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Batman, TrustSec, and PCI

One of my passions is around PCI compliance. I know that sounds oxymoronic. How can someone actually be passionate about something as dry as compliance? Well, for the sake of argument, I prefer delusional rationalization. I think of myself as Batman! I don’t have his intelligence, money, car, or cape (well, I do have the cape, but that is another story), but I DO want to fight injustice where I can. I do think that there are bad guys out there trying to steal my family’s hard earned money. PCI compliance is the leading method for securing the world’s payment systems. The bad guys are real, security is getting harder, and I want to fight on the side of good.

The problem with fighting crime with compliance is that it can be so complex. The general strategy to minimize the complexity of PCI compliance is to use segmentation. Segmentation typically involves putting credit card applications and devices onto its own network, and use traditional firewalls to secure the perimeter. Although effective, this method brings about its own headaches around management. Firewall rulesets can become tedious and complex. Readdressing an entire enterprise with the sole driver of compliance is Herculean. Over time, if not properly managed and sustained, this method, can lead to bloat, misconfiguration, or worse, a breach.

Enter Cisco TrustSec to the rescue. Cisco TrustSec allows companies to dramatically simplify the management of PCI compliance by eliminating the need to readdress the network. It can greatly reduce firewall rulesets. It profiles PCI devices in human terms, decouples IP addressing, making it easier for administrators to ensure that the policy is enforced. This is where we see the real strength of Cisco. By using the network in combination with firewalls and the Cisco Identity Services Engine, you start simplifying real-world business problems like compliance.

We were so excited by this technology to reduce PCI scope and simplify management that we invited Verizon assessors into our laboratories. Verizon’s assessment of Cisco TrustSec and PCI Scope Reduction is available at: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns170/ns896/ns1051/trustsec_pci_validation.pdf

In a crime-ridden world as bad as Gotham, it is nice to see the good guys start to get some of the toys as cool as Batman’s.

Join Me On June 25 for an Hour on Analytics

Hello, everyone! I hope you enjoyed my last blog on some of the most popular use cases for analytics in the store.

I hope you are also aware of an exciting three-part series of one-hour free webcasts that Cisco is currently doing on analytics. We don’t usually go down so far into a single topic at these quarterly retail events. However, store analytics is so new and can be complex enough that we are digging into it to help you understand what you need to set up programs to drive your sales.

In Part 1 of the series, we showed how data can help improve differentiation and competitive advantage: By identifying the right analytics and metrics, you can generate insights and innovate for retail success. (You can listen to the recording here.)

For Part 2 on June 25, being held at 10:00 am PT/1:00 pm ET, we’ll discuss how you can move toward a truly data-driven model, where your insights from data help to solve specific business challenges. Several Cisco partners will join us to talk about solutions they’ve implemented that are already helping retailers improve their business out in the real world. Be sure to bring your questions!

Register today to talk about how to:

  • Determine what works best in-store
  • Optimize staffing and workforce efficiency
  • Increase marketing and campaign effectiveness
  • Create and execute an Analytics 3.0 strategy

Plus, you’ll hear from Cisco experts who will discuss how to increase your opportunities to profit along the entire shopper journey. Whether you manage store operations, staffing, layout, assortments, a category, an entire brand, or IT, please join me for this series of webcasts to uncover immediate benefits for your retail business.

See you there!

Retail Analytics for an Omnichannel World

Hello, there! My name is Kathryn Howe, and I’m a senior advisor in Cisco’s Retail Industry Practice. I am joining this blog to write regularly on my favorite topic and one of today’s hottest retail trends: Shopper behavior analytics and how they can support omnichannel selling.

Your store is probably among those that are collecting and analyzing masses of data about customers, products, and store operations to earn additional revenue and savings. The challenge of this big data, of course, is that metrics don’t mean much unless the store has access to the right data to meet your specific business needs. But when you do, such metrics become a powerful tool to create efficiencies and support your omnichannel strategies.

Most of the retailers I meet are extremely enthusiastic about the idea of utilizing shopper analytics technologies to generate deeper insights they can use to better manage their businesses – but aren’t too sure of how to do it. However, the truth is that the use cases for analytics in the store are almost infinite. As just a few examples, you can:

Predict resource requirements

Retailers can use analytics tools to measure traffic, wait times, and queue lengths, proactively anticipating resource demands across the store. For example, front-end staffing demand in grocery can be anticipated using a combination of real-time traffic counting, trip time data, and data on staff on hand. Resources are thus dynamically allocated based on real-time information, improving productivity of labor hours and improving customer satisfaction.

Drive traffic to the store

Through presence and location-based mobility analytics, retailers pinpoint the location of opt-in shoppers when they are close to a store location. With personalized reminders or discount offers sent directly to their smartphones, consumers are more motivated to visit the store if they are nearby.

Counteract showrooming

Retailers can leverage customer showrooming by providing real-time discounts and price matching on the shopper’s mobile device based on their location in the store. For example, analytics from mobile or video may detect high wait times in a department or category. In response, the store can alert staff to offer immediate assistance, or send a personalized offer to the shopper’s mobile device. This turns showrooming from a threat into a promotional opportunity, improves the shopper’s opinion of the store, and builds a strong long-term relationship.

I recently authored a white paper that addresses these and many other use cases, which you can find here. For a dynamic conversation on these and other analytics topics, please join us on June 25 for a free hour-long webcast on real-world analytics. It’s being hosted by Cisco and a group of our partners to discuss how to optimize operations and workforce efficiency, increase marketing effectiveness, and strategize for Analytics 3.0. See you there!

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How Retail’s New “4 P’s of Performance” Will Transform the Industry

Retail success has always been about delivering on the “4 Rs”: getting the Right products to the Right place at the Right time and for the Right price. While that success formula remains valid, technology-enabled advancements promise to disrupt how — and how well — retailers will be able to deliver on each element.

“Omnichannel” is a theme that has dominated retailers’ mindshare the last several years as digital influence and mobile connectivity become bigger and bigger elements in the shopping journey. Now emerging are the Internet of Everything (IoE) and Big Data analytics. While pervasive IoE connectivity generates a deluge of data, new analytics tools are helping to turn this raw data into actionable insights. The mashup of omnichannel, Big Data, and IoE is positioned to drive new operational benchmarks through a focus on the retail industry’s new “4 Ps of Performance”: Precision, Personalization, Prediction, and Platforms.

PSchottIoERetail

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Delivering a Next-Generation Customer Experience

Hi, readers! You haven’t heard from me recently, as I’ve been travelling and talking to Cisco customers. My colleague Jason Bettinger and I recently had a wonderful time at CDM’s Customer Experience Summit in Chicago, IL. CDM Media Summits bring together leading C-level executives, analysts, and solution providers to network and attend interactive agenda sessions on the latest business topics and trends.

At the event, we gave the opening keynote presentation to address how enterprises can strive to meet the ever increasing demands of the customer.  The summit brought together some of the leading executives from a variety of industries to explore ways of confronting and overcoming current industry issues. This year’s conference focused on topics that enterprises must deal with now, not in the future:

  • Leveraging Big Data
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Digital Interactive Marketing
  • Monetization of the Customer Experience
  • Customer Engagement Management Platforms

Increasingly, institutions are focusing on customer experience as their primary competitive advantage. Those with the highest customer experience ratings typically enjoy some of the best financial performances when compared to their competitors and research has demonstrated a high correlation between experience to loyalty and loyalty to profitability. Companies are asking themselves: How do we design and deliver differentiated customer experiences that truly matter? What expectations do today’s consumers have for customer care?

In our keynote, we showcased how new technologies that generate more positive outcomes in the customer experience era align with future business models across industries.  We discussed how consistency and personalization are critical to achieving new levels of customer experience and the factors that need to be considered when trying to achieve both.

Delivering a Next Generation Customer Experience Keynote

“Consistency may be one of the least inspirational topics for most managers. But it’s exceptionally powerful, especially at a time when retail channels are proliferating and consumer choice and empowerment are increasing.” – McKinsey & Company

Today, institutions are being challenged to meet the ever-increasing demands of the customer, something that is becoming more complex. Many have found that addressing those demands requires more coordination than ever – it’s about moving to true customer collaboration throughout the customer journey and proactively engaging the customer by combining traditional tools with the power of the future.

Customers are driving how and when they interact and demanding an engaging experience. Therefore, organizations across all industries must evolve their customer care to align with new business models – addressing customer experience imperatives with new capabilities. The keynote can be viewed here.

We received some great feedback from those who attended our keynote. Below are a few key themes we heard from attendees:

  • The importance of the customer is at the center of the ecosystem
  • Consistency and personalization are not mutually exclusive
  • Examples show that every industry is being impacted by the trends in the market today

As you can see, we had a great time at the Customer Experience Summit and we are already looking forward to next year’s conference. Did you attend? Let us know your feedback from the event in the comments section below.

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