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Showing posts with label IoT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IoT. Show all posts

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Store as Fulfillment Center: Omnichannel and the Future of Retail

Omnichannel has come of age for brick-and-mortar retailers.
Traditional retailers have been on a slow yet steady adoption of digital technologies over the last two decades. First arrived e-commerce, which retailers took on as another channel for customer acquisition and sales. Coupled with this emerged online-only players opening up new avenues of fulfillment. Then came smartphones, setting a new paradigm of customer experiences.
Today, with the faster evolution of technology and ever-increasing consumerization, there is a demand for ultimate flexibility and innovation. Customers expect to be recognized and pampered, and they switch loyalty for the smallest of added perceived value – be it monetary based, convenience based, or experience based.
Brick-and-mortar retailers with an established national and/or international store network are specifically suited to meet the customers of today where they are – online, on mobile, in a physical store, or even in a subway station.  These phy-digital retailers can and must strive for true omnichannel – seamless, connected, and personalized experiences irrespective of how and where their customers shop.
 Omnichannel and the Future of Retail
The Potential of a Store
Despite the increasing adoption of digital shopping, it remains a fact that, for bricks-and-clicks retailers, over 90 percent of revenues are from their physical stores and the store, therefore, continues to be nerve center of operations. It is important to realize the true potential of the huge store network for such retailers.
Stores can transform to be experience centers for omnichannel customers. Here are a few solutions that can bring transformational experiences in-store:
  • Experiential kiosks and digital displays
  •  Digital signage
  •  In-store IoT/ beacon-based personalized experiences
  •  Customer engagement driven by data insights
Stores can be mini-fulfilment hubs, offering ultimate flexibility when it comes to delivery choices and saving a potentially lost sale. Examples of such initiatives include the following:
  • Order online to pick up in store or at curb side, fulfilled from store or warehouse
  •  Order in-store for home delivery, from a warehouse, same store, or another store
  •  Order in-store for pick up from store, from same store or another store
When armed with right tools and technologies, store associates can be brand ambassadors, driving customer loyalty and improving customer retention. For example, when a store associate is asked a question about a salmon pink shirt that was found online but is not in stock in store, the store associate should be incentivized and have the tools to check inventories of nearby stores or the distribution center. Further, the associate should be empowered to take the order for shipping this product to customer’s home at no extra charge the next day.
It’s a no-brainer that omnichannel retailers must invest in technologies that deliver the data to drive store-transformation initiatives.
Implications for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers
For a complete omnichannel transformation to be successful over next two to three years, the foundation has to be strong. It starts with a data-driven, single view of the customer, orders, inventory, products, etc. and a scalable architecture to support dynamic changes in business.
  • To enable an endless aisle of products not limited to a store’s physical space, a global product catalog should be available across channels, including your extended supply network and drop-ship vendors.
  •  To enable stores to be fulfilment hubs, a real-time and reliable view of inventory data should be available across the entire supply network.
  •  And for personalization to click, a 360-degree view of customers’ online orders, store transactions, social engagement, lifetime value, loyalty history including open orders, queries, and complaints is a must.
Orchestrate transformational customer journeys. Decoding retail customer journeys is the starting point to digital transformation. In the era of design thinking and customer experience, a new paradigm of solution design is evolving. Yes, there are beacons, there is big data, there is fast data, there are mobile technologies and cloud applications that promise Nirvana. However, to get transformational business outcomes, there is a need for careful curation of experiences.
Bricks-and-clicks retailers must orchestrate an end-to-end experience that is beyond a pointed technology solution to solve a particular problem like knowing what the customer did on the website or what she purchased in a store. It is about bringing all the insights and business states about products, customers, and even assets like dressing rooms to curate a new digital journey for the customer in-store.
Empower store associates. Retailers must realize the importance of their associates as omnichannel evangelists who can make or break seamless experiences for the customer. Initiatives to incentivize cross-channel “save the sale” behavior is one key paradigm shift that retailers must consciously undergo.
The store associate must be equipped with data on products available across different distribution channels and, to be credible brand advocates, also must be as knowledgeable as her customer. She needs the right technology to have access to meaningful insights on her customer in order to offer a personalized experience. Tools and technologies that can provide data that deliver in-the-moment, 360-degree views on customers, enterprise-level inventory data, mobile point of sale, and in-built intelligence to provide the right recommendations (product recommendations, substitutes, alternate fulfillment options, dynamic offers) are critical for associate empowerment.
The benefits of executing well on all the above initiatives are increased footfalls, increased conversions with a multiplier effect across channels and, most importantly, increased customer loyalty and retention.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

5 Drivers for Securing The Internet of Things

If you have any doubt at all about the impact of the IoT, consider these facts: 75 percent of the world’s population has access to a mobile device. When you compare the number of connected devices in 2009 (0.9 billion) to the number today, it represents a 30-fold increase. It is estimated that over 26 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020.

