It’s time to rethink retail

The retail industry has been dealing with a number of challenges the last few years: increased complexity in the supply chain, more demand for online and omnichannel shopping experiences, shortage of qualified talent and rapidly changing customer preferences to name a few. All these scenarios were intensified by the pandemic, forcing some retailers out of business and leaving others actively rethinking the best way to move forward efficiently and responsibly. Through it all there remains one constant: Retailers cannot afford to be this unprepared again.

Some reinvention will be necessary immediately to show customers and employees that retailers really understand and appreciate their wants and needs. We have a three-phase plan (Respond, Reset, Renew) to help you organize your rethink journey but the ultimate procedure is to constantly renew your organization so you can be prepared for the next disruption, whenever it may occur.

We have lots of ideas on where and how to prioritize next steps. So, take a breath or two, then focus on how to rethink and prepare for the future. We have plenty of experience in the retail industry to draw upon. Here’s what one of our clients said about us:

The future is just that: the future and it’s a scary one for many retailers. But recent months have proven we can all learn and adapt fast if we are willing to break with convention. There are ways to ensure that your retail company will be more resilient and sure-footed. Let us help you find out what works best for you.

Enabling the new workplace experience in retail

Most industries are having some difficulty hiring and retaining the right employees. But in the retail industry, with an average turnover rate hovering near 150%, the problem is even more acute. Retailers are looking for effective ways to attract, train and keep the right employees. Likewise, retailers are also searching for answers on how to turn their employees into brand ambassadors, with the confidence and skills to deliver a great customer experience.

Microsoft Teams is far more than the sum of its parts— but even those parts are impressive. Most companies are aware of  Microsoft Teams capabilities as a communications platform but haven’t explored how Teams can be used as a collaboration, application and integration platform to create rich experiences for employees.

This feature-rich platform opens a world of possibilities for you, including the ability to:

Redesign retail experiences, services and processes, for example: intelligent, more efficient supply chain solutions, shift management optimization and real-time, personalized interactions with customers.

How to make Microsoft Teams work for you

When used effectively, Microsoft Teams provides a catalyst for communication and camaraderie among the frontline workforce and management in retail situations. It enables everyone involved to easily find out who may be able to cover a shift and whether there might be extra shifts available. It allows frontline workers to know what’s happening with co-workers and management in the moment, on devices they are familiar with and can easily access.

You have many options, such as deploying specific components of Teams to add collaboration to your existing environment or deploying Teams entirely to replace that environment.

Microsoft designed Teams to scale to very large numbers of employees and Fpzsgroup has in-depth experience in helping companies to exploit these possibilities, especially for complex interoperability scenarios.

How to make digital transformation work for you

Knowing what needs to be done to future-proof your company and being able to execute on those ideas are two different things. Retailers especially are running up against a dizzying array of roadblocks to their best-laid plans. Finding, hiring and retaining employees with the necessary skills and integrating new technology into their existing systems are key areas that are at the top of retailers’ minds, according to our latest research.

The results can mean cost savings, increased business growth and improved ROI. But it will take work along three dimensions:

  • Efficiency
  • Experience
  • Innovation

A healthy dose of intelligence needs to be part of the strategy if you want to really accelerate digital transformation across these dimensions.

3 ways to sabotage your digital transformation

Stories about digital transformation success are everywhere: The pizza chain that lets you order from anywhere on any device for delivery (seemingly) everywhere… The streaming media service that bet its business on a subscription model – and won… The bank that empowers customers to make voice-activated transactions through their virtual assistants.

Don’t be fooled. For every success the media trumpets, there are scores of failures that die quiet deaths, away from the spotlight. Digital transformation is hard. And it’s never been more important. Businesses—yours included—need digital transformation because without it, your ability to survive and thrive is uncertain.

To overcome this, you need to be focused on three targets: process, tools, and culture. Allowing any one of these three to stall can sabotage success.

1: Process.

Many businesses blame legacy systems for not pulling their weight in the digitally transformed company—but even new systems built expressly for the purpose may fall short. That’s because just using the newest technologies isn’t enough. The design, development and engineering processes used to create these new systems must be agile enough to adapt to continually changing requirements and desired outcomes. If your process for creating these systems is outdated, the resulting systems will be outdated too—no matter how new they are.

What’s needed is a modern software engineering approach that speeds the product lifecycle with proven Agile and DevOps processes. If you don’t think that process really makes a difference, think again. For example, Fpzsgroup have helped companies to adopt modern software engineering tools and approaches, the companies we have helped increased agility with shorter release cycles while cutting related costs by 20 percent.

2: Tools.

Adopting modern software engineering tools is essential—but just having new tools is not enough. We’ve seen companies adopt DevOps tools and still not achieve the expected productivity gains because they fail to take advantage of their ability to facilitate new ways of working. For example, they may replace a centralized source code system with a distributed, Git-based solution—and then not use the new tool to decentralize their source code management approach and adopt collaborative processes that would drive productivity.

We recently helped a major manufacturing company to adopt DevOps tools—and learn to use them to transform its global software development process. The company boosted project capacity by 50%, reduced time to market from days to minutes and improved the quality of its growth-focused apps.

3: Culture.

Ultimately, companies can’t optimize their use of new processes or tools without making a major change in their software engineering cultures. And that’s not a one-time-only proposition. Culture must continually evolve as quickly as the changes in technology. Defining and refining culture must reflect the millennials who make up a large share of software development talent and will increasingly do so for years to come. Your culture should reflect their open-source values, both in a greater emphasis on collaboration and (ironically) in ownership of ideas and creative value from design through to production.

Getting culture right revitalizes talent, making it easier for companies to both attract and retain that talent. Fpzsgroup have become a big believer in the crucial importance of getting software engineering culture right—and in sharing this ethos with our clients. It’s something we naturally bring to engagements and help clients to implement in their own companies.

Lots of companies sabotage their digital transformation efforts and never even know it. You don’t have to be one of them. Keeping your focus on process, tools and culture can make the difference, and ensure that you liberate your talent, gain the full benefits of Agile and DevOps, and achieve faster time to market.

Next steps

The current global disruption requires you to make changes – quickly. Fpzsgroup combines the business strategy, agile innovation and deep Microsoft technology expertise to help you rethink, so you can transform faster and smarter.