The new year will see a continued growth in online retail and Infor is ever present in this sector. In the past year, Infor saw a 124 percent growth in cloud transactions, which helped retailers move from their legacy solutions to the modern, cloud-based retail focused solutions to further support and understand their customers. In today’s world, the mobile devices can do anything – stream entertainment, talk to friends and family, and of course, ecommerce. Today’s customer demands personal experiences from browsing to follow up communication about any purchases they make. “The concept of ‘Commerce Everywhere’ has forced retailers to dig deeper into their operations to better understand and reach target customers, partners and employees,” said Corey Tollefson, senior vice president and general manager, Infor Retail. “Infor has made significant investments since its inception to help foster the Golden Age of Retail. In this era, the physical store and its associates will take on a greater role as the store is not only a channel to purchase product but also a node in the network to ship, sell, and return products as well,” adds Erick Rowe, vice president, Infor Retail. Infor’s Retail solutions continue to support fashion, retail and grocery partners on a global scale, and will continue to help those who want to modernize operations and take advantage of the latest consumer and business technologies – mobile, social, science, and cloud.
Before the rising popularity of the internet, products and services were market centered. Then came the internet, and it was a game changer. In the early 2000s, the customer became more educated and aware of things that the demand for better value for the price was key. The internet introduced quicker competitor comparison, increasing customer choices. This trend has continued to evolve to today’s society, which is the era of relationships. Businesses listen to customers and try to meet their needs. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has played an indispensable role in helping businesses achieve optimal relationships. CRM works on two frameworks – operational, which concerns the automation of business processes to build long-term, profitable relationships with specific customers, and analytical, which focuses on analyzing customer characteristics and behavior to decide how to allocate resources to the most profitable customer group. Both these frameworks will get a boost in the coming years. these frameworks will encourage the following CRM trends that will dominate 2019.
- Data Mining Will Gain Prominence
- Social CRM Will Boost Relationships
- Companies Will Go Beyond Expectations
- Response Times Will Come Down
- CRM Adoption Will Increase
- CRM Will Become Easier to Use
- Cloud Will Stay a Popular Platform
It’s 2019 and customers have more power to shift the market and trends. They are calling the shots about which products and services that the marketplace should offer. And businesses are adjusting their business models to keep up, all thanks to CRM. for the businesses who embrace this software, they will gain better relationships with their customers in years to come.
PhocusWire, a technology, distribution and travel news outlet, spent 2018 pointing out the latest trends in the industry. Taking a look back, the main theme they found was the emergence of voice technology. Expedia created browse and book capabilities using Google Assistant, and Amazon rolled out Alexa for the hospitality sector, and rolled out many Alexa-enable products throughout the year. Google and Alibaba have developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) voice assistants, and Facebook introduced Portal. These devices will no doubt be the most popular gifts this holiday season. Looking ahead to 2019, voice technology will make more strides, and new entrants will be introduced to compete with the market. Say It Now CEO Charlie Cadbury shares that tech giants Samsung and Apple will shake things up with their voice-enabled products (which will most likely be compatible with their smart and mobile devices). Cadbury also explains that those brands who are not getting in the game now will miss out.
We’ve been living in the digital age for quite some time now so we cannot deny that the workplace has dramatically evolved. The presence of technology has made racial changes in workplace dynamics – from the way we communicate to the automation of certain processes. Robert Half Technology suggests that CIOs believe that factors such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and automation are having a profound impact on staffing, as well as on the scope of the roles and skills required for workplace efficiency. Additionally, technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are automating manual tasks in operations which require learning and help to eliminate human error. While many may see the role of AI as a threat to human talent, it is not. In fact, AI can automate time-consuming, repetitive tasks like mass data input and retrieval, and minimize errors. This allows employees to utilize their skills in other tasks. Technology not only changed the day-to-day operations in the workplace, but has reshaped the skills required for the workforce to succeed in certain areas of business. Notably, understanding of the use of such technologies is the most important skillset. But this doesn’t mean that “soft skills” are irrelevant. Consequently, soft skills are more important than ever. According to research done by Matt Weston, MD and Robert Half UK, a significant proportion of CIOs cited strategic planning (50%), problem-solving (40%) and interpersonal and communication skills (35%) as crucial for success. Technology will keep influencing businesses and continue to shape the workplace, But human intelligence will remain a very desirable skill for successful organizational management.
In today’s fast paced, technology driven world, connecting with customers is key. With the rise of digitization, customers expect quick, personalized services tailored to their exact needs. In order to acquire new customers and make sales, retailers much understand that the customer is in control, which is why the most successful retailers will offer their customers more flexible and personalized shopping options. Most retailers are familiar with BOPIS, or “Buy Online Pickup In Store”. However, BOPIS only represents one possible avenue. It is important for companies to understand the journey of their customers, and prioritize investments for greater return. This will increase overall customer satisfaction, and omni-channel shoppers have a greater chance at being repeat customers to those businesses as opposed to those that use only one channel. Below are five steps to help design the most effective omni-channel strategy:
- Really get to know the customer
- Plan your Omni-Channel Paths to Purchase
- Ensure Inventory Visibility
- Assess softwarte capabilities
- Execute Faster by planning better
Customer expectations constantly change technology faster than ever before. Retailers need to catch up with these changes by creating a holistic omni-channel strategy to meet the ever-growing customer standards.