Along with the massive growth of IoT is the growth of corresponding security issues. As connected devices increase, so does the amount of data generated and transferred by these devices. As more data is transferred, the number of pathways and parameters for the cyber criminal to exploit also increases. It all adds up to the need for more protection than ever before.
Internet of Things, IoT, IT security, IT security strategy, CISO,
Vital role of the CISO

As the world of IT security transforms to meet this exponential growth, the role of the CISO becomes vital in terms of defining the IT security strategy.

Before IoT, the IT and Operational Technology (OT) layer were controlled and secured differently; IT security focused on the confidentiality of data and network infiltration, while OT security emphasized physical security, safety and business continuity. Now that more devices are connected to the internet, the OT layer has become increasingly IP enabled, making it more vulnerable. Traditional security models must adapt, and the CISO must create a unified IT security strategy.

Attention to the following key drivers will assist the smart CISO with devising a strategy that truly works in securing the IoT:

1. Layer visibility. The OT layer, the IT layer and any other layers of the network should have visibility and be encompassed by an overall, unified security plan of action. No layer or device should be exempt.

2. Threat visibility. New devices mean new loopholes and threat vectors. A sound strategy should take into account not only existing vulnerability, but potential vulnerability, as soon as a device is connected to the network. A real-time threat assessment and definition that works around the clock is key to preventing new attacks.

3. Platform visibility. The creation of a monitoring apparatus that is agnostic is vital in today’s software platform environment of continuous updates, open source and self-imposed redundancy.

4. Network encryption. Point-to-point and point-to-multipoint encryption should be based on network segments, network protocols and network flows. In other words, internal networks in their entirety must be encrypted to ensure security long term.

5. Automated remediation. The end-goal of IoT security should be an approach that requires no human intervention. Automated, immediate security control utilizing machine-to-machine intelligence is a key to not only a successful, but also cost-effective unified security strategy.
IoT growth poses challenges for the forward-thinking CISO as scale increases, scope broadens and the need for cohesive cooperation increases. Those who consider the above drivers can develop a security strategy that will address these challenges and pave the way for the organization to take advantage of the opportunities the IoT also brings.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Disruptive Technology Roundup - Product Engineering Services


Cloud computing is the foremost among the disruptive technologies that rule the IT industry.  Organizations are leveraging public cloud for reducing the infrastructure costs and also for a faster delivery of technology projects. Since the data moved into the cloud is often dependent on the application that creates and maintains it, it is vital to integrate the SaaS apps in the cloud with the existing on- premise software. Configuring these multiple SaaS applications to share data in the cloud is crucial in determining the success or failure of cloud projects. Instead of choosing the richest SaaS application, organizations should consider the performance of the app and its ability to integrate into an overall portfolio. It is crucial that the app purchasing decisions need to consider operational performance metrics beyond features and functionality, and how new SaaS apps will contribute to the way the business runs in the future. In this age of Big Data, where large chunks of data are analyzed for churning out Business intelligence and insights, organizations should consider the SaaS vendors that provide access to their own data with better performing and efficiently integrated SaaS applications. 

Businesses are moving into an age of innovation and disruption with the influence of new age disruptive technologies including IoT and Big Data. When everything and everyone gets connected into an integrated global network, the safety of data from unauthorized access, dissemination, and usage is a matter of greater concern. Organizations are now searching for new ways and means to protect their assets from cyber security breaches. At a time when traditional security measures become inefficient, a major rethink of the existing cyber security systems and strategies is the need of the hour. The global cyber security industry is going through a fundamental change and is growing to address the cyber security challenges in the age of IoT. With IoT creating innovations and disruptions in the business world, parallel innovations are happening in the cyber security space also to address the IoT security threats.

Technology space is witnessing a major upheaval with the new disruptive technologies changing the way businesses are carried out. Cloud, Social, and Mobile are converging and accelerating one another to give rise to a constant access paradigm consisting of:

Continuous Services – solutions will increasingly need to be cloud-based to ensure they are always available on-demand and can be consumed on demand.

Connected Devices – proliferation of the number and types of devices that allow users to be continuously or intermittently connected to the internet and with one another.  
Product Engineering Services

With a combination of agile methodology, experienced architects and pre-built components, Happiest Minds deliver Product Engineering Services on 4 specific domains: Enterprise Domain catering to Enterprise ISV customer, Customer Platforms focussing on E-Commerce and Media & Entertainment, IoT focussing on Industrial and Automotive & Building Automation and Data Center Technologies (DCT) focussing on Software Defined Networking and Data Centres. A strong team of technical experts to offer Architecture and Engineering services, well-defined methodologies, frameworks and product engineering processes and standards make Happiest Minds a preferred partner for Product Engineering Services.



