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Accenture research reveals seven key technology trends that can help consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies create sustainable value and respond to current business challenges.
Every business is now a digital business, with information technology a primary driver of market differentiation, business growth and profitability. In particular, CPG executives need a ‘digital mindset’ that reflects where consumers are going with personal technology, as well as a commitment to leverage technology to achieve operating excellence and marketplace success.
Given the industry drivers, four of the trends we have identified are especially relevant for CPG companies— Relationships at Scale, Design for Analytics, Data Velocity and Beyond the Cloud.
Technology-based business enablers such as social media and digital marketing present CPG companies with more opportunities than ever to listen to and engage with consumers, and understand better what they want and why.
Harnessing technology is critical to creating high-performance business operations and chains of suppliers and distributors to respond quickly and cost effectively to evolving consumer needs.
Technology can play a big role in helping CPG companies overcome several challenges, such as understanding the changing demographics in mature markets, reaching consumers in emerging markets and managing the complexity of multichannel commerce.
We identified seven key technology trends CPG companies can exploit to create sustainable value, and respond to current challenges cost effectively.
Our experience shows that these trends are relevant to our CPG clients. As summarized here, each can help CPG companies achieve operational excellence and market success.
Relationships at scale: CPG companies need to move beyond transactions to digital relationships. For instance, Catalina is using consumers’ in-store location, determined by the product QR codes scanned, along with consumers’ profiles, to generate offers as they shop for groceries.
Design for analytics: CPG companies must change the way applications are built, configured and updated to add data collection as a new set of requirement within the development process to achieve accurate customer or channel insights. For example, Netflix tracks how customers interact with on-demand film downloads—when they pause and what scenes they watch multiple times.
Data velocity: CPG companies need to increase the pace at which data can be gathered, sorted and analyzed to produce actionable insights. P&G, for example, is investing in virtual war rooms where professionals meet in person or via video conferencing and have access to data to solve problems immediately.
Seamless collaboration: Consumer goods companies must make social networks part of the fabric of their enterprises to enhance productivity, facilitate exchange of ideas and information, and breathe new life into collaboration.
Software-defined networking: CPG companies need to integrate data from multiple sources throughout the value chain and analyze it appropriately. Software-defined networking can increase the flexibility of the business and IT teams by replacing a rigid network of mutually dependent switches and interfaces with a dynamic environment.
Active defense: CPG companies must adopt a more active, risk-based approach to security management—one that embeds analytics-driven event detection and reflex-like incident response. Active defense technologies can help companies assess the risk of security threats and respond appropriately.
Beyond the cloud: CPG companies need to realize that cloud-based solutions have a lot to offer and can help them power core processes and differentiate their business. For example, CPG companies can use cloud services to encourage shoppers to gather data about product displays that companies cannot get from retailers—information that was once gathered by CPG sales forces.
In summary, maximizing the use of the emerging technologies will help consumer goods companies achieve their strategic business goals such as reaching emerging markets, launching and refining brand strategies quickly to win the war in the store, and managing margins tightly in an era of commodity volatility.
CPG companies must continue to build a digital mindset, which will enable them to anticipate and respond to ongoing technology-driven disruptions while building a competitive differentiation.
March 12, 2013
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