May 4, 2017
Selecting new technology | Who makes your decisions?
When it comes to selecting new technology for your business, who’s choosing what you implement? Maybe it’s IT, maybe it’s the treasury department, or maybe it’s the purchasing team. But without input from other key departments, you might not end up with the best technology choice for your organization.
According to Gartner’s Retail Technology Survey, 60 percent of retailers reported they would increase IT spending in 2016. They reported prioritizing the following technologies:
- EMV payment (50%)
- Social media analytics (46%)
- Product purchase history analysis (45%)
- Promotion optimization (45%)
- CRM/personalization (45%)
- Shopper tracking capability (43%)
- Multi-channel customer behavioral segmentation (43%)
- Mobile devices for associates and manager (42%)
- Inventory optimization (42%)
- Campaign analysis and forecasting (42%)
Are diverse teams of stakeholders in your organization looking at technologies like these in order to increase efficiency or improve customer experience? That would be the best case scenario – strategic implementation of necessary technologies that will improve your bottom line.
But lately, it seems it might not be working that way. In Metrics that Matter to Retail CXOs, a report developed based on findings from 169 retail executives by Retail TouchPoints, found 47 percent of these leaders cited IT issues as a key internal factor challenging business goals from being achieved in their company.
Often decisions are driven by purchasing or procurement departments, who know that a technology is end-of-life and are making a choice based primarily on pricing. Trouble strikes, though, when the new technology rolls out without proper instruction for stores on how to use it. Day-to-day operations suffer because the new system or device changes the procedure without the operations, loss prevention or treasury departments getting a chance to update their store manuals and processes.
An efficient, speedy approach to technology procurement is necessary, yes – but so is departmental buy-in. Without understanding of how each department has chosen and purchased technology implementations in the past, you’re potentially alienating and upsetting employees, disrupting their processes, and wasting your own money.
Boston Retail Partners’ report, Achieve Unified Commerce with the Right Technology, says that “retailers can no longer afford to operate from within silos, and must transform their organization, business processes and technology if they want to align with their customers.” Siloed information isn’t productive for any retailer that wants to succeed in today’s tough market – but integrating systems for a complete picture of the business is.
Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed for the Retail TouchPoints survey said they prefer to implement integrated solutions that allow standardization on a single solution, which will ultimately result in increased efficiency and visibility across the organization.
“Cross-functional collaboration is essential to delivering the consistent end-to-end brand experience that consumers demand, by ensuring all components of the organization are operating in sync,” says the report. “Because of this, C-level executives must become educated in new disciplines and projects that may have previously been considered outside their scope.”
It is imperative to understand the challenges your stores will face if a solution isn’t considered and accepted by all the interested departments. Otherwise, you risk creating costly inefficiency for your stores – and your business as a whole.