Cloud and AI seen fueling digital transformation
According to the “2019 Retail C-Suite Viewpoint Survey” conducted by Incisiv in collaboration with Microsoft for JDA Software, retail executives are hoping the cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) can guide the merging of online and offline experiences.
The survey of 221 c-level retail executives across multiple continents found respondents seeing the cloud having more than two times the impact on business agility compared to any other technology and is a key driver of the “Intelligent Enterprise” along with AI.
Seventy percent are using the cloud and 92 percent expect to be using the cloud by 2020. The top benefits from the cloud include the ability to adapt quickly to new business needs, 64 percent; faster time-to-market, 57 percent; and reduced cost of ownership (TCO), 53 percent. E-commerce and marketing lead the pack in utilizing cloud adoption while supply chain and store systems lagged.
Meanwhile, AI saw both the highest rate of current experimentation (pilots) and expected future adoption across the c-suite, with respondents planning a five-time increase in AI adoption over the next two years. Only 12 percent were found to be using AI/machine learning (ML) currently.
The top AI use-cases were seen as boosting promotional performance, 50 percent; sharpening inventory levels; also 50 percent; enhancing labor scheduling; 39 percent; personalizing product recommendations, 36 percent; advancing demand forecasting, 35 percent; and improving product assortment, 29 percent.
Both the AI and cloud are expected to help combat many of retail’s challenges relating to gaining a single or real-time view of inventory, integrating data from multiple sources and improving trust in data.
In a blog entry, ShiSh Shridhar, Microsoft’s global retail strategy director, said the explosion of data has enabled retailers to combine sales data with data sets that include demographics, weather, economic indicators, social media and more “to quickly determine the impact of external influencers on specific categories, SKUs and stores.”
He added, “The emergence of IoT and the resulting data has been another force that has enabled enhanced visibility about customer behavior and preferences. All this data forms the essential fuel for AI/ML.”
- New JDA Survey Finds Retail C-Suite Embracing Artificial Intelligence and Edge Technologies to Improve Customer Experience – JDA Software
- 2019 Retail C-Suite Viewpoint Survey – JDA Software
- 5 Answers Every Retailer Needs from Our Q&A with Microsoft’s Global Retail Strategy Director – JDA Software
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see AI and the cloud solving many of retail’s challenges around inventory visibility, unified commerce and underutilization of data? Where do you see the biggest near-term versus long-term benefits of the technologies?