Workday Rising Europe Daily: Gathering as a Community in Milan

Welcome Workday community to Milan! Here’s a look at what’s already underway at the conference, including recaps from our Retail and Hospitality and our Financial Services and Insurance Summits on Tuesday at Workday Rising Europe.

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Thank you for joining us here at the Workday Rising Europe Daily! You’ll find news reports about what happened each day during Workday Rising in Milan, Nov. 12-14.

Today, you can read recaps of two industry summits we hosted—for retail and hospitality, and for financial services and insurance. You can also find a quick summary of the exciting Workday Innovation Keynote happening on Wednesday. 

Workday Rising Europe attendees arrive at the Milano Convention Centre.

Retail and Hospitality: Long Live the Retail Store

Retail is being disrupted by technology, but it’s being transformed by expectations. That was a big takeaway from Laurent Thoumine, managing director at Accenture and the company’s head of retail in Europe. He spoke on Tuesday during the Retail and Hospitality Industry Summit.

Retail is having a bit of an identity crisis—but it’s much more nuanced than simply physical stores versus e-commerce, Thoumine said. A good digital experience has become table stakes, and stores need to be as good as their online counterparts.

Yet physical stores and the emotion they create are still important to the shopping experience, and Thoumine shared some data from recent surveys to back this up:

  • Sixty-seven percent of e-commerce brands have opened a physical store.
  • In-store sales conversion is 30 percent higher compared to online.
  • Sixty percent of Gen Zs prefer in-store shopping to online.
Physical stores and the emotion they create are still important, said Laurent Thoumine from Accenture.

Thoumine closed his discussion by quoting Warby Parker Co-Founder Neil Blumenthal,  who has said, “Retail isn’t dead, but mediocre retail experiences are dead.” 

The summit also featured a panel of Workday customers in the retail and hospitality industries. Practice leads from Gategroup, PUMA, and Veepee discussed how Workday supports their digital transformation strategies and core values. 

For example, one speaker shared how Workday helps contribute to the company’s sustainability mission. With access to Workday, the company’s canteen manager gets a more accurate representation of the number of employees at headquarters on any given day. This helps him adjust food production and reduce food waste.

Another speaker explained that her company’s core values include transparency and respect. By adopting Workday, her organization has a system where information is immediately available and transparent for employees. Now, the technology employees use supports the values the company espouses.

Financial Services and Insurance: Is Your Organization Agile?

Success in financial services and insurance requires becoming more agile from an organizational perspective. That was the big takeaway from a customer panel at the Financial Services and Insurance Summit. Practice leads from Lloyds Banking Group, Man Group, and Rabobank shared how their firms are tackling digital transformation by focusing on speed and agility.

Panelists touched on challenges ranging from the need to recruit and retain talent, standardize and simplify systems and processes, and stay ahead of regulations. Having a single system can be a big help. As one speaker put it, “If you want to grow and move quickly, while remaining compliant, you need to have a global platform.”

Each speaker emphasized the need for digital transformation to encompass the entire organization. The customer-facing part of their businesses have always been extremely agile, they said, but internal teams such as finance and HR have sometimes been more traditional. They encouraged attendees to move away from monolithic, multi-year projects that sometimes fail to deliver, to more frequent, incremental improvements. That leads to more value being delivered into the hands of employees, which in turn helps recruit and retain the best talent, leading to a beneficial cycle for all. 

Workday Rising Europe attendees enjoying the Welcome Keynote.

Much More to Come

The day ended with a Welcome Keynote featuring Workday Co-President Chano Fernandez and Workday President EMEA Carolyn Horne, who provided attendees with the following tips: mix it up, connect with others, and have fun. With that, they handed over the stage to the very funny English comedian Michael McIntyre.

In our next issue of the Workday Rising Europe Daily, we’ll deliver a recap of our Workday Innovation Keynote, which takes place Wednesday morning. Our Co-Founder and CEO Aneel Bhusri, and other Workday leaders, will talk more about how having a single system to plan, execute, analyze, and extend, all powered by machine learning, opens up endless opportunities. They’ll also discuss exciting new offerings we’re delivering to customers to help them more quickly adapt to this changing world, utilizing the most innovative technologies. Stay tuned!

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