The once widely popular smart business phone maker is still around, and will become a valuable asset to hospital infrastructures. BlackBerry has signed on as a HIMSS Analytics Certified Consultant and will help direct healthcare organizations through the HIMSS Infrastructure Adoption Model (INFRAM). INFRAM is an eight-stage model (0 – 7) that allows healthcare IT leaders to map the technology infrastructure capabilities needed to reach their organization’s clinical and operational goals, while also meeting benchmarks and industry standards. Sara Jost, global healthcare industry lead at BlackBerry, says that “BlackBerry will assess vulnerabilities in a hospital’s infrastructure, devices, and configurations, using a wide range of penetration testing, social engineering techniques, and physical security assessments.” Even though Blackberry has been less relevent in the mobile phone market, the company’s cyber security is still very strong and in demand. HIMSS Analytics Executive Vice President Blain Newton says, “With BlackBerry’s deep cybersecurity expertise and footprint in highly regulated industries we’re confident that having BlackBerry at the table will ensure the INFRAM is the gold standard for running a scalable and secure organization.”
With new digital trends being adapted across various industries, we tend to forget older products. Take transportation for example. Ride sharing and app-based rides, we almost forget mass transit such as buses and trolleys. Such outlets still exist, and they could benefit with today’s technology. Budgets for maintaining assets and vehicles are becoming too costly, and the fast-paced lives of commuters have no room for delays. Managing public transportation in U.S. metro areas has become difficult to balance, while also accommodating the needs of the public and complying to federal mandates for public transportation safety. Driving pressures that make preparation difficult include population shifts, fleet conditions, reliability, and compliance. However, that is all changing with the emergence of new technology trends. Modern IT solutions can play a major role in monitoring fleet health and asset performance, as well as provide insight on customer demands. Some modern technologies that are capable of supporting proactive public transportation are Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), Internet of Things (IoT), compliance reporting, Artificial Intelligence (AI), predictive analytics, and warehouse management systems. Metro transit groups should greatly consider these IT solutions as they will help managers with better decision making, collect data and forecast commuter trends to prepare their systems ahead of time.
Infor recently announced that Koncept Hotels has deployed hospitality cloud solution Infor HMS to support the hotel group’s digital strategy to assist customer needs more efficiently. Founded only a year ago, the hotel start-up won the Digital Leader Award 2018 in July, Germany’s most important award for digitization solutions. Part of its digitization approach includes a focus on fair, mindful and sustainable business management. At “Koncept Hotel zum kostbaren Blut”, located downtown Cologne, there is no reception desk fully staffed 24/7. Instead, guests use smart devices to check in or out in one of the 20 rooms. This removes the need for a night staff at their hotel. Infor HMS is being used for the digital interfaces guests interact with – ranging from room reservations, check-in and check-out, recommendations around the stay, or to help with special requests. Using the Infor HMS app, employees can analyze hotel performance data on-demand and manage the hotel remotely – a key part of Koncept’s strategy to not have to keep managers onsite to manage operations and have them needed elsewhere, especially in light of expansion plans to new locations. Stefan Bezold, Executive Sales Director DACH & CEE for Infor Hospitality, says of the collaboration, “With Infor HMS, we enable hotels to accelerate their digital transformation so they can offer their tech-savvy guests the service they expect. Koncept Hotels is a prime example for a next generation hotel and we are pleased to support their strategy with our solution.”
It’s an exciting time in the retail space with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). With these possibilities, the retail experience has dramatically changed its standards. New retail technologies are providing customers with what they have been longing for – relevant products, informed and fast customer service, and the ability to experience products before they arrive on their doorsteps. Some tips to consider when considering trying out new retail technologies include:
- Don’t wait to innovate
- Using AI to boost retail efficiency
- Supporting better customer service with chatbots
- Bringing experiences to customers with AR/VR
- Start your modern retail journey today
One last tip to stay ahead of the curve and avoid debt is to allow enough time and attention on how you deploy and keep up with new technologies.
Infor just announced a new collaboration with Donnelley Financial, LLC, a leading provider of risk and compliance solutions. With Infor Dynamic Enterprise Performance Management (Infor d/EPM), the firm will be able to further help enable clients to communicate with confidence in complex regulatory environments. Donnelley Financial will use Infor d/EPM so customers can select ActiveDisclosure, the cloud-based disclosure management solution, to create, manage, XBRL-tag and file financial reports with regulatory agencies worldwide. Organizations can systematize and help streamline regulatory reporting while maintaining data lineage when using Infor d/EPM. Mark Corsetti, VP at Infor, says of the collaboration, “By working with leading organizations, such as Donnelley Financial, we’re able to help drive our customers’ overall business performance more effectively.”