PROFILE

Gib Bassett

Director, Solutions Marketing with Alteryx

Gib is a Solutions Marketing Director with Alteryx, where he is responsible for the retail, consumer goods, manufacturing and supply chain segments.

He has a BA in Public Relations from Purdue University and an MBA from DePaul University.

Connect with him on Twitter @gibbassett.

I work for Alteryx as Director of Solutions Marketing and Industry GTM, where I lead go to market for the retail and cpg industries, and supply chain solutions.
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  • Posted on: 06/20/2021

    Retailers must centralize their data to thrive

    Even being a data warehouse and platform advocate, I can't help but think it best to respond in this manner, especially in the era of cloud and the ability to scale up or down based on your requirements. Of course there are many elements critical to the needs of meeting customer demand, and having data, insights and operations aligned to anticipating and serving customers is among the most important. Retailers and all industries have been chasing the value behind centralized data for a very long time, but only those able to pair technology investment with greater organizational and process changes have been able to succeed. That’s because new insights and prescribed actions fall down when layered into faulty process models and old norms. Few retailers have appetites for large transformational data projects with uncertain benefits and timelines, so point solutions remain the status quo for many. These offer some value but won’t likely lead to best-in-class results and organizational change takes time and is difficult. Best advice would be to lead with goals for improvement tied to specific changes in processes first, then leverage the best technology to serve the objectives of the use case. Proving this out over the course of a series of projects might show justification for the scale value available from a centralized data effort. If not already, try to make this a pillar of digital transformation strategy.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2021

    How can retailers best navigate supply chain turbulence?

    The pandemic’s disruption on labor markets and impact on consumer behavior have the potential to cause a lot of pain for retailers focused solely on looking at this issue from a product supply perspective. First, retailers need to quickly understand if customers will predominately continue shopping online for the foreseeable future, or excitedly leave home to shop in person. So, immediate consumer and shopper insights. Having been at Macy’s two days ago on a Sunday, I can say the latter at least for my local store. Many retail workers no longer wish to hold these jobs and won’t return to them, meaning competition for scarce workers and higher labor costs that must be managed. This will certainly hit holiday season performance and margin. Second, retailers need to adapt whatever demand planning capabilities are in place to be more predictive, prescriptive and adaptive, to incorporate as many leading indicators as possible of shopper preferences and behaviors. That’s where things broke down in early 2020, causing so many furloughs, layoffs and bankruptcies. It’s now less about crisis adaptation, and more about leveling up to what’s expected of a modern high-performance retailer. A huge challenge is going to be balancing rising labor costs with increasing shipping and fulfillment costs, as expectations for same day or even intra-hour delivery become a real thing. My advice would be to ensure supply chain functions have a seat at the CX table, if not already, and everyone is armed with the best cross organizational customer and business insight possible.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2020

    Are retailers set up to scale the value of AI investments?

    Very good comments Oliver, I totally agree with the value of the use cases you cite here and the necessity of the real or right time technical requirements. I can't remember exactly but I think a company like Kroger perhaps with the support of 8451 does the things you describe. Even if I'm not recalling this example correctly, the solution scope and expertise necessary unless available truly turnkey and highly packaged, is arguably hard to justify as the initial use cases in a retailer's AI roadmap. The research and best practices I'm aware of suggest that the value of AI use cases must accrue and be recognized by executives as a means to fund ever higher value and possibly risker but more valuable use cases. I think this makes complete sense but the way most retailers think about data, IT, management and processes I fear flies in the face of what's needed to really achieve scale value of AI investments. I think most retailers interested in real time IoT enabled adjustments in price and promotion at the shelf must test what this buys them versus the current state to justify the project. To get there, a small market test done more manually, but leveraging ML to derive or leverage unrecognized factors, might prove the utility of a broader and real time architecture investment.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2020

    Are retailers set up to scale the value of AI investments?

    Very thoughtful comments Cynthia. You describe the bespoke "craft" data science-led use case path that few inexperienced leaders in any industry have time or the inclination to risk exploring. It's unfortunate given the potential opportunity and as you say, bringing the industry and business knowledge heat to solving the right problems can pay off. The flip side are the use case opportunities to accelerate AI projects within packaged software, which I happen to be familiar with. The best ones allow the retailer to tailor AI to their specific needs, and done right, allow the retailer and the associated business, technical and analytical teams to really learn in practice how AI use cases become reality and are different from how a process unfolds today - the skills, data, ethical considerations, governance issues, and technical architecture and integration requirements. Risk is lower, time to value faster, but if you don't manage these use cases as a group IMO and have a thoughtful strategy to expand upon win after win, then the retailer may never realize any significant value from AI investments, be they bespoke data science fueled or otherwise.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2020

    Are retailers set up to scale the value of AI investments?

