Retailers reap the benefits of cloud managed services and cognitive technologies for SAP

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retailers cloud managed hosting servicesThe wealth of experience IBM has in retail and SAP continues to help retailers create innovative, seamless customer experiences.

Here are two stories of companies who worked with IBM to stay ahead of the competition, as well as a brief discussion of new cognitive technologies designed to drive innovation in retail.

Footwear company transforms its IT environment with SAP HANA

In the wake of organizational changes, a footwear company had just two years to stand up an entirely new IT infrastructure before it could no longer use the platform of its former parent company. As part of this transformation, the company also decided to implement a new cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution to help increase flexibility and reduce costs.

The company worked with IBM to develop and implement an SAP HANA database to host a solution tailored specifically for the modern fashion industry. With four times as many HANA specialists as any other SAP partner, according to internal IBM data, IBM helped the company deploy a new solution to deliver enhanced visibility into the company’s entire manufacturing, wholesale and retail operations.

The cloud infrastructure, which hosts both SAP and non-SAP applications, was up and running in one year without any in-house technical support. This enables the company to reduce costs by eliminating the need for a data center while providing the agility to scale as needed and rapidly provision IT resources for new initiatives. With IBM managing the day-to-day maintenance of the cloud infrastructure, the company can focus on designing and selling quality footwear.

Home shopping retailer integrates back-office applications to boost digital presence

A home shopping retailer wanted to shift its business model from printed catalogues to online purchasing. To support this digital transformation, the company needed to better integrate its back-office applications for financial and retail processes, which were previously hosted on disparate systems.

The company migrated to a cloud-based core finance and procurement platform that could scale as needed to grow its fashion retail and consumer credit businesses while helping it meet regulatory requirements and streamline operations. A highly scalable cloud infrastructure helps the company manage the projected increase in online orders generated by its increased emphasis on the digital space.

The new solution also supports the company’s transformation to a multichannel business model, boosting brand awareness and profitability among new customers and in new geographies. This transformation is expected to boost sales revenue by millions of dollars.

Applying cognitive technologies to SAP environments

To take this insight even deeper, new artificial intelligence technologies are available to help you make faster, more informed decisions about your business.

For example, retailers can now apply SAP customer data to make natural language recommendations to online shoppers, replicating the experience of speaking with an in-store associate by using the Cognitive Commerce for Guided Selling solution. If you’re looking to improve demand forecasting and better predict supply chain disruptions, the Watson Supply Chain solution uses artificial intelligence to provide helpful insights into the risks and opportunities of your supply chain while also learning more about your business. Combined with the knowledge of IBM Global Business Services retail specialists and delivered in a managed cloud environment, these technologies can boost customer experiences, increasing sales while reducing costs.

To gain insight into six concerns when moving SAP workloads to a cloud environment, read the new whitepaper titled “Transform Your SAP Deployment with Cloud Managed Services.” You can also learn more about strategies for driving innovation in your business on the IBM Cloud Managed Services website.

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