Digital transformation of the retail industry is gaining momentum through technological advances that power cloud computing and connect the full spectrum of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Retailers that want to stay competitive in this rapidly changing world must intelligently adopt an open platform approach to gain market advantages and measurable business results.

Technology solutions from Red Hat that support modern open platform infrastructures offer retailers a way to deliver innovative services and customer experiences while continuing to take advantage of traditional systems and resources. These solutions can help retailers strengthen security, enhance operations, improve supply chain efficiency, and use IoT and data analytics for better decision making.

IDC and Red Hat collaborated recently on research that examines the need for an open technology platform that can support the digital transformation taking place in the retail industry today.

Continue reading to learn more about the IDC research finding from Leslie Hand, Vice President, IDC Retail Insights

The retail industry has pivoted toward experiential business models that put the customer firmly at the center. Retail business ended in 2017 on a positive note, with annual sales growth ahead of expectations.

Nevertheless, not all retailers fared well. What it takes to thrive in retail—or merely survive—has changed. In the wake of a tough year marked by a larger-than-average number of store closings, most retailers acknowledge that the future of retail isn't a destination, but an ever-changing journey punctuated by omnipresence that will require ongoing adaptation to customer expectations for service and differentiated product assortments.

Converged physical-digital business is the new reality, and net-new challengers to industry stalwarts guide new paths to market that are fundamentally more agile and responsive to consumer needs. Retailers must digitally transform themselves to respond to these market dynamics, creating an operating environment that can support the future, which will be led with securely automating connected business with employees, suppliers, and customers. Those that can digitally transform themselves will create new value in the market and thrive.

In fact, IDC predicts that by 2019, the top 30% of retailers will be actively engaged in digital transformation (DX), driving organizational shifts and investment strategies in foundational platform technologies that are cloud based, artificial intelligence (AI) enabled, and composable. Furthermore, retailers reported via an IDC Retail innovation survey that by 2020, 36% of technology spending would fund innovation that could lead to disruption.

So, what’s required for retailers to successfully capture value in the coming years? Here are the necessary steps:

Digital transformation. Retailers must review and adapt strategy, organizational structure, culture, information management, business processes, and tactics to align with customer expectations.

Continuous innovation orientation. Retailers should invest in tools, platforms, integration capabilities, gateways, and other technologies that serve as a catalyst for advancing a culture/workforce that wants to work in a frictionless manner to continuously develop and deliver great customer experiences.

Focus on business execution. The underlying technical complexities that enable frictionless customer experiences demand more automation, standardization, and seamless integration behind the scenes.

For more on how an open technology platform can support the digital transformation taking place in the retail industry today, view the IDC animated infographic, “The New Retail Playbook: Balancing Innovation with Keeping the Lights On,” sponsored by Red Hat.

We also invite you to download the IDC Whitepaper: "Securely Automating Connected Retail Business," brought to you by Red Hat.

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