadmap that can lead retail businesses to success, asks Peruvian Principal Consultant, Geoff Mellor?
The last generation of IT was based on a 'silo mentality' where CRM systems were separated from POS and mobile data and device interaction was pie-in-the-sky. The result was an inability to leverage the vast amount of customer spending-habit information and, for many retailers, that legacy lives on.
Today’s Omni channel approach to retail needs seamless customer experience, but legacy IT architecture and applications inhibit the effective delivery and analysis of the ever-increasing volumes of retail data needed to keep up with the competition, let alone stay ahead.
While Rationalisation, Consolidation, Transformation may be the three steps to retail IT heaven, success in delivering IT that can assess and generate customer value to a retail sector business, starts with a strategy and roadmap.
While an architecture roadmap may sound more than a little “techy” to a non-IT audience, put together properly it should work across the whole business. It should identify each layer of organisational and IT strategy including business processes, information flows, applications and infrastructure.
But, as anyone in the retail sector will know, presentation is everything. When it comes to IT strategy, there is no silver bullet; no single view. In every case - and not just in retail - different departments have a different agenda and requirements (finance v. sales and marketing for example) and the overall business needs of a fashion retailer will be very different from a food store.
With a clear roadmap, the route to success - and the business case to support the journey - tends to be easier to see and faster to implement.
Geoff Mellor is a Principal Consultant at Peru Consulting and specialises in IT Strategy and Architecture. He has worked with organisations including ABB, Syngenta and AstraZeneca.