In Bill McDermott’s opening SAPPHIRE NOW keynote on Monday, he stated that every business today is in a state of transformation.  With data as the foundation for every digital enterprise, we need to create the “simple business”  by being data-driven and seamless (see Bill’s SAPPHIRE highlight video).

Against this backdrop, Lori Mitchell-Keller, SVP and Head of Global Retail IBU, shared her thoughts on what it takes to Run Simple for Retailers.  It all starts with the expectations of the always on, connected consumers of today. Today’s consumers rule and have moved way beyond the old mantra of right product in the right place at the right time;  those are table stakes. Today’s customers are clamoring for a simple, personalized, and compelling shopper experience.

These heightened expectations create real challenges for retailers of all sizes and all geographies. In general, retailers have approached their business from a product perspective and now need to massively shift to a consumer-centric approach to guide all that they do.  They need to bring consumer empathy into the equation – where leadership and learning come together to vision new possibilities for the business.  It is essential that retailers create the systems and architecture to really understand a shopper’s footprint across all interaction points and in the right context. And in the age of digitization, a customer’s activities in a physical store are captured in data and immediately digitized as part of that overall footprint.  From an execution perspective, retailers have the opportunity to bring all that data together so they can overcome disjointed supply chains, existing data silos, and the built-in information latency that wreak havoc on efficient operations, sound business decisions, and eventually on how effectively they engage the shopper.

That is certainly a tall order, but retailers can not only address these challenges today, but must forge ahead with this opportunity to differentiate their brand – and irrespective of their deployment option: on premise, in the cloud or both.  Truly, with SAP Retail, the business is reimagined.  Powered by SAP HANA real-time retailing across any channel, on any device, at any time is ready – here and now. Having a common real-time data platform is a necessary first step in that transformation.  With the SAP Customer Activity Repository (CAR), retailers can completely transform how they interact with customers, create  assortments, design promotions, and optimize their supply chain.  SAP CAR becomes the digital cornerstone for the retailing enterprise bringing together all sorts of customer, social, and product data to drive retail processes and forecast the future (check out this CAR 3-dayfree trial).  Retailers can execute on their brand promise as they innovate ‘internally’ by rethinking operations across the enterprise (and the network) and externally by reimagining the customer experience in real-time and with confidence.

Lori Mitchell-Keller’s interview at SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 in Orlando really speaks to the opportunity ahead in the most dynamic industry I know – Retail!

We are living in an epic moment that is truly transformative in retailing.  Retailers are looking for new solutions that solve the complexity they face in addressing rising consumer expectations for integrated, digital and seamless experiences. By integrating proven world class core back office processes with advanced customer engagement tools to deliver rich, relevant and consistent customer experiences across all points of interactions, SAP Retail helps retailers Run Simple by enabling them to think and act big yet run at the speed of the consumer.

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