Oliver Guy

Senior Director - Industry Solutions, Software AG

Specializing in industry strategy, digital transformation and omni-channel technology strategy, Oliver advises companies across the globe on their technology strategy and decisions.

Oliver is an industry strategy specialist with 20 years’ experience driving value for leading technology vendors and their customers across supply chain, operations, channels and digital transformation across all types of retail.
He is an innovative thought leader with a track record of collaboratively defining strategic go-to-market approaches and aligning solution capabilities to market needs to ensure solution relevance.

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Oliver Guy is Senior Director of Industry Solutions at Software AG. An advisor to companies and leaders seeking to innovate and compete more effectively, Oliver has significant experience in Digital Transformation and technology strategy. With over 25 years in technology Oliver has worked with the biggest names in retail and consumer goods across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. Deep experience in supply chain, omni-channel strategy and optimization enables Oliver to provide broad and creative insight on how data can drive incremental value through both optimization and transformation of the enterprise. Prior to joining Software AG, Oliver was part of the European Management team at Oracle Retail – his team being responsible for Retail focused Solution Consulting across Europe. Before that, Oliver worked for Infor in a Solution Consulting role. Oliver started his career in the technology industry implementing Supply Chain Optimization solutions for customers in retail, consumer goods, telecommunications and chemical industries in Europe and Asia Pacific for Manugistics (Blue Yonder).
  • Posted on: 10/13/2021

    Will ‘hyperautomation’ determine retailing success from this point forward?

    Hyperautomation is much bigger than supply chain - it spans and offers huge potential in merchandising as well. Another factor to think about is that organizations are more likely to apply a specific example of hyperautomation (RPA or AI) discretely to focus on specific areas rather than looking at hyperautomation across the whole organization. What is key is to be able to identify the "low hanging fruit" - the processes that can be automated fastest while providing the largest benefit.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2021

    Stores? Kroger don’t need no stinking stores

    Kroger's work with Ocado is clearly going to help them. Ocado have proven their approach under their own brand in the UK and are now white-labelling it globally. It is likely that Ocado will want to offer it to other grocers - although the commercial terms may prevent them from doing this for a time depending on how Kroger negotiated. Other retailers may well look at other providers or combinations thereof - there are multiple examples of niche vendors appearing in the automated picking and micro-fulfillment area.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2021

    How should retailers communicate supply chain snafus?

    A little knowledge can be dangerous. Over the past few days, parts of the UK media have run headlines about shortages and panic buying supposedly taking place in the UK grocery sector - illustrated by shoppers queuing outside a branch of Costco (normal for a Saturday morning) and a consumer leaving Costco with a cart full of toilet paper (the smallest pack size available in Costco). Some might consider this "fake news" but the reality is that it could well influence consumer behavior and create panic buying. Providing information regarding reasons behind any delays or stock-outs could potentially be misunderstood or misrepresented by the media, drive panic buying and make any issues worse.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2021

    Mobile retail aspires to attain food truck-like popularity

    This is a superb way to do pop-up retail in a consistent and adaptable manner but there are a number of flaws that could get in the way. One area could well be environment - trucks of this kind outside tend to be exposed to inclement weather making things challenging for consumers. Another approach to this kind of pop-up approach could be what Situ Live are doing in London - acting as an aggregator for brands who want to have a physical presence for a limited time - but the presence is in an experience led store environment that represents multiple brands at once and changes every few weeks creating a reason for consumers to keep visiting.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2021

    Is consumer-direct less profitable for brands than selling wholesale?

    Going DTC clearly has a learning curve. These brands do not have the prior experience of selling and distributing single items to end-consumers and are not able to benefit from the economies of scale that they have selling larger volumes wholesale. From a consumer purchase perspective there is also the lack of aggregation - for example if a consumer is buying three items at once with different brands a retailer acts as an aggregator - one order, several items processed and shipped together. If the consumer buys the items from the brand owners there are three separate orders with associated costs in terms of processing and distribution.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2021

    Amazon asks, why wait for Black Friday when you can get Christmas deals today?

    This is an interesting one - certainly from this side of the pond. Black Friday has established itself over the past few years in the UK and Europe after having been pretty much unheard of 10 years ago. Every year, retailers struggled to cope - with website demand, in-store demand or fulfilling what was needed. The opportunity to "spread the demand" was taken and it became Black Friday weekend and Black Friday week in some quarters - but what Amazon are proposing spreads the load out even further. Given the global supply chain challenges this may well be a tactic to help Amazon cope - others may well follow.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2021

    Where are the weak points in in-store fulfillment?

