By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist
In most developed economies, people can be forgiven for taking banks for granted. After all, an ATM machine is rarely more than a couple blocks away with easy access to funds. People can easily connect with their banks online to pay bills without ever handling cash, and loans and lines of credit are readily available.
In much of the developing world, however, this infrastructure simply doesn’t exist. Thabiso Mochiko recently laid out the latest statistics on the issue at Business Day:
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Tags: africa, economic development, M-Pesa, mobile banking, mobile commerce, VNI-SA, Vodacom
OK, retail technologists. It’s the new year. Time for resolutions.
Grab the pencil (so you can revise, not erase) and the notepad, plug in the earbuds, and settle into your thinking chair. And take the first step in getting rid of those old bad habits.
Resolve to address those big, ugly, long-standing structural weaknesses that weigh you down like a ball and chain. Weaknesses like the non-integrated, multiple databases residing within the legacy applications. Like the oft taken-for-granted time-to-capability performance (caused by a legacy store architecture) that measures all-store roll-outs in years and gets a constant eyeroll and deep sigh from the SVP of Ops.
Resolve to look that ancient, deeply-customized application that you prop each year with more people and money squarely in the eye.
Resolve to lose weight. Heavy, power-sucking, PO-abusing CPU weight. Virtualize the data centers and start the process of removing CPUs (and all the break-fix maintenance costs) from the store. Thin is in. So is operational simplicity.
Resolve to demand value from your vendors – which, as we all know, is different from the lowest price. Demand that they help you solve specific business problems. Demand that they bring their best strategists and thinkers to the table.
Resolve to ignore all the one-off shiny technologies du jour. Easier said than done, especially with NRF around the corner, the marketing SVP sputtering that “everyone else is doing it,” and the CEO remarking that his nephew had one at Christmas. (Mobility! Smartphone apps! Tablets! Interactive kiosks! Ooooh!)
Resolve to embrace BYOD, and push it forward. Your corporate leaders of tomorrow won’t necessarily thank you. It’s just that they’ll be willing to work for you instead of the competition.
Resolve to toss out of the room any consultant or vendor sales rep who talks about “customer experience” without detailed considerations of your segment, your price point, your brand promise, and the overall customer journey by persona – all the way through service and loyalty. Resolve to ask them how many times they’ve visited your stores.
What am I missing?
Tags: bring your own device, byod, Cisco, customer experience, e-commerce, mobile commerce, network-centric architecture, network-centric retailing, retail, retail technology, retailing, thin store