What an incredible change we have witnessed in recent months, and nowhere more than in retail! Retailers who laid their digital tracks early have been better positioned to adapt – some even emerging stronger, capturing increased consumer spending and driving business growth.

Many of our clients executed a “responsible retail reset,” which means treating data as a strategic asset to drive decisions and allow retailers to be nimble regardless of the situation. Doing so successfully requires more than just digital transformation or executing a cloud strategy. Top of mind for many of our clients is how to leverage data differently, because previous models are no longer effective in the new normal we now face.

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Empowering retailers using data insights unlocked in the cloud

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Data as a strategic asset

When an organization uses data in a truly strategic way, stronger customer relationships drive competitive advantage and business growth. But how do you get there?

It all starts with a firm commitment from senior leadership. Business alignment is critical, so leaders need to be involved in making needed changes to how their people work and make decisions. It helps to establish a multi-year strategy that clearly identifies short and longer term goals.

Cloud technology is essential to manage data effectively at scale. We work with our clients to design a cloud strategy that takes advantage of real-time data analysis and greater access to data offered by the Microsoft Cloud. With 40 petabytes of data generated per hour by the retail industry, focusing on what really matters is only possible with the help of advanced machine learning and analytics tools like those Azure offers.

Intermarché, the third-largest grocery chain in France, made a strategic commitment to harnessing the power of data to build on its 15 percent market share. It set two very clear goals: to accelerate the pace of data transformation and to achieve two major strategic objectives – reveal operational efficiencies and create value for customers.

In close partnership with Accenture, Avanade, and Microsoft, Intermarché is driving a company-wide data transformation on Azure. Building the infrastructure to collect, mine and analyze data was just the first step. Developing effective actions from the insights gained and steadily transmitting them to stores and business employees was the tougher part of the journey. Doing so has allowed them to tailor product assortments to local consumer patterns and expectations.

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With an organization’s data in the cloud, it is readily available to those who can best use it to drive greater value. People can be empowered to have more meaningful interactions with their customers and create more agile, responsive supply chains

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Empower the workforce with data

With an organization’s data in the cloud, it is readily available to those who can best use it to drive greater value. People can be empowered to have more meaningful interactions with their customers and create more agile, responsive supply chains to meet customer demand at scale. What's that change going to look like?

Companies need to change how they operate, inside and out, and be mindful of the impact on people. The culture of the organization needs to change. New roles must be defined. Existing staff will need upskilling to take full advantage of the data.

At Intermarché, the first order of business was to build the right capabilities to collect, mine and analyze all of its data. In close partnership with the client and Microsoft, Accenture assembled a “data factory” team with seven new data roles. We worked with Intermarché to make these new roles easier for its people to understand and really human: Data security experts became "data guards;" those focused on data quality are "data healers;" data mining experts became “data detectives.” For each role, there was a representative from Accenture, Microsoft and Intermarché, working side by side to transition existing data into Azure, and produce understandable data and actionable insights for employees and store managers. Boot camps were established for employees to "demystify” data. These changes have helped the retailer mature in their use of data, becoming more data-driven as an organization.

The key to faster digital transformation

All retailers are pursuing digital transformation. As the industry navigates their reset, the question has become, “How can we go faster?” Creating a data strategy that leverages the cloud is key. Get senior leadership involved to help align migration and business strategies. And, be mindful of impact on the workforce.

Today, there is incredible opportunity at the intersection of retail and technology. Watch our conversation at Envision to learn more about putting data to work. We look forward to partnering with you to help accelerate your digital journey and enable you to build agility and resilience for today and the future.

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Jill Standish

Senior Managing Director – Global Lead, Retail

Shelley Bransten

Corporate Vice President – Retail and Consumer Goods, Microsoft

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