Best CIO conversation I had recently went like this: “In retail, we have a new problem. The kids working in our stores are tech-savvy. They can’t believe how far behind our stores are. That’s not cool. What can we do about it?”
Thankfully, Solution Management at SAP and our partners have some answers. My side of the conversation went like this: “The kids all have smartphones, they expect a consumer-grade user experience. Have you looked at SAP mobile applications for the store?”
From there, we talked about 3 applications, some of which are brand-new, that can help boost productivity. I said “I know you renovate your stores, but have you renovated the employee experience?”. Here’s what I shared:
SAP Retail Store Operations applications are available for the associate, and the manager of your stores. They’ll run on an iPhone, for example. The “kids” can look up anything they need to answer a customer question, and during quiet times, they can do inventory functions like receiving, goods movement, cycle counts, physical inventory. Add SAP Afaria to manage the device, and presto – the kids think you are cool again.
Well, maybe its not that simple. How about concentrating on restocking and replenishing the fast moving items you are likely to sell again? Talk about retail uncoolness! That’s the most boring tedious job in store… (I know, I used to do it). So, how about using the new SAP On-Shelf Availability that will alert you to fast-movers and potential out-of-shelf situations.
And yes, there’s a version for managers and associates. It’s a nice combo of geek-science to anticipate demand and a slick and easy app that’s way cool. Looks great on the iPad !
We then got talking about Mobile Point of Sale, and how our partners can bring it all together with solutions like mobile POS or custom-built apps like what Hobby Lobby did with the SAP Mobile Platform (formerly Sybase Unwired Platform) and SAP Afaria.
Great, now we’re in the 21st century with some “sick” apps and a “phat” suite of tools for productivity.
So that CIO conversation went like this – CIO says “Colin you’ll never be cool, but those apps look great”. I say “But here’s the key point – instead of taking time to train the kids on the technology, now your people can spend their precious labour and training money on teaching them how to sell !”
Agreement there, and it looks like SAP makes you look cool and save money at the same time. (And I’m still not hip, but better get working on my image).