The retail industry is experiencing a metamorphosis thanks to online shopping. By establishing cyber storefronts, regional stores now have global reach and can increase sales exponentially with the help of online marketplaces. Digital transactions also have changed the customer relationship. Consumers are shopping for unique features, prices, and availability, without the need for the human touch of the in-store experience. To compete, retailers need to know every aspect of their organization’s data to adapt to changing trends – at any given moment. For retailers, IT and the business are coming together through digital transformation and organizations like ValueBlue.
Creating a Digital Transformation Strategy
Committing to digital transformation requires a well-conceived strategy and continuous evaluation and revision of processes. There are some clear digital retail trends to consider:
- Respond to changing customer needs. Changing consumer needs and expectations drive retail disruption. To remain relevant, retailers must be able to respond quickly, adapting business models to create new customer experiences. Digital transformation may call for new channels, services, products, or other innovations.
- Selling online is essential. Sixty-two percent of consumers shop online at least once per month, and one out of every five dollars comes from online retail purchases. The potential of online sales is too big to ignore, and for many retailers, selling online means implementing new backend business processes. Transitioning to hybrid selling (in-store and online) requires updating applications, workflows, and the enterprise landscape. You also need to create an agile enterprise architecture to accommodate growth. No small feat, but highly effective if done right.
- Embrace new technology. Legacy applications such as outdated inventory management and POS systems must be replaced to enable new sales channels. Applying application portfolio management (APM) as part of the enterprise architecture gives you control over the application landscape. Managing as well as acquiring new technology is essential. Using an APM solution shows you what applications are active, what data is needed, who uses that data, and what processes are performed.
Building an Enterprise Architecture for Retail
Many retailers use their enterprise architecture as the foundation for digital transformation. There is no standard blueprint for a retail enterprise architecture, and each organization must develop its own strategy. The complexity and scope of the strategy can be daunting, but BlueDolphin can help you get started. You and your IT team can use Blue Dolphin to define business goals, map business capabilities, share data, prioritize projects, and gain total control over your enterprise application portfolio.
Retailers also must reassess strategy periodically, manage uncertainty, and plan and implement changes. In e-commerce, attributes such as speed of delivery, innovation, rapid iteration, and “fail fast” are essential. Using collaborative tools such as BlueDolphin makes it easier to apply an agile approach to implementation that takes all departments and stakeholders into consideration.
It is probable that many of the processes scheduled for digitization already exist in some form, so you don’t have to start from scratch. Reusing applications, tools, and processes helps turn small steps into major strides when it comes to digitization. You also can use low-code / no-code apps and microservices to create reusable components using a drag-and-drop interface. Such solutions make it easier for business managers and process stakeholders to develop new processes with less effort.
Keeping the Enterprise Strategy Up to Date
Understanding the state of your current enterprise architecture is essential before you can plan for the future. Keeping that architecture up to date helps identify the best path, allocate resources accordingly, and collaboration provides insight into best practices, applications, and processes that need to be improved or are missing.
Instead of relying on individual departments to maintain individual strategies, creating an overview for the entire organization is more efficient. Maintaining a collaborative enterprise architecture is the best way to gather information directly from those closest to the business processes and who understand what is needed. Gathering information from stakeholders and creating a centralized view makes it easier to align organizational strategies and objectives.
The enterprise architecture is where business managers and IT come together. Here, digital landscapes can be analyzed, and aligned with the organizational objectives, and dependencies and potential roadblocks are identified. A centralized enterprise architecture perspective is especially valuable in planning projects with long lead times. With a better understanding of long-range strategies, enterprise architects can break apart a complex transformation agenda into smaller components and prioritize business-critical projects.
Once you have indexed business capabilities, processes, and applications, you can implement digital transformation through harmonious, digital-led processes. Using BlueDolphin to provide a comprehensive overview of operations, you can bring stakeholders and enterprise architects together to make the best decisions, achieving business objectives and facilitating growth. Embracing digital transformation using tools such as BlueDolphin to bring business, IT, and data together will prepare your retail operation for whatever changes are on the horizon.