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: 07/26/2021

    Should retailers continue the chatbot deception?

    It is critical to advise that customers are interacting with a machine -- customers are able to work this out for themselves. Trying to mislead just undermines trust. A similar approach appears on websites when viewing products or services with messages that inform the customer that someone else has just purchased this product. 90% of the time this information is false, it is easy to see this and it acts as distraction.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2021

    Has Ben & Jerry’s gone too far with its stand on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

    This is a highly complex issue. I did see reports that Unilever's share price dropped by 6% on the news. The timing was interesting -- close to the earnings call giving Unilever's CEO opportunity to explain the structure and B&J's ability to make their own decisions. There is a wider issue with these types of moves -- you are always likely to upset someone! I have seen criticism of Gillette for their approach to the subject of "toxic masculinity." Stepping into anything political -- deliberately or not -- can be really tricky. There was a case in 2020 where a famous UK tea brand was shown in a Tweet by a UK politician and what followed was threats of a boycott of the tea brand -- despite the fact they had not been the instigator of the Tweet. In this case, the tea company handled this by responding -- "Nothing to do with us – people of all political stripes like our brew.” A smart, and neutral response. One thing that is always a risk in the age of social media is the potential "casting" of political views on behalf of a brand by so-called "rogue" social media managers -- something seen in the UK in June this year when a new right-leaning TV channel was launched.
  • Posted on: 07/23/2021

    How will COVID-19 shape future consumers?

    A couple of years ago when they became one-third of the global population retailers were looking at Gen Z to determine future habits. However COVID-19 has changed perspectives and approaches forever. Generation Alpha will not remember life before COVID-19 so the “low touch” approach is really all they have ever known. Who knows how things will evolve in terms of general life (e.g. if we will ever shake hands the same way) but it can only have an impact and retailers need to consider that this future generation of economic buyers will have only ever known the post-COVID-19 way of doing things.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2021

    7-Eleven expands mobile checkout to thousands of U.S. stores

    With the right focus and staffing this could well be a really good "half-way house" as work on getting walk-out models working comes online. It certainly offers the opportunity to eliminate the customer friction of the queue without adding another - that being juggling a phone with your chosen items while you are self-scanning. Apple have been doing the mobile device based check-out for many years so it makes sense for it to move into places where customers really value speed and convenience.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2021

    When will predictive models become more predictable?

    My first work on retail forecasting was in 1994 using Fourier analysis within Manugistics for shower gels in UK supermarkets. Forecasting has become much more advanced since then - the power of computing being a major enabler. But advancement has created complications - for example choosing how best to forecast - not only what statistical technique to use but from where to apply seasonality and how to account for historical events. Then there are other factors like human faith in the forecast, the interaction of other merchandising factors - price, promotion, assortment, substitutions and so on. Source data remains a big challenge - and the pandemic impact certainly made people question the validity of historical data. Challenges still exist around forecasting. For example, where to forecast - in the past you had to forecast at the POINT OF TRANSACTION - historically this was store level because that was the place where the stock existed and demand manifested itself. Along came e-commerce and you had something much bigger from a transaction perspective. Today is different - you need to forecast for the POINT OF POSSESSION - the location or channel where the consumer actually takes possession of the item - otherwise you cannot plan optimal inventory placement. This is a great subject worthy of discussion.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2021

    Can a Tesco exec school Amazon on physical retail?

    This appointment shows just how serious Amazon is about physical retail. Tesco have an incredible retail reputation for running exemplary physical retail operations. Given Mr Hoggett's tenure his experience will not be limited to grocery - it will cover all types of merchandise in multiple geographies. This is a big deal for Amazon and they are in good hands.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2021

    Target and Chipotle are watching TikTok video resumes to find workers

    Very interesting. Given that CVs are read by computer it could well become the case that these videos could also, in due time, be watched and interpreted by AI. This will become necessary if volumes increase substantially and the platform is deemed successful.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2021

    Are independent grocers thriving?

