Digital Transformation in the Retail Industry

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Torrey Jones, Principal Consultant

Digital transformation is a journey, not an overnight accomplishment. Constant change is inevitable. Minimizing disruption and/or completely eliminating disruption is the newest requirement for any digital transformation effort. Imagine a situation where you have thousands of devices going through a technology refresh for whatever reason. Then, add in the complication that these devices are spread across a regional geographic area at independent retail locations, each with their own internet connectivity standards.

This scenario is not only one to imagine, but is a real struggle for many enterprises, especially large-scale brick-and-mortar enterprises. The challenges include coordination, travel time, the install/move/add/change process, and the range of technical expertise needed on-site to install the new equipment. Of course, each location needs to have a special configuration to uniquely identify itself, as well as having a standard configuration. Lastly, the initiative needs to disrupt each location as little as possible.

Let's think this out a little bit. If the installation engineer is using “manual” configuration, one engineer needs four hours on-site to remove the old device and install/configure the new device by hand. The installation engineer also needs time to travel from location to location, so at best this engineer is performing two or three device refreshes per day if all goes well.  However, if things don’t go as planned and timelines slip, the engineer is suddenly behind on a schedule that he has no control over. Many organizations may be okay with that; a four-hour disruption per location for this effort seems reasonable by yesterday's standards.

Does that have to be acceptable? Of course not!

Remember, minimizing or even completely eliminating disruption is the newest requirement for any digital transformation effort.

There are several technologies that will need to be involved in providing an automation-based solution, namely:

  • Service Management will need to be able to track the IMAC process, updating the CMDB, possibly the location, etc.
  • Self Service Portal (ideal through a mobile application) to allow the traveling/onsite engineer to initiate the process of the device replacement quickly and easily
  • Orchestration mechanism to ensure that all parts/pieces are synchronized, and automated tasks are initiated in the proper timeline/order/etc. Also needs to be able to handle “error” situations.
  • Task automation to perform individual automated tasks

Leveraging the above group of technologies, an automation-based solution could reduce on-site time to be a few minutes as opposed to hours, allowing the engineer to potentially perform more than 10 device refreshes per day (travel time of course needs to be considered).

This represents an acceleration of delivery rates by at least five-fold!

This also means the customer experiences 15 minutes or less of downtime per location (a 93% reduction in site downtime).

To find out more about how GreenLight can help your nterprise recognize these kinds of digital transformations, reach out to our experts below, or call us at (877) 847-4655 today.
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