Encourage continuous innovation
Innovation is crucial to survival for today’s large-scale retailer. Retailers acknowledge the need to experiment with new service and experience offerings in store and roll them out quickly once proven. And this experimentation needs to be conducted in a controlled environment, with full knowledge of the exact local circumstances in which they will need to succeed. But this can be a real challenge for retailers, especially those with large store estates over a highly distributed geography. Store IT has been designed for a different age and is a major barrier to rolling out innovation.
What’s required is a solution that allows retailers to perform centralized experiments in a replicated, risk-free environment before the technologies are used publicly by customers. This naturally enables retailers to adopt new technologies quicker than before, and to keep up with the pace of change.
In addition, the IT estate also needs to be treated as an integrated whole, rather than as a collection of disparate devices. This means that store technology updates are created centrally and then distributed, that delta updates and patches are centrally managed, and that all possible support functions are carried out at the center and automated to reduce support costs. Solutions which employ this approach move away from the management of individual stores to the management of a store ecosystem, which in turn makes the whole infrastructure significantly more cost-effective.