We live in a time of tremendous and challenging technological disruptions. Yet it is also a time when the opportunities for business transformation are equally vast and impactful. This is particularly true for the retail industry.
The wave of change, which Cisco calls the Internet of Everything (IoE), is fast-moving, and retailers will need to adapt quickly or be left behind. After all, this explosion in connectivity — from 10 billion things today to 50 billion in 2020 — will demand a new paradigm: the IoE-Ready Retailer. And it will enable vast improvements in customer experience, employee productivity, and supply-chain efficiency, while allowing retailers to know their customers like never before.
Cisco’s research into this new dimension in connectivity among people, process, data, and things — and the overall Value at Stake over the next 10 years —presents some mind-boggling numbers: $14.4 trillion for the private sector overall and another $4.6 trillion for public sector organizations.
As per Cisco’s estimate, the retail industry will account for 11 percent of the total IoE private sector Value at Stake over the next 10 years — second only to the manufacturing industry. Cisco believes that success for retailers will hinge particularly on their ability to apply technology to improve the “people” and “process” aspects of their businesses, and to be able to offer unique, new connected experiences to the average shopper.
Cisco’s new research, which explores how the average consumer is thinking and adopting these connected experiences, uncovers some startling facts. Consumers now research, compare, and purchase products with one-click ease. The population of ever-connected, digital natives is increasing at unprecedented rates (60%+ year over year). This affords sellers with a wealth of real-time data insights that can help them stock the right products and present them in novel ways.
Walking the miles of aisles at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, it’s easy to see how the Internet of Everything (IoE) is revolutionizing our lives. Super-smart homes, cars, drones, and all manner of entertainment are on display seemingly everywhere, along with a mind-boggling array of wearable, connected technologies.
But CES — and IoE — are not just about how we interact with cool gadgets. They are also about new ways to connect with the public-sector environment. And there are extremely exciting possibilities coming to life in our towns, cities, and communities.
Ultimately, these public-sector breakthroughs could have a profound impact. Just think about how much of your quality of life is affected on a daily basis — directly or indirectly — by parking, waste management, crime, public utilities, and government services.
Cisco predicts that $4.6 trillion of value will be “at stake” in the public sector over the next decade ($19 trillion for the public and private sectors combined), driven by “connecting the unconnected” through the Internet of Everything. We also estimate that 99.4 percent of physical objects that may one day be part of the Internet of Everything are still unconnected.
Superheroes and their super strengths have long captured our imaginations. And since many of these abilities are normal human traits stretched to a magical extreme, you may well have pictured how your own life would change with super speed, agility, or senses.
Today, such daydreams are getting just a bit closer to reality. And while such powers won’t necessarily save the world (yet), they will make some common activities, such as shopping, a bit more super.
Smartphones have already assumed a central role in the retail experience. Yet the current level of smartphone interactivity is just the beginning. Exciting new capabilities are transforming the ways in which we interact — connecting our physical world to digital dimensions in very simple and intelligent ways. We will see more intelligent connections emerging across the entire customer journey: consideration, purchase, and usage.
If it seems as if the roles of chief information officer (CIO) and chief diversity officer (CDO) rarely overlap, think again. In today’s hypercompetitive — and hyperconnected — global marketplace, inclusion, collaboration, and technology are merging as essential drivers of innovation and business success. And the relationship between the CIO and CDO may never be the same.
Indeed, fostering a policy of inclusion and diversity in your organization isn’t just the right thing to do; increasingly, it is also the profitable thing to do. And, it’s a clear business imperative, since great ideas come from all corners — and levels — of the organization.
In a Cisco survey of 7,500 companies, 93 percent of enterprises with a formal policy of inclusion reported that their collaboration technology investments outperformed their business value expectations. That’s just one example of the inclusion/diversity/value equation at work.
What’s the problem with Big Data? You guessed right — it’s BIG.
Big Data empowers organizations to discern patterns that were once invisible, leading to breakthrough ideas and transformed business performance. But there is simply so much of it, and from such myriad sources — customers, competitors, mobile, social, web, transactional, operational, internal, external, structured, and unstructured — that, for many organizations, Big Data is overwhelming. The torrents of data will only increase as the Internet of Everything spreads its ever-expanding wave of connectivity, from 10 billion connected things today to 50 billion in 2020.
So, how can organizations learn to use all of that data?
The key lies not in simply having access to enormous data streams. Information must be filtered for crucial, actionable insights, and presented to the right people in a visualized, comprehensible form. Only then will Big Data transform business strategies and decisions. In effect, Big Data must be made small.
However, as McKinsey & Co. reported, many organizations don’t have enough data scientists, much less ones who understand the business well enough to draw conclusions. The trick is to get the scientists together with the experts who understand the business levers driving the organization. Put them in a room with the right tools, and watch the synergy fly.