Richard Thomas, CEO of netEvidence with its Highlight 'digital window' service, picks up the plight of retail managers who in today's increasing complex multi-channel environment are frustrated by having to work in a void of information about the services and technologies upon which their success and profitability depends.
Whilst most managers don't have the time or the inclination to become technology experts, they will have a keen but often frustrated interest in how key services and technologies, such as vital supply and logistics chains or the POS systems, are performing.
The problem is that technologies are usually managed by engineers, using tools that by their very nature are highly technical and rarely designed to be understood by those managing a business.
This issue has been multiplied over recent years as more retailers have placed greater reliance on outsourced IT services. Not only do managers need to know that these investments are delivering value for money, they also need visibility into these vital, but now ever more distant, digital services.
So regardless of whether an application or service is managed in-house or by third-party suppliers, the retail manager increasingly finds themself working in an information void. They need to know if there is a problem with the delivery of their business services, together with an understanding of where that problem is, who is affected and for how long. They also want to know when the problem is resolved, whether by internal teams or external service providers.
The good news is that these frustrations can be removed. Services are now available that give this 'window' into the digital world providing clear, business-level information. They deliver real-time, performance-focused visibility of those business services, with full reporting and trend analysis, making it much easier to identify trouble spots and take corrective action where necessary.
These services require no capital expenditure. They don't use probes and little or no software is installed; they leverage the intelligence already present within the existing digital infrastructure. Within hours they start to collect, interpret and evaluate this data to deliver clear information through intuitive, browser based dashboards that can be understood by executives, managers and engineers alike, wherever they are.
The key benefits of these services are that they deliver knowledge and understanding. They provide peace of mind that a retailer's vital business services are up and running, delivering what they should, when they should, so that customers can transact when they want and how they want.
As an example, we work with a large retail chain that allows a number of independent IT concessions within each store to use its network to demonstrate their own products and content. By having full visibility of the network, the retailer can easily understand the impact that each concession has on the network. They have unambiguous, independent information that can be easily understood and they use it as a basis to charge each concession for usage, they can give priorities to certain traffic as well as offer appropriate guarantees.
In our work with both the organisations that deliver technology services as well as the retailers that use them, we get to see the story from both sides. We've found that the organisations that want to deliver greater value to their customers are the ones that understand that they need to open this window into the performance of their services and in the majority of cases, this leads to greater levels of trust but more importantly, improved business performance.
The key thing is that we're not all technology experts, but we all need to know how the performance of the technologies that deliver our key business services is affecting the success and profitability of our business.
netEvidence's Highlight service is helping organisations around the globe to achieve clarity and understanding of their digital worlds.