Thursday, 22 October 2015

The Critical Success Factors for Digital Transformation Programmes

Right now it feels like the whole world is moving to digital at breakneck speed. Banks, insurance companies, retailers and large manufacturers are all looking at how they can digitally transform the organisation to keep up with customer demand, business expectations and compete globally.

However, while digital transformation is becoming all-pervasive agreement on what digital transformation actually means, how to leverage its potential, and most importantly how to make a digital transformation project a success still remains elusive for many.

Digital transformation can be viewed holistically as the confluence of SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) technologies, cutting through business processes, enabling agile & secure infrastructure, leveraging IoT & connected devises, driven by seamless integration into (and upgrading) of current IT systems and underpinned by actionable insights for sustainable differentiation across customer experience and business efficiency.

See also: Cloud strategies for digital transformation

In fact, you could argue that customer experience is a big driver for digital transformation projects and will continue to be for a long time to come. What this means is:

The personalisation of content, experience, pricing, recommendation, service and so on; the provision of real-time and aware applications that leverage preferences, insights, context and location awareness; systems or processes that enable on-going customer engagement for deeper insights that drive higher loyalty and advocacy; an omni-channel approach that provides the flexibility and choice for customers to leverage any channel they want;

The business efficiency theme driving digital transformation projects is all around creating differentiation for organisations through one or more of the following: helping an organisation to become more agile and responsive in its ability to identify either opportunities or to protect against threats; taking cost optimisation to the next level by further automating mundane and routine tasks that can be more efficiently handled by intelligent systems; creating better decision making powered by real-time data and insights, rather than by gut-feel and intuition; and unleashing the ability to innovate through the provision of new offerings or different business models.

That said, the key driver for most organisations around digital transformation primarily stems from the fact that it offers tremendous opportunity to enable business differentiation and impact in the market.

It will give many organisations the competitive edge they are looking for - and in some instances change the game in their respective sectors.

However, embarking on a digital transformation programme comes with its own set of challenges and requires an enormous amount of change to the organisation in order to bring in this new approach.

This is a complicated programme of work that involves people, process and technology, which are all equally important.

Here are four critical success factors that will help organisations tap into the tremendous potential that digital can offer:

Transformation
Like any transformation exercise, digital transformation needs to align to business vision, strategy, with the clarity of an implementation roadmap and a series of connected initiatives to achieve the goals.
A digital transformation project with no executive management commitment and support is the most common pitfall for organisations. Point solution implementation without the definition of a roadmap of connected initiatives. It requires leadership buy-in and working collaboratively with a range of key stakeholders.

Complement your capabilities

Assessing your digital capabilities is just the first stage. You then need a plan to get your project from where you are to where you need to be. As this is likely to be a large transformation programme, it is critically important that the project team keeps referring back to their original assessment and plan.
This will keep the team grounded throughout as to why they are going through the pain to get the organisation where it needs to be to advance the business in a world that has become increasingly mobile and progressively digital.

Front & back end

Any digital transformation should look to leverage your current IT investments and systems. If you only focus on digitising the front-end technologies without adequate consideration for the enablement and modernisation of your existing systems, you won’t leverage the full potential and benefits of the digital project.

Multi-functional buy-in

A fundamental review of all your business processes and capabilities is required with a view tooptimise them by leveraging digital technologies. Digital is all pervasive and not something led by IT or Marketing or independent business departments - more than ever it needs a multi-function team.
A multi-disciplinary approach is a prerequisite for a digital transformation initiative to be successful. Companies need to be careful that it does not creates silos & internal competition.

See also: 3 steps to futureproofing a business with digital transformation

Most companies tend to start small with pilots and proof of concepts. That is a good way of getting buy-in, however it needs to be aligned to an overall vison and roadmap.

In my experience if a digital transformation project lacks management or stakeholder buy-in and/or fails to adequately take into consideration its current IT landscape, then alarm bells should start ringing as these two factors are the most common cause of stress, delays and failed digital projects. And remember, timeframes for these types of projects also tend to shrink due to demands from the business.

Try to set a realistic timeframe rather than the timeframe that the business dictates and work with a digital partner that has the ability and agility to deliver what you need. Otherwise you are certain to set yourself up for failure.

Sourced from Isaac George, Senior VP and Regional Head, Happiest Minds UK