It means making sure you are foundationally ready. There are so many ‘shiny objects’ in today’s technology arena like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and of course, advanced analytics. Every retailer is trying to get ahead—and in many cases just keep up or stay viable. It’s easy to get caught up in today’s retail whirlwind, but so many of our clients are simply not prepared for the fast lane and not taking the critical initial steps to truly assess if they are ready. This means not only having the necessary support systems in place, but also from an organizational perspective—the people and roles necessary for success.
It’s also important to have the foundational business processes in a good place. If the ‘simple’ things—basic retail block and tackle business activities like merchandise financial planning (MFP) or buying—are done differently in each area or the solutions are heavily customized, there is a significant risk in being able to do these well in an omnichannel world where everything is connected and customers expect seamless immediate experiences. It’s great to want analytics, but you need to have a place for the data to be housed and be utilized easily and across your entire business. Further, you need to have effective data governance in place. Otherwise, it’s just data…and potentially expensive data.