Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the leading IT services, consulting, and business solutions organization is sending out an urgent signal to retail IT to speed up and simplify, or be overwhelmed by the competition. In the seventh edition of the TCS retail industry-focused report, Forum, the company predicts that the retail industry is expected to change much more over the next five years than it has done in the last 50 years – largely in the advent of digitalization.
The change is coming from two directions: First, the industry itself with the recent emergence of “born digital” companies, challenging traditional retail models by setting a high bar for customer experience and engagement. Secondly, pressure also comes from customers, with millennials and Generation Z consumers with increasing influence and purchasing power demanding an omni-channel retail environment. Millennials carry their mobile phone everywhere and want mobile coupon scanning capabilities and having to print out coupons prior to shopping is a deal-breaker. In other words, if they get to the store and are not able to use their coupon – they walk out. A survey shows that 68 percent of all millennials demand an integrated and seamless shopping experience regardless of the channel.
Among other recommendations, the report urges consolidation and rationalization of applications, systems, and data centers, legacy modernization, unification of the operating environment, Cloud and Open Source adoption, tools rationalization and neural automation.
"Creating the omni-channel retail experience is a very complex orchestration of different processes and technologies. This includes real time targeted marketing, golden customer records, marketing automation, data privacy and my data, capturing consumer behavior online and offline. Mobility, both in-store and outside of stores and not least the internet of things.” Explains Nordic Head of Digital Transformation Tommi Mäkinen at TCS, who continues: “Looking to the near future, however, we see neural automation as one of the key drivers to solve retail, and indeed other industry’s’ IT challenges by helping the move from ‘doing things better’ to ‘doing better things’, and using it to accelerate human creativity and business value.”
In the move away from a people-centric to a technology-centric model, neural automation will be the key to accelerating decision making, and applying human creativity and ingenuity to more value-added and complex tasks, the report states.
For a look at the future of retail IT services and the challenges ahead, read the full report here