It's not you, it's me: removing barriers to an enhanced retail IT experience.
“Sorry, the tills are down” - a phrase neither customers nor Retail Leaders want to hear.
So, with non-performing IT capable of creating significant damage business reputations, why are so many retailers still keeping their fingers crossed and relying on legacy broadband services?
With stiff competition from those providing multi-channel retail, and attracting customers by combining Wi-Fi with compelling mobile apps to engage customers, surely time is right for a move to Fibre based broadband access, Cloud-based EPOS and online trading solutions?
Certainly, there is a very strong case for introducing robust, scalable, upgradeable fibre-based networks and hosted services in the retail sector to improve productivity and profitability. But is technology alone enough to save the relationship between retail businesses and their customers?
While a fibre-based network structure may be a giant leap forward, the relationship between the retailer and its IT suppliers may also need some major work. Ask this question: “Are they your trusted advisors and an extension of your organisation, or are they consistently failing to meet the level of service expected and contracted for?”
A failing IT supplier relationship can be just as damaging as a non-performing network and installing a shiny new fibre-based infrastructure won't solve this ill.
It may sound obvious, but talking to suppliers is the best medicine. Collaborating to gain an understanding of underlying performance issues and seeking solutions both internally and with the supplier themselves.
Poeple are often sceptical about personal 'therapy' until they've tried it, and business relationships are no different.
Independent counselling between organisations and partners can provide Retail Leaders and their IT supplier(s) with a clearer insight into their working relationship. At Peru Consulting, we call it a Contract and Relationship Review.
It's a therapy equivalent designed to repair damaged relationships and develop effective IT partnerships that deliver greater value, reduce cost and enhance services. Peru has developed tools to analyse client/supplier relationships and identify issues, including structured interviews with key service, technical and commercial stakeholders from both client and supplier teams.
It's vital that both sides embrace the process and are open and honest throughout. As independent facilitators, Peru can ensure the process not only defines remedial activities, but also allows frustrations to aired positively and constructively. This can strengthen the relationship and help it to move forward as a partnership.
A successful IT client/supplier relationship is hugely valuable. Built on trust, with clear contracts and realistic service level agreements, it will will deliver measurable benefits to both parties. More than that, it will help to deliver the main prize – an IT network that works for your organisation and its customers - fibre or otherwise.
So, in the unlikely event that the tills do go down in the future, everyone can be confident of a quick fix by the right people, with minimal damage to the bottom line or brand reputation.
Catriona Anderson is a Principal Consultant at Peru Consulting and specialises in IT Transformation. She has worked with organisations including AIB, Syngenta and CLS.