How ITOM Makes Retail Companies More Competitive in the Age of Automation

Automation is the future of retail. Learn more about how ITOM can give you the support your business needs.

GuidesFor Team

Retail companies are the first to embrace digital revolutions like online commercial platforms, and chances are their industry would always take the lead in any ‘smart’ development. To capture their target market, they must be where the customers are. According to 2016 statistics from Business 2 Community, these potential buyers are doing a lot of their product research and shopping on the internet with their mobile devices. About 92% browsed a lot of before deciding on the Christmas gift to send to loved ones. Another 47% picked and transacted a purchase through apps. And 93% confessed that the deal clincher is the retailer’s offer of free shipping of the product from the brick-and-mortar store to their home.

The Business Insider estimates that online shopping will grow from $385 billion to $632 billion from 2016 – 2020. Amazon is still the undisputed king of online retail; it shipped about 200 million items from third-party providers to their customers in the holiday season of 2016 alone.

No retail company will want to be left behind. However, the frenzy and excitement that all of us see on the surface – the web visits, the browsing of product categories, the participation in promos, the filling up of the virtual grocery card, the online payment, and the actual delivery — is made possible by a huge IT network that captures data, processes orders, validates payment, and oversees the delivery and acceptance of the package. It records financial statements and issues online receipts, tracks down package movement, monitors inventory, and logs complaints.

To succeed in the digital retail business, a retail company must not just have a robust IT infrastructure, but it must have a means to manage it through automation. This is where IT Operations Management (ITOM) comes in. BMC describes this solution as “the process of managing the day-to-day IT infrastructure including managing the provisioning, capacity, performance and availability of the computing, networking and application environment.”

IT Operations Management specialist Joe Hertvik categorizes its many tasks into three main sections: Computer Operations and the Help Desk; the Network Infrastructure; and the Management of Servers and Devices.

 

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Retailers will find these services that ITOM provides them as specifically advantageous to their objectives of growing their market, delivering on their service-level agreements, and performing agilely and efficiently in the online business landscape:

 

  • Automation will replace manual tasks done repetitively by manpower who can be given more productive assignments. The laborious documentation of inventory items and their calculation, the computation of each branch’s business costs and comparing it with the incoming sales, personal checking of how the machines and their solutions in each retail office are performing — ITOM can run their processes, monitor their progress, and arrest possible problems before they happen, at a fraction of the cost it would take to employ human staff to do them. The cost reduction and their eventual savings are vital for retail stores which are always on the lookout to optimize resources and minimize expenses.

 

  • The optimal performance of digital services. The failure of a company’s website to deliver according to customer expectations can drive business away. A slower downloading time will send a busy shopper to click on another online retail portal. The non-response of the virtual shopping cart or the credit card payment process can also trigger the same result. Inaccuracy of the digital tracking device in monitoring the progress of the package delivery can lead to consumer complaints.

 

ITOM will alert the IT manager of these system flaws and effect remediation before they escalate into full-blown crises. It will ensure smooth business continuity and an enjoyable user experience that will convince the customer to come back for repeat business.

 

  • Constant transparency of the applications, services, and users. Retail owners no longer wonder how their individual branches are faring because of the transparency and visibility that ITOM services offer. Apps will show them the level of performance of their different products and services, the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of their customers, the flow of revenue into the company coffers, and the updating of the record of items either being sent into the inventory or sold to the shoppers.

 

Automation is the future of retail, says The Co-operative News which also forecasts bipedal robots helping customers on the floor and self-driving cars delivering packages to their door. While that scenario may take a few more years (or decades) to arrive, the systematic integration of retail services into IT operations is increasing. It will continue to help retail companies ride the digital tidal wave, with ITOM as their steering wheel.

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

15 Unbelievable Holiday Mobile Commerce Statistics

Amazon had its best holiday season ever

Automation:  What does the future of retail look like?

BMC:  What Is IT Operations Management?

Joe Hertvik:  What Does IT Operations Management Do?

The Paradigm Shift in Enterprise IT Operations Management

Why monitoring needs to be reinvented