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Name: John McDowall
Location: Redwood City, California, US

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Retail becoming more tech centric

I attended an event hosted by Sun Microsystems last week around retail technology. A part of the program was a presentation from Jeff Roster from Gartner. A significant part of his talk was devoted to how the retail industry is moving from techno-phobic to techno-centric, and he had a lot of information to back it up. A major piece of data was showing how more IT centric retailers would tend to dominate in terms of market growth

While I agree with the essence of his presentation, and I have seen the same, I think it needs to be framed in terms of results rather than just bit and bytes. What is happening is that the smart retailers are starting to use technolgoy to give them accurate numbers to run their business. It has started with Walmart and the supply chain and it is now moving to the demand (shopper facing) side of the business. While IT is great the key in the Information not the Technology part of IT. Retailers who empower IT to deliver accurate information and that the business side can act on are the ones that will succeed.

Actionable information is a critical measure of success, there is no point in knowing that store abc is losing shoppers or average basket size is declining if there is no processes in place to act on the data. A part of any information project is ensuring that there are levers to pull and knows to turn to change the information that is measured.


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