Data Is King in an Omnichannel World
At Workday Industry Insights EMEA, one thing was patently clear—the retailers that will thrive in an increasingly digital environment will be those that have made the shift to the cloud. That means organisations that can get to grips with data and analytics, while automating some of the processes that have historically held them back. Retailers must get a single view of customer and employee data and better manage how they integrate the supply chain.
“I think that cloud is the great enabler of the digital shift. In many ways, I think the real winners of this pandemic have been the smaller, more agile brands,” said Deloitte’s Perkins. “Some of the larger ones have had to contend with legacy structures and the difficulty of simultaneously running that legacy structure and then scaling up microservices, cloud-based services, as they go.”
His colleague Bruce Jennings, partner in human capital consulting, Deloitte, UK, said: “There's certainly one thing I saw during this COVID-19 journey, and it was how Workday customers had an absolute advantage in terms of clarity and insight into the workforce that a lot of people didn't. And certainly those who are still on-premise are really struggling to get data on their people.”
Chris Shortt, group executive, information and technology at South African retailer Pick n Pay, discussed the importance of data transparency and democracy, and how his organisation benefited from such approaches during the pandemic.
“With data, what businesses have historically seen is a bit of a power base and people holding onto information. During the pandemic, one thing that’s become very clear is the importance of having open and transparent access to data to get to a place of collaborative decision making,” he said. “It’s important that people can question the integrity of data and you get feedback to say, ‘Hang on a minute. That data is not correct.’ Whereas before it was sort of locked up in a back-end system and people didn't really know whether it was right or wrong.”
As an online-only supermarket, Dutch retailer Picnic is, unsurprisingly, ahead of the curve when it comes to customer-facing digital experience, but Ewout Brouwers, the organisation’s financial lead, discussed how the business also uses data to understand working patterns and ensure it can resource correctly.
“Our workforce, especially the people who collect the groceries for the customers from the shelves, plan their own shifts. For example, we know from our data that demand is high on Monday, so we offer to pay more on that day, not on a Sunday as some companies do, in a traditional Christian calendar sense. This data helps provide a better and fairer reflection of the labour market of today,” he said.