It is day break. From the view of my 36th floor hotel room, NYC looks a bit desolate and cold with snow scattered across the rooftops. I am here at the National Retail Federation’s 98th annual convention at the J.K. Javits Center. Retailers are amidst the most challenging environment experienced in decades. Macroeconomics, competitive and regulatory pressures, technology challenges, and conservative customers are among the many challenges facing the retail industry in 2009. Lee Scott, CEO,Wal-Mart, addressed over 3,000 retailers from around the world attending the event. He said " The next six months will be extraordinarily challenging. " It looks like winter will not end too soon.
To survive in this business climate, there is almost a mandate for adaptation to fundamental shifts in markets and consumer behavior and applying technology in new ways to drive growth and improve security all while reducing overall cost. Perhaps that is why there are so many retailers at this conference.
Our industry solutions team has been working on solutions that help retailers differentiate in the way they need to! ie: do more with less! On every continent, in practically every industry, IBM is helping organizations rethink the way the world works. Intelligent, dynamic infrastructures are key to staying competitive in today’s world. New services ( web channels, social networking, etc.) , new technologies (POS, global broadband, 3-D internet, Web 2.0, geo spatiality, etc.) , and converging operations & IT ( pervasive devices, RFID, business analytics, SOA) are among the way we help enable our customers. Fortunately our approach also addresses managing the integration of legacy systems, silo’ed business units, fragmented data, compliance and business regulations.
Our solution strategy provides an offering based on industry expertise and best practices. We provide a framework for transformation that can accelerate the deployment and integration of multiple retail solutions. Highlights of IBM’s Retail Integration Framework include: Integrated industry software platforms, pre-build solution accelerators, open standards, an ecosystem of business partner content, smart SOA foundation, and an information ‘agenda.’
In order for Retailers to deliver business services securely and efficiently, we provide the world’s leading service management capability. This capability includes visibility, control, and automation.
How can you manage what you can’t see? Our solution includes dashboards for business and IT events for monitoring the health of today’s multi-channel retailing business including the ability to drill down to underlying infrastructure. And we provide a single view for security, compliance, and governance.
Once you see it, you can control it! The ability to ensure secure transactions across multiple shopping channels while protecting data and customer privacy is key. Features include management of and access to information across the business.
Opportunities for automation are key to lowering cost and delivering a superior shopping experience. Problem determination and resolution, security, provisioning of new services and retail applications are a few examples of ways to really drive savings and productivity...for a little warmth this winter.