Automating the innovation of Retail at NRF 2018

2017 started off with the National Retail Federation #NRF2017 conference where I almost went through a digital transformation of sorts — actually beginning to like shopping after all!The pragmatic application of technology to innovatively change the consumer experience was a key factor in my transformation. This metamorphosis continued through 2017 through multiple thought leadership sessions as well as Executive Roundtables giving rise to the 5 principles of Retail Digital Transformation. As I gear up to attend the #NRF2018 conference with the Red Hat team, there is a common theme emerging across these experiences. Hello Automation!

The single word — Automation — has multiple connotations across the Business of the Enterprise, Business of IT and most importantly the ecosystem of Innovation. Join me as I walk you through the automation of Retail innovation at the #NRF2018 conference. The Red Hat team welcomes you to stop by our booth #743 when you are at the conference to continue the conversation! The Retail industry is poised for experiencing more change in the next 5 years than it did in the last 50 years. Competitive enterprises should partner with change on their Digital Transformation journey rather than perceiving change as a combatant. Such enterprises do not wait to be disrupted — they disrupt themselves! To do this, enterprises need to immerse themselves in an environment that promotes innovative thinking that challenges status quo embracing a culture of collaboration. Also, this environment must be one that serves as an engine to automate innovation across the business of the enterprise as well as the business of IT.

Automating Innovation

Time and time again, Red Hat has found that collaboration is the most effective driver for innovation — especially when it is extended beyond the firewalls of the enterprise.  Open collaboration gives life to — bringing together diverse perspectives based upon how you think rather than who you are! Red Hat serves as a catalyst in the Open Source Community of customers, contributors, and partners to create better technology the open source way fostering a culture of collaboration. Innovative projects are integrated into hardened, more secure, enterprise-grade products that are relevant to the business needs of enterprises with proactive upgrades and automated patches that mitigate the risk of security vulnerabilities. And thus, the continuous cycle of innovation can be automated across the ecosystem of emerging technology paradigms.

Automating the Business

It is all about business relevance when it comes to Digital Transformation, asserted Kraft CIO, Francesco Tinto at the Gartner ITXPO Conference in 2017. Automation of the business processes using rules-driven engines is key to ensuring that these processes can quickly react to the forces of changing market dynamics, consumer demands and compliance regulations. “Pervasive integration is vital to empowering digital transformation,” according to Gartner Fellow Massimo Pezzini. Standardized, seamless integration with APIs across the business processes, applications and applicable data sources provides a foundation for automating the business of the enterprise.  In the digital world of IoT devices and sensors, connection is more important than
collection
for providing timely access to data and in this vein, APIs are the synapses of IoT!

Automating IT

While the external consumer has always been the focus of the Retail Industry — as it should be — an internal customer has emerged within the enterprise.  Hello Application developer! Developers need environments that can be rapidly provisioned with the ability to quickly test out new features with continuous deployments and continuous integration. Developers have embraced the world of containers while paring down monolithic applications into microservices that can be more effectively orchestrated to meet the business needs of the enterprise in a timely manner. However, when single becomes plural, containers can get complex very quickly. Which is why automation is vital to the world of DevOps to ensure that the modernized world of containers can be orchestrated across environments at scale. Well, there you have it — the ecosystem of innovation as a foundation to automate the business of the enterprise as well as the business of IT. But, how can it be brought together in the context of the enterprise?

The Red Hat Open Innovation Labs is an intensive, highly focused environment designed to catalyze
innovation where enterprises can use innovative open source technologies to rapidly build prototypes, experience DevOps to automate IT, and adopt agile workflows to automate the business of the enterprise. And while we are at it, let us not lose sight of the 5 principles of Digital Transformation

And how can these technologies be applied to realize these principles?

Stay tuned for my next blog on Automating Retail the Red Hat way. Meanwhile, if you have business or technical scenarios that you are looking to automate in your enterprise, do contact us and stop by the Red Hat Booth 743 at the conference.

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