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: 05/07/2021

    What digital tools can help manage increasingly disrupted supply chains?

    For the last 10 years I have been saying that inventory and supply chain visibility is the single biggest supply chain issue for retailers. Visibility is the enemy of low inventory/high availability. Data silos are the enemy of visibility. Visibility is foundational in that without it advanced planning, AI and machine learning are unlikely to deliver their potential. Investments that eliminate data silos to provide a consistent, real-time view of what is happening end-to-end are the single biggest benefit area for supply chain. This is not about "rip and replace" or adding in a new shiny AI driven supply chain planning solution (that may come later). This is about connecting the existing inventory and other supply chain data silos and leveraging in-memory caching technology to provide the realistic and real-time perspective. Delivering this requires universal connectivity that can rapidly and flexibly connect across different systems - irrespective of heritage, whether in the cloud or on-premises - in order to determine the real perspective. From there it can be deployed to where it is needed - the hands of planners, down-stream systems and other places in order to enable enhanced decision making that drives inventory down and availability up. Consumer and stakeholder expectations are at opposite sides of this paradigm - addressing this can deliver against both at the same time.
  • Posted on: 05/07/2021

    Walmart is going all in on 24/7/365 telehealth

    There are potentially huge synergies here. Given the correlations between what we eat and our health their is the opportunity (data protection laws allowing) for potential correlations and targeting of food promotions other small nudges to shoppers. Irrespective of this, there are other parallels between retail and healthcare - both can benefit hugely from understanding of data (example: Google tracking influenza across the country based on Google searches) but they are also both essential to consumers who need provisions at locations close to population centers. Walmart clearly can see the direction healthcare is heading and want a slice of the business.
  • Posted on: 05/05/2021

    Is the future of retail being cooked up in a lab?

    I love this. A real differentiation and way to focus on social and ethical perspectives. It takes the question away from needing to be asked by the consumer and consequently eliminates a potential objection to the sale. Being an early, if not first, mover in terms of using this is a huge boon - expect more of this from other retailers - we have already seen package reductions and other stances such as not buying from Brazil until rain forest destruction has been eliminated. Retailers are realizing that consumers are seeking to buy from retailers with similar values.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2021

    Will Americans open their garages and homes to Amazon and Walmart?

    While many are still working from home this could well be a great time to start this and effectively control the demand. The approach makes a lot of sense because if you are out the likelihood is your car is not in the garage so there is space. In-garage security cameras will give further reassurance to customers - for Amazon this will not be helpful when consumers are already invested in devices that compete with Ring such as Google Nest and others - consumers may not want multiple different security ecosystems in their homes. Someone like Google is hugely well equipped to provide a retailer an end-to-end service to enable this approach. Smart devices in-home are part of the picture but also real-time mapping and tracking of the delivery as well as universal connectivity are also needed.
  • Posted on: 04/23/2021

    Can retailers wait any longer for government to move on climate change?

    Like many other businesses the killer here is uncertainty. Governments of all kinds tend to procrastinate or make what seems to be "the right decision" without understanding the overall consequences. (Law of unintended consequences). Having a long-term view of how regulations might change would be hugely useful to long-term planning. Some organizations make a judgement on what they believe will be coming in the future - this may be something that factored into Amazon's commitment to buy 100,000 electric delivery vehicles. Consumer power is arguably much more powerful than a government could ever be. There is anecdotal evidence consumers are choosing companies based on the values they share and environmental impact is one of these. Based on this, examining consumer feelings could well be much more appropriate - with only minor tweaks required to meet government set legislation.
  • Posted on: 04/22/2021

    Are associates better than influencers for shopping livestreams?

    Love the idea of associates being advocates. Some will embrace it more -- and naturally be better at it -- than others, but it offers super possibilities. As the way in which retailers engage with customers changes to become more hybrid between channels -- sometimes in store, sometimes via video -- it seems only natural. It is an amazing way of a specific associate expanding their audience beyond the store. You can imagine someone coming into store and engaging with the associate based on what they saw live streamed. There are precedents for this -- Halifax Building Society in the UK used a branch associate called Howard Brown for 8 years in all their advertising. In my view, the approach shows a real human face to a company -- more so than an influencer ever could.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2021

    Are you ready for the retailer-as-service revolution?