    One key area that could well be overlooked is the people element. The variety of tasks undertaken by store associates has never been larger and as these approaches expand will keep getting bigger. RSR produced some research last year that I recall reading suggesting that more than 50 percent of customer facing staff do not feel well equipped to deliver against the brand promise of the retailer they represent. Providing them with the right level of training along with technology assistance -- in terms of procedural help -- has to become a priority. I have seen this starting already at a few major grocery operations where the overall business model is represented in a software modelling approach all the way down to procedural instructions for store associates to expedite processes and ensure absolute consistency in terms of approach. This way the quality, consistency and the efficiency of the in-store operations are maintained across the brand.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2021

    Will Walmart’s latest test ‘pave the way for autonomous delivery’?

    This makes sense for both sides. Walmart potentially gets ahead of the competition when it comes to autonomous delivery but for Ford it offers a form of test bed for their technology to prove it at scale while also building credibility in the eyes of consumers. This credibility can then be used to sell autonomous offerings to other organizations. As the bar of grocery related convenience continues to rise, Walmart are potentially getting very much ahead of the curve.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2021

    Online grocery shopping is pretty much all about convenience

    Customers don't see channels - they see brands, therefore creating a harmonized experience and eliminating friction is critical. Convenience can be considered another term for friction-free and taking away pain or time consumed as part of the shopping process is time consumers can use for more enjoyable activities. Delivery and pick-up are table stakes for grocers now. The next stage could well be focused on offering easy change between the two fulfillment approaches but also reducing the friction, and time spent actually compiling an order. In-kitchen barcode scanners could help to put items that are close to empty on the order but also innovations such as scanning a recipe from a book and adding ingredients to the order could well be appreciated by consumers.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2021

    Will gym equipment showrooms pump up Hy-Vee’s supermarket sales?

    Putting large equipment in locations easy for customers to access makes a lot of sense as trying before purchasing is something highly valued by customers. Putting this in a grocery store is interesting as it offers the space to be able to show equipment off in a decent amount of space. I have often wondered why fitness equipment makers do not exhibit in this way - or perhaps using pop-up store type approaches in malls and other environments.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2021

    Will the Kroger/Instacart deal redefine grocery shopping convenience in America?

    Great move from Kroger partnering in this way. This is a great example of a traditional retailer matching - or perhaps surpassing - the proposition Amazon offers. It would be interesting to see if there is any form of exclusivity in the agreement - will Instacart want to offer similar services to Kroger's competitors? Equally it could provide the potential for Amazon to offer a competitive white-labeled service for other grocers. Definitely one to watch as it redefines convenience.
  • Posted on: 09/09/2021

    Will Just Walk Out tech work for Whole Foods?

    Amazon's approach of scaling within Whole Foods as a full-sized supermarket makes sense as a way of being able to prove and position with other customers. I would suggest that the biggest areas of limitation are fresh produce sold by weight - dealing with this without adding additional packaging could well be difficult. Queuing is by far the biggest pain with in-store shopping therefore technology that eliminates this is critical. Self-scanners are a great way to help this but still have a point of friction as you exit the store. Just Walk Out seems to be the most logical approach as it completely eliminates that.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2021

    Higher wages can boost retailers’ bottom lines

    Fascinating subject. There is logic that suggests that higher wages - especially if projected to be a longer term issue - could lead to more investment in technology and automation. Retailers who are worried about this really ought to be looking at what investments are needed going forward in order to compensate. We already see this in quick-service restaurants such as McDonald's who have replaced order takers with touch screens.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2021

    Why can’t CMOs And CIOs just get along?

    Some years ago I read predictions that Martech investment would mean that a CMO had more tech spend than a CIO - so the current situation should not be a surprise. The bigger issue is that this is something that will move into other areas too as technology expands - customer service, supply chain, finance. All areas where technology is likely to play a bigger part in the coming years. The approach taken in terms of partnership between CIO and CMO will need to act as a template for others. Blended technology and business teams with shared goals and measures are likely to be a great start, building empathy between both parts of the organization in terms of possibilities and restrictions.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2021

    Why does Amazon want a branded TV?

    This will be an interesting one to watch. An Apple branded television has been rumored for many years - with many disappointed. It could well be that Amazon sees the TV market as too competitive to warrant a premium product. Therefore it is likely that Amazon will go after the lower end of the market and it will be a way to get their content (perhaps they will bundle with a Prime subscription?) into homes but also then incorporate contextual advertisements into content allowing watchers to tell Alexa to buy.

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