    Independents and locally focused grocers could do well in the near future because they have the potential of providing an overall experience that is more localized and personalized than larger organizations might be able to. Local insight and knowledge as well as an improved ability to be more friendly with customers could have a positive impact here.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2021

    Has Lego built an unforgettable retail experience for kids and adults?

    Toys "R" Us made a key error. They did not convert their huge stores into play and experience centers. Lego realizes that and are taking full control of their own brand with superb experience and play driven stores. Lego's product portfolio has moved well beyond "play" to include items that are suitable as ornaments for display in the home. Some of these products align to passions of adults - complex models of luxury vehicles, sports stadiums, landmarks and artworks are all great examples. "Showrooming" these in an experience driven location is a superb way to position the diversity of products with both children and adults.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2021

    Tractor Supply gets Millennials who say goodbye to city life

    I love this. Tractor Supply are really grasping the very difficult challenge of addressing the requirements of a demanding demographic. Their agility, energy, approach and can-do attitude is what makes them different and why they are continuing to win applause from so many quarters.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2021

    Can AI solve e-grocery’s erratic out-of-stock substitutions?

    Fascinating. I question whether the "real-time customer approval" of the substitution can actually work in practice because on-shelf availability can change so much - is the picker going to wait by the shelf until the customer has approved the substitute? Unlikely. As a shopper, one of the biggest issues I have seen in this area is being prevented from choosing a given grocery item at selection time based on in-store availability at that time of order rather than projected availability at the time the order will be picked. Providing visibility of what is in transit from a DC or supplier is a key ingredient to fix this before AI can have an impact. In terms of providing recommendations of substitutes, using AI makes sense in terms of driving consistency in approach. While the video talks about 100+ factors involved in making the recommendation, it would be fascinating to understand how deep these go - for example is the wider basket considered, as that could well influence what is and what is not an appropriate substitution.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2021

    Are refillable containers the next big CPG thing?

    I absolutely love this but it is not a new idea. As a child the milkman delivering milk in re-usable glass bottles was a usual sight (last year Mrs. Guy decided we would return to using a milkman); there was a 10 pence return on lemonade bottles. There was also a chain of stores where you bought product out of bulk containers by weight in your own containers. Some high-end retailers (Waitrose supermarket and specialist farm shops) have brought this concept back in the past five years or so and it is good to see it being embraced more widely. There has been a lot of talk about plastics and waste - at some stage there may be government legislation/taxation - it could be that some retailers can see the writing on the wall. At the same time, ensuring freshness and balancing protecting product from waste/loss needs to be considered.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2021

    Is it time for mainstream retail to go all-in on the resale market?

    Being cautious is not a surprise. It is a new area and processes, systems and approaches are not mature yet. Patagonia have done a super job of providing used product on their website - cataloguing by year and condition. But this could well be a constraint for some retailers depending on how their product codings have been structured in the past. In some areas, well worn products are somewhat on-trend but this is not the case in every area. Consumers are known for being fickle so the worry that this could change might make retailers reluctant to venture into this area. Conversely, "doing the right thing for the planet" could well be a differentiatior and it potentially gives brands more control over how their product is positioned - versus platforms like eBay where consumers could be open to fake products.
  • Posted on: 06/18/2021

    Retailers must centralize their data to thrive

    There is no doubt that COVID-19 has highlighted just how siloed retailers can be when it comes to their processes, systems and data. Meeting the ever increasing expectations of consumers in terms of providing a harmonized retail experience requires the free-flow of data. Data related to inventory, product, customer and orders is all critical. Market discussion relating to supply chain control towers leading toward an autonomous supply chain is futile until data silos are eliminated. Such initiatives are 100 percent reliant on the free flow of accurate, precise and timely data associated with inventory, orders, product and customers.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2021

    Amazon scales its Just Walk Out tech for a full-size grocery store

    Amazing. I wonder which existing grocers are considering using this. I would imagine some Whole Foods stores will get it to prove scale to potential customers - or perhaps a new format will appear from Amazon. I would imagine these will be commonplace within three years.

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