    Thanks Craig, your wording here is exactly as I have described it as well -- balancing what you can do fast that has value via packaged means, while exploring cases that are maybe more complex and specific to your business such that you may need data science skills. The challenge I've observed is that use cases across these two scenarios tend to live in silos so there is no reconciliation of business value relative to priorities, resources and budgets. I think those that do however stand to get a chunk of that potential AI value reported by McKinsey.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2020

    Are retailers set up to scale the value of AI investments?

    Well said Kim. It would be great if there were an Executive Accelerator to get over the hurdle of understanding and trusting the potential, such that an Exec had the confidence to stick their head out a bit into an unfamiliar area.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2020

    Are retailers set up to scale the value of AI investments?

    Thanks Chuck - agree about data quality and foundation as important. What I have seen is too much of this data quality conversation confined in a small group, usually IT, without connection or direction from the business. This persists and over time unfortunately I am sure it hurts the company's performance and it struggles on many fronts with fewer resources due to COVID and general market headwinds.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2020

    Are retailers set up to scale the value of AI investments?

    Thanks Ananda. I think retailers are in a tough spot. On one hand as you say, there are many AI use cases used today but the value may not be the breakthrough execs expect or desire. The problem is that these use cases, IMO, were done in relative isolation and not part of a thoughtful plan for AI across the retail organization. There is some good research from Tom Davenport showing that the transformation value from AI for most companies in any industry, at their initial stages, comes from adding up the value of many use cases and leveraging these into successively more valuable and potentially more complex use cases that have massive value potential. If execs don't recognize and believe this, status quo results and unfortunately probably poor financial results too.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2020

    Are retailers set up to scale the value of AI investments?

    Agree about product recommendations, probably the #1 most talked about AI use case in retail, but also the least understood when it comes to what makes a great one, versus a less great one.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2020

    Are retailers set up to scale the value of AI investments?

    I also thought about the zero sum thing Dr. Needel, there are definitely winners at the expense of others when it comes to this value.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2020

    Are retailers set up to scale the value of AI investments?

    Well said Rodger, I agree!
  • Posted on: 11/09/2020

    AI poses a leadership test for business

    What AI represents to the retail business is a function of its challenges and the business outcomes potentially improved through intelligent automation. It is as simple as that to begin with, and so you need to land on the use cases most material for your business. So it's helpful to know what an AI use case looks like. Beyond that, there are considerations for prioritizing use cases, governance, ethics, oversight, technology products, technology architecture, data science, training, education, and re-skilling. It sounds big and scary, which is why I think so few retailers can articulate a vision for AI in their business. The easiest path I think is to view AI as an extension of the long-standing analytics function in your business and build out from there with an eye on maximizing the value of investments across technology, people and processes. I would not fixate on building models and deploying them versus purchasing tech products or services off the shelf. Instead, I would view these as part of one “whole” approach to leveraging data and intelligent automation across your business. In this way, you can home in on the business value achieved, while maximizing the learnings and developing reusable assets to scale AI into the future.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2020

    Bed Bath & Beyond CEO’s turnaround plan may just work

    Mr. Tritton's quote in this discussion signals what looks like a great plan structure, so if executed well things should continue to improve. Rather than focus on just digital, e-commerce and related omnichannel, he mentions the customer-inspired assortment. You can have all the greatest omnichannel this/that, but if your experience and offerings fail to connect or are not priced right then it's all wasted. It shows also the underlying inference here - that the omnichannel digital work and assortment decisions feed off one another based on the underlying data and analytics.
  • Posted on: 08/14/2020

    Build vs. buy: Is that still a question in retail IT?

    Seems to me that whether it’s building tech or building a storefront, you create unique things when it must be core to your value proposition – something your stakeholders highly value and associate only with you. You instead buy things that tend to be common among your peers, and tune these to your business needs around the edges of the core use case. The things you build uniquely, of course, must be architected to work smoothly with what you buy. You must have flexibility and interoperability. Easier said than than done, that's the point. Every retailer comes at this problem with different baggage and considerations. It requires leadership and frankly a great analytics capability. I'll bet there are few retailers who actually know factually what truly matters to their business such that they must build it themselves. Wouldn’t it be great to focus tech development investments on the edges of the core business processes that every retailer needs, tune them to meet the needs of your customers, and create new solutions that your customers appreciate, recognize and value as uniquely "you"?
  • Posted on: 04/27/2020

    Are Target’s skyrocketing online sales retail’s new normal?

    Going out on a limb here, but depending on how long it takes for a vaccine or proven treatment, I expect Target and other essential retailers with large square footage to shift at least half their space to shipping and fulfillment operations. I say this because you see lines of people outside waiting their turn to enter the store (this was yesterday, six feet a part). Metering the customers allowed in the store means less shopping space is required, and there will be customers who continue to shop in person. You can't easily sublease space to other businesses or open smaller footprint stores so you may as well re-design the space to support the new shopping experience.

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