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Executive Interview
ICT Transformation and Retail

What challenges do companies in retail sector face in terms of IT and networking issues?

With the increasing development of big data and internet, the ecosystem of retail industry is becoming wider, more diversified and dynamic. The industry is growing from physical stores to selling online, promoting products and deals through web and mobile applications as well as engaging with users through various marketing methods. These all require a solution that can manage data, network and security.

 

From the latest IDC Government Insights predictions for Asia, we understand that regional authorities are looking at developing new sourcing models for transformational ICT such as 3rd platform technologies to take advantage of the value from digital data as a strategic asset. As of late, governments and business in varying sectors including retail, hospitality and financial services have also acknowledged the enabler of ICT for organisational transformation.

What we are seeing from a market perspective is that retailors not only need a strong ICT infrastructure to back up its complicated business operation, they also face challenges with proactively acknowledging the latest technology to maximise productivity and utilise collected data and information to discover new business needs and opportunities.

 

Can you share with us your insights on how L’Occitane successfully deployed NTT Communications ICT solution to accelerate retail and supply chain management in over 30 branches located in HK and Macau? How did the company benefit from your solutions?

To answer L’Occitane’s need for one-stop solution, NTT Communications offered a mix of network and data center services that can help the company manage data, connectivity and security reliably and flexibly.

 

Efficient Data Management:

  • Having data generated from different business touch points and all its retail outlets, it’s important for L’Occitane to collate and store all the various data in a secure location.
  • NTT Communications Hong Kong Data Center, a Tier III+ fully redundant infrastructure provided a highly secure and robust environment for managing and housing critical business data for L’Occitane. The facility is equipped with at least N+1 redundancy with multiple sources and multiple paths to the consumption points, and features efficient power and cooling systems that offer 15% improvement in energy efficiency.

Strengthened Business Communications:

  • L’Occitane has over 30 retail stores in Hong Kong and Macau, and the highly volatile retail market requires quick time-to-market and efficient business communications.
  • Our local network service, SecureNet IP-VPN, offered a wide range of bandwidth options, support for various types of local access lines and simplified network site management, which gave L'Occitane the flexibility and scalability to meet its daily operational needs as well as changing market situation.

Overall, our ICT solutions provided the essential infrastructure to enable L’Occitane to compete more effectively in a fast-paced and dynamic retail landscape in Asia. The breadth of service offerings helped the company to fine tune its supply chain management strategy while improving overall company communications.

 

What new tech changes do you foresee for the retail industry?

In this digital age with all the new e-Commerce technologies and big data around, the business landscape of retail in Asia particular, is transforming from the traditional brick-and-mortar business into O2O (online to offline) business model. The increasingly global e-Commerce activities come with the need to handle cross-border transactions, against the challenges of varying local market regulations and online fraud activities etc, which requires sound payment solutions to ensure the whole customer journey and e-Commerce management is efficient, risk-prevalent and well-optimized.

 

But bear in mind that hardware is refreshed every three to five years, which poses challenge for enterprises, big and small, on their financial and technical capabilities to keep up with the ever-changing business needs. The physical structure and supporting critical infrastructure needs to be flexible enough to remain technically viable and cost effective for 12-15 years or more.

 

Enterprise organizations can no longer afford the power density restrictions of older designs that represented the status quo of the past 10 years, much less the last 50 years.

 

Going forward they need to be able to deliver high availability and efficiency under virtually any operating conditions while lowering TCO. Ultimately, new high-density data centers must become as an extension of the evolving IT philosophy – in order to support change and not become a limiting factor of future innovation.

 

Therefore, we foresee that technology for a retailer would no longer need just about e-Shop platform, payment gateway or any service in isolation, but rather a total end-to-end ICT solutions that would support them from frontend to backend from payment solutions, data analytics and management, hosting, network, communications, security to synchronize and inter-connect different channels and operational units.

 

 

img_Taylor

NTT Com Asia

Taylor Man

CTO

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