Global CIO: Oracle's Top 10 Retail Insights A Must-Read For All CIOs - InformationWeek
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09:06 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans

Global CIO: Oracle's Top 10 Retail Insights A Must-Read For All CIOs

The power of pervasive consumer technology is causing massive disruptions in not only retail but your business as well--are you clued in?

Like SAP, Oracle offers a range of vertical-market solutions across numerous industries to complement its horizontal apps for financials, ERP, HR, and CRM. But Oracle's first vertically oriented business unit was in retail, which has become one of the most IT-intensive and turbulent and fast-changing businesses on the planet.

And with companies in every industry now striving to engage more intimately with customers in order to gain more insights into their behaviors, buying patterns, and needs, many of the lessons Oracle's Retail Global Business Unit has learned in the past few years are applicable for CIOs and other business leaders across all industries, even those having next to nothing to do with retail.

In a recent phone interview, the head of the Oracle retail business and senior VP Duncan Angove described a range of breakthrough ideas and technologies currently turning the long-stuffy retail business into a fusion of merchandising wizardry driven by social and mobile technologies and hard-core logistics discipline enabled by standardized, deep, and robust enterprise-infrastructure software.

From that interview with Angove—who is either as animated and up-tempo a business exec as I've ever run across, or who just before getting on the phone had to guzzle a 6-pack of Red Bull as part of a retail promotion—I've extracted 10 powerful business ideas and insights that are certainly applicable in retail but that also can be applied and extended in every industry by every CIO looking to boost customer connections and financial results.

But first, to give hope to those of you who despair that your industry or company won't begin harnessing the power of IT until either the Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series or hell freezes over (I'd bet on the latter coming first), here are two scene-setters from Angove on the state of how technology today is being viewed within the retail business:

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First: "Just 10 years ago, technology was never talked about in the retail boardroom—the CIO wouldn't report to the CEO, wouldn't even have a seat on the board, and would instead report to the CFO. That totally changed—because now consumers are carrying iPhones and mobile technology into stores," Angove said. "Consumers are bringing technology into the retail environment and it is fundamentally altering the retail landscape. . . . And retailers realize that they actually need to transform because they're not going to be relevant if they don't and actually it's the only way they're going to be able to get back to a growth strategy."

And here's the second:

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