24 Mar Retail innovation playbook: Fast, economical transformation on Microsoft Cloud
For retailers, tight integration of data and systems is the antidote to a challenging economy.
Inflation, high energy prices, and a looming recession have dampened consumer purchasing. All this while retailers are still dealing with pandemic-related disruptions to supply chains and consumer shopping habits. To win back consumers and protect profit margins, retailers need to optimize operations across the enterprise. That means fixing their supply chains, understanding shifting consumer preferences, and offering modern ecommerce options, while streamlining processes to improve productivity, staying secure and preventing fraud. They need to do all of this fast and without breaking the budget.
Increasingly, retail CIOs and their C-suite colleagues view a cloud-first approach as the answer to their challenges, with Microsoft as the preferred partner of choice.
“Leadership teams are looking at Microsoft to help them bring agility and resilience from the go-to-market perspective on new products, and also to reduce total cost of ownership,” says Chandrashekar Saligram, Global Head of Cloud Transformation for SAP on Azure at TCS.
A cloud-first strategy will help retailers accelerate digital transformation of supply chain processes while integrating with existing infrastructure and applications, including SAP, point of sale, procurement, and customer loyalty. Removing silos will enable greater data accessibility and democratization, helping employees across the entire organization better leverage the power of data in decision making.
“Data democratization can help improve collaboration between various functions across the retail value chain, such as retail stores, warehouses, and the supply chain functions, to ensure accurate stock replenishments or fulfillment of rush orders,” says Saligram. “It can also improve customer service through visibility of customer preferences and feedback to the respective functions.”
Microsoft Cloud connects the dots
The Microsoft Cloud encompasses a set of solutions that can integrate a retailer’s core systems, whether they are on-premises or in a public or private cloud. Microsoft tools and services, including Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft Azure Data Catalogue, Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure Database Migration Services, and Azure Stream Analytics, enable real-time availability and a unified view across functions by integrating large volumes of data, including SKUs, customers, shipments, and orders.
“It’s imperative to integrate these systems to give a seamless experience to employees across a variety of business scenarios, such as inventory management or cash flow,” says Manoj Wagh, Business Analyst with TCS focusing on SAP on Microsoft Cloud. “And you need real-time visibility. Delays in getting data is one of the biggest challenges retailers currently face.”
In addition, Microsoft 365 cloud-based collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Outlook can be integrated into SAP S4/HANA, and help improve employee productivity through real-time messaging, video and voice calling, screen sharing, and document sharing. Employees can make quicker decisions to resolve issues at operational and tactical levels.
TCS can help retail customers modernize their SAP environment on Microsoft Cloud through advisory services that help accelerate the digital transformation and innovation journey through real-time integration with third-party systems. TCS, being Microsoft Partner of the Year for SAP on Azure, brings in significant retail industry experience to drive S/4HANA transformation on the Microsoft Cloud. For retailers, the result is a cloud-first approach that helps them extend and innovate across stakeholders.
Learn more about TCS digital transformation solutions for SAP on Microsoft Cloud.