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Microsoft urges retailers to tackle data blindspots

New research is calling on retailers to take on new opportunities to embrace data sharing and reduce the risk of costly failed CX projects.

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The research, released by Microsoft this month, found that while 69 per cent of Australian enterprises say that they have an integrated digital transformation strategy, only 28 per cent have a company-wide strategy for sharing data.

More than three quarters of retail organisations also said they had failed CX projects, with a third saying that 20-40 per cent of these projects had failed, costing some between $100,00-500,000.

The study, which surveyed 505 medium to large organisations, warns that without access to comprehensive data retailers will be limited in their ability to use data to engage customers and transform products and services.

While most retailers acknowledged the importance of data within the organisation, with 80 per cent saying data was somewhat to extremely important to automate business processes, 30 per cent said there is little to no data sharing across the organisation.

Michael O’Keefe, Business Applications Director at Microsoft told Retailbiz that these data blindspots are impeding