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7-Eleven, Inc. is a pioneer in edge-centric decision-making, a work practice that allows employees who are at the frontlines of an organization to have the information, the tools and the authority with which to make decisions and in some cases, to formulate strategy.
An international chain of convenience stores, 7-Eleven uses a global IT system that enables its store managers to evaluate data and make conscious, better-informed inventory decisions. Workers are empowered to collect and analyze data. They select inventory best suited for their local conditions. Sales associates are expected to formulate “sales forecasts” instead of simply placing “sales orders.” 7-Eleven is allowing employees to capitalize on their knowledge of local markets in order to generate additional revenue.
The Impact of Technology on the Future of Work: From Looking Digital to Being Digital
Over the next five years, new digital technologies promise to dramatically change work outcomes and work experiences for employees of all sorts across a wide array of industries. Companies that want to lead in the digital era must rethink the way they get work done.
Edge-centric decision-making is one of the work practices that will become much more prevalent among leading companies. It is a practice that enables employees to collect and analyze data with intelligent tools. 7-Eleven’s information systems are allowing the company to become increasingly digital by moving information, decision-making responsibility and innovation to the edge.
By implementing information systems in its stores around the world, 7-Eleven is giving store managers tools that allow them to have greater impact on local store performance. Their Retail Information System has improved collaboration between leadership and store managers, allowed employees to analyze customer activity instead of facilitating backroom tasks and provided greater insight on the popularity of products.
Masoud Loghmani is a senior manager with Accenture Technology Labs.
Robert J. Thomas, managing director of the Accenture Institute for High Performance, is the author of “Crucibles of Leadership” (Harvard Business Press, 2008) and “What Machines Can’t Do” (University of California Press, 1994).
Alex Kass, a senior research manager, currently leads the Digital Workforce Innovation Initiative in Accenture Technology Labs.
Ladan Davarzani is a research fellow with the Accenture Institute for High Performance.
June 19, 2014
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