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Pick the Low-Hanging Omnichannel Fruit

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.

I’ll see you at NRF!

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Security Automation Live Webcast!

April 19, 2013 at 4:00 am PST

UPDATE: Webcast information is also now available at the Cisco Live 365 site

Many network security administrators are struggling to keep their network “up-to-date” with the constant release of new vulnerabilities and software fixes. At the same time, they’re under pressure to provide near 100% availability of key business services and systems. Every time a vendor discloses a security vulnerability, network security administrators must identify affected devices and (in numerous cases) upgrade such devices. These activities can take hours, days, or even weeks depending on the size of the organization. For instance large enterprises and organizations may have thousands of routers and switches that need to be assessed for the impact of any given vulnerability. Cisco is helping customers by adopting cutting-edge security automation standards such as the  Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language (OVAL) and the Common Vulnerability Reporting Framework (CVRF).

In the following blog posts, I’ve provided details about how security automation is helping customers:

Additionally, my colleague Mike Schiffman has posted several posts explaining CVRF.

Webcast took place on Tuesday, April 23rd at 10:00 a.m. EST (14:00 GMT). Over 150 customers from 29 countries learned about security automation; Cisco’s machine readable content strategy; and vulnerability assessment using OVAL. We discussed how customers can use OVAL to quickly assess the effects of security vulnerabilities in Cisco IOS Software devices. The recording is now available:

httpv://youtu.be/Yf9o8TvWH4I

 

 

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