    This approach makes a lot of sense in a number of situations - testing appetite in a given country, region or channel before expending large capital expense on new locations could be one such example. But also the very fact that different companies are better at different parts of the value chain could also be another reason. Thorntons are a U.K. chocolate manufacturer who recently closed all their stores after 100+ years with a view to selling through supermarkets. Some analysts commented that this was because their owner since 2015 - Ferrero - did not understand retail. In the eyes of some, they have actually had their premium eroded and had their market position as a retailer of premium chocolate take by new entrant - Hotel Chocolat. For Thorntons, outsourcing their retail operations to someone else could have been a better answer.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2021

    Are pop-up shops the answer to getting reluctant shoppers back into stores?

    I have long been an advocate of pop-up stores as a way to keep a retail venue "fresh" and encourage people to return and see what's new. In a similar way, discount grocers Aldi and Lidl have central aisles of non-food product that change from week to week to encourage customers to return. Combining that with advertisements to encourage people to visit and collaborating with mall/venue owners in planning would be very prudent.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2021

    What goes into delivering a ‘wow’ shopping experience?

    Stores are becoming multi-purpose - fulfillment, customer service and customer experience join the traditional approach as a shopping destination. A wow experience spans the entire journey and it gets more difficult every day - as soon as a customer has had a better experience their expectations increase. Being flexible and innovative enough to respond is difficult. But focus on this is essential.
  • Posted on: 04/15/2021

    Kroger says it will transform grocery e-commerce with ‘first of its kind’ fulfillment tech

    Fascinating area. Kroger has definitely stolen the march on many rivals with their investment in the Ocado platform. It should drive incredible efficiencies in terms of enabling home delivery. It would be interesting to see if there is any form of exclusivity agreement for a period of time because Ocado want to expand their business with more customers. For grocery rivals who want to compete with Kroger without also investing in the Ocado platform it becomes a very difficult choice: use a manual pick/dark store approach (will this scale?); attempt to build and fit together the technology needed to do this themselves (difficult as Ocado have spent 20 years building the platform); find an Ocado rival who has done it (Amazon are probably the closest but it is not clear if this is an option yet). I will be watching with interest.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2021

    Amazon’s Prime Day is coming earlier and possibly twice

    Unpredictability should keep competitors guessing if nothing else. This could well be part of the strategy but also it is likely Amazon have targets - like everyone else - in terms of margin and revenue so the timing of these events could be determined by that.
  • Posted on: 04/07/2021

    Will shelf scanning robots put an end to out-of-stocks?

    In terms of looking for shelf issues (stock-outs, planogram compliance) robots make a lot of sense - firstly they can relay a "restock now" signal immediately and the restock can be carried out while they are looking at other areas. Additionally they can be added to an existing store far more easily than smart shelves or other approaches that detect the amount of stock actually on a shelf.
  • Posted on: 04/07/2021

    Amazon goes shopping at the mall

    Large shopping centers/malls have a number of attributes that make them very appealing for evolving retail formats. Proximity to population centers, a great deal of space and good road access make them potentially very useful for online fulfillment, click and collect centers or even centers of experience based retail. Stores are a huge asset for any incumbent retailer and re-purposing stores to become fulfillment centers -- or even buying locations specifically for this purpose -- has huge potential.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2021

    Are remote controlled robots ready to deliver for grocers and drugstores?

    I love this and wonder if now really is the time for this to take off. The need for contactless delivery is new in the past 12 months so this could be a catalyst for big changes. There are some drawbacks however. They will likely work best in densely populated areas where there are footpaths/sidewalks available; direct to door delivery where steps are involved will be a challenge. Security is also a consideration - could they become targets for theft or damage?
  • Posted on: 03/24/2021

    Walmart uses brutal self-assessment in omnichannel turnaround strategy

    It is certainly a radical approach. Amazon are famed for writing press releases before creating a new offering - in some ways this is similar in that it creates a very high standard to reach. Glass suggests a need for transparency and that is what customers are seeking - customers' expectations are rising and it seems Walmart are accepting this as reality.

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