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Coming to NRF: Lisa Fretwell on Shopping Trends, New Frontiers

Cisco will be featured in two Big Idea sessions at this year’s NRF conference starting tomorrow, and I’m happy to introduce guest blogger Lisa Fretwell, who will be leading one of these two seminars. Lisa is the Managing Director of Retail at Cisco Consulting Services, specializing in the Internet of Everything and analytics, and how these new capabilities can transform and differentiate retail and consumer product businesses:

In today’s digital era, stores are clearly challenged in terms of sales and profitable growth. Every retailer is faced with needing to change and innovate their store to deliver results.

Overall, the majority of stores across all categories are demonstrating flat or declining like for like, exacerbated by price deflation. Cisco’s recently concluded annual survey on shopper behavior of 10,000 shoppers highlights the ongoing shift away from the store to online. Twenty percent of consumers now make more than 50% of their purchases online, and this number is expected to continue to grow.

However, when you dig down into the data, you may be surprised by some of the changes. As just one example, we asked shoppers which categories they had significantly moved from store to online. We learned that 41% of the consumers surveyed have somewhat or significantly increased their online purchases of apparel in the last two years – clothing, shoes, and accessories. Traditionally, these products are the life blood of why shoppers go to a store – to touch, feel, try on.

So is it all doom and gloom for shops? No, not if you’re up for innovation and change. There are still significant reasons for shoppers to visit stores. Our research highlights some key insights that retailers must leverage to drive healthy results and make the store experience hyper-relevant.

Our experience from retail engagements suggests the answer lies in two areas: being able to deliver dynamic experiences, and to improve ways of working. From instant response to customer needs to improved process digitization, we are seeing that retailers are increasingly relying on a combination of sensors, analytics, automation, cloud, and edge computing.

If we apply this model to a $20 billion turnover retailer with 900 stores, Cisco estimates that there is $312 million of incremental benefit to be had: $170 million from digitizing ways of working: staffing optimization, store routine digitization, and colleague collaboration; plus $142 million from improved customer conversion through insight, digital offers and loyalty, service, and cross-channel selling. We believe this approach offers the next much-needed step change in store economics.

To learn more, please join us at NRF on Sunday for Cisco’s Big Idea sessions:

  • The first, at 10:15 am in Room 4 of the Expo Hall, covers more on our annual survey results. It is led by Cisco Vice President Joe Bradley (replacing Anabelle Pinto due to a family emergency).
  • Then, at 2:00 pm in Room 4, Cisco’s Shaun Kirby and I will discuss how retailers are taking advantage of the “Internet of Everything: New Horizons in Retail.”

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Capture New Business Opportunity with Effective Automation

The connections between your business success and data center efficiency have never been clearer or stronger. Delivering data center resources quickly to capitalize on new business opportunities or projects is a major factor for business success. The only way to expedite resource delivery is by replacing manual processes with repeatable, best-practice-based automated service consumption and delivery.

So what is getting in the way?

The first problem is inconsistent delivery of standardized infrastructure instances. Many solutions on the market today only manage virtual resources while others just support their proprietary hardware stack. Automation needs to be across all layers – and that includes networks. I believe the only way to achieve the speed and efficiency businesses desire is to manage your entire heterogeneous data center as a unified whole — holistically. Read More »

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Defeat IT Complexity To Free Time For Innovation

December 2, 2014 at 7:24 am PST

When Apple Pay was announced in September this year, it brought a lot of attention to the digital payment business. But this is certainly not the first sign that we are moving rapidly towards a digital society. For example, Starbucks has been doing this for years by handling millions of mobile wallet payments every week. In fact, they took 90% of the $1.3 billion mobile payment market last year. So, what is their secret sauce of success? Their CEO boils it down to:

  • Mobile payments convenience, and
  • Automatic loyalty rewards

The opposite of convenience and automation is complexity. Cisco is hosting a live “Defeat IT Complexity” webcast on Tuesday December 10, 2014, to help you to achieve outstanding results with innovation and simplification.

Read More »

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Is IT Automation the Key to Operational Excellence? Industry Analysts Think So

Businesses move quickly until they have to cross rough roads paved with technical challenges. That’s because even though data centers are sophisticated, the components that support most businesses still include far too many 20th century manual processes, silo based resources and administrators pressured to keep up.

Although automation can speed up IT, and your business,  many companies are wrestling with it. Please watch this video from Cisco and Forrester to understand why organizations are struggling with automation – see if it sounds familiar (I bet it will).

After you watch it, if you want send me a brief email about your experience with these issues. Read More »

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Punch the Data Center Accelerator and Maintain Full Control

Every organization needs more from their data centers, such as faster services and data analysis for real-time decision making.  The unprecedented expansion of data is a major driver of rapid data center transformation.  Consider these statistics:

  • 90% of all data in the world was created in the last three years
  • Data centers handled 214 exabytes of data per month in 2012 and that is expected to grow to 644 exabytes per month by 2017

Just trying to image 214 exabytes of data is like trying to imagine how much money a trillion is.  Bottom line:  it is a lot of data!

Given that upward of 70% of what data centers do today is still about processing data, and IT budgets are at best flat, organizations have to become more efficient.  They need newer, better ways to process data and deliver data center services, increase application performance and increase operational efficiency.

Cisco understands this problem.  The combination of Cisco UCS Director and UCS Invicta allows your organization to deliver services faster, increase application performance and deliver those operational efficiencies everyone is seeking.   We created a nice video illustration to explain:

Read More »

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