This blog is the third of a series on how retailers are addressing the challenges of becoming an omnichannel business. We’ve talked about how omnichannel selling is not really about rushing to invest in some whiz-bang technology – in fact, I think stores often try to do too much at one time.
Instead, a smart approach to your implementation is to find the low-hanging fruit – projects that have the highest probability of effectiveness and can be measured against business targets as a whole. Remember that every store has its niche, and one size does not fit all. By achieving rapid successes up front, you gain funding for the next piece of your strategy, building from success to success to achieve omnichannel entry.
For example, some retailers look at how to make it easier for shoppers to buy and return where they want. Stores don’t carry the same selections from region to region, and they need processes and systems to make such an approach successful. The key is inventory management: figuring out how to sell, reorder, and exchange products in stores that also serve as fulfillment centers.
Other retailers focus on building a strong relationship with shoppers through excellent customer service. For example, instead of picking up the red bat phone or having “Customer assistance on Aisle 3” called over the loudspeaker, consumers can contact remote experts on their own mobile device or through a kiosk. Still other stores may put resources into user interfaces, branding, and site useability. These personalized approaches also pay off in better information about the customer, allowing retailers to use video analytics and sensors to get help to the shopper faster.
To help stores define their best path forward, they often make use of “innovation platforms,” systems designed to allow you to quickly set up and try out new merchandising, practices, or seasonal locations. Innovation platforms let you experiment with capabilities that leverage organizational strengths, hitting on the cylinders you want to address. Each success helps build the business justification for the next stage, supported by your cost/benefit analyses, baselines, and measurements.
Let’s talk more about this at the NRF Big Idea Sessions, where I’ll be speaking on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2:00-3:00 ET, in Room 4. My topic is “Detect, Connect, Engage: Enhance your Customer Experience with Mobility,” and I’ll discuss how to personalize the mobility journey and new strategies for delivering a meaningful customer experience. Visit Cisco’s NRF website to learn more about these very popular seminars. As well, please take time to attend some of the demos in Cisco booth #1954. These include several technologies that fulfill the requirements discussed above.
The success of our industry and even our nation’s well-being are dependent on engaging students and developing the experts of the future in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). I am personally committed to STEM education initiatives, and want to share an exciting university that’s breaking new ground to lead the way and ensure students have a clear path to STEM careers. As the newest member of the State University System of Florida, Florida Polytechnic University is dedicated exclusively to STEM.
Within their College of Engineering and the College of Innovation and Technology, Florida Poly will offer six undergraduate degree programs and two Master degree programs. These include some really unique areas of concentration including Big Data Analytics, Cloud Virtualization, Health Informatics, Cyber Gaming, Information Assurance and Cyber Security, and even more.
Another unique aspect of this high-tech university is that they work closely with industry partners to ensure strong relevance to real-world needs. This will ensure graduates are learning the critical skills needed to join some very competitive workforces. In fact, all you have to do is check out the campus to be impressed:
If you are in Florida, check out the PolyPremiere – a campaign where Florida Poly is rolling out the purple carpet at movie theaters across the state to give potential students an in-depth look at Florida Poly’s campus, curriculum, culture and scholarships.
Where are your tech students looking for STEM degree opportunities?
Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:
Wow, winter seems to have taken hold early this year. Here in North Carolina, we are certainly seeing colder temperatures than normal this time of year. My dogs certainly seem to appreciate a warm spot on the couch more these past few days.
Even though temps are dropping outside, we are, of course, keeping the fires going here at Cisco. Even as we are heading toward the holiday season where we will all enjoy some time with friends and family, we still have a lot going on for partners. Here’s a little recap of the week!
Off the Top
As part of our Partner Voices series, we like to highlight the successes of our partners using Cisco products and services to solve customer issues. This week, we had the opportunity to speak with MCPc about a recent airport project they completed. Read More »
Cisco Live Milan is around the corner and I’m getting my session, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to onePK, ready for it’s European debut. While it’s lovely to be in the CiscoLive Distinguished Speaker Hall of Fame, putting a good presentation together hasn’t gotten any easier. The hard questions still need to be asked: Do I have too many slides? Have I crossed the line between technical and boring? Will the demos work? Will anyone laugh at my jokes?
And perhaps most importantly for this session: does anyone read Douglas Adams any more?
Here’s why. I borrowed the title of Douglas Adam’s iconic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for good reason. The original Hitchhiker’s Guide follows an ordinary guy, Arthur Dent, as he is unwillingly dragged into an intra-galactic adventure, with little more than the Guide, a pint of beer and a packet of peanuts to see him through. Faced with the vast and confusing world of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and programmability, network engineers are in a position to know exactly how Arthur Dent felt. New buzzwords, emerging standards, an abundance of marketing slides with vague but brightly colored blobs, and a lot of talk about programming languages can be disorienting to the best of us.
Notice that I did not call my session the Hitchhiker’s Guide to SDN. SDN calls for more of an Encyclopedia Galactica than a Hitchhiker’s Guide, if you know what I mean. Instead, my aim is to take a deep dive into one aspect of network programmability that network engineers can really relate to: onePK. Read More »
In the last chapter of our five part Big Data in Security series, expert Data Scientists Brennan Evans and Mahdi Namazifar join me to discuss their work on a cloud anti-phishing solution.
Phishing is a well-known historical threat. Essentially, it’s social engineering via email and it continues to be effective and potent. What is TRAC currently doing in this space to protect Cisco customers?
Brennan: One of the ways that we have traditionally confronted this threat is through third-party intelligence in the form of data feeds. The problem is that these social engineering attacks have a high time dependency. If we solely rely on feeds, we risk delivering data to our customers that may be stale so that solution isn’t terribly attractive. This complicates another issue with common approaches with a lot of the data sources out there: many attempt to enumerate the solution by listing compromised hosts and in practice each vendor seems to see just a small slice of the problem space, and as I just said, oftentimes it’s too late.
We have invested a lot of time in looking at how to avoid the problem of essentially being an intelligence redistributor and instead look at the problem firsthand using our own rich data sources -- both external and internal - and really develop a system that is more flexible, timely, and robust in the types of attacks it can address.
Mahdi: In principle, we have designed and built prototypes around Cisco’s next generation phishing detection solution. To address the requirements for both an effective and efficient phishing detection solution, our design is based on Big Data and machine learning. The Big Data technology allows us to dig into a tremendous amount of data that we have for this problem and extract predictive signals for the phishing problem. Machine learning algorithms, on the other hand, provide the means for using the predictive signals, captured from historical data, to build mathematical models for predicting the probability of a URL or other content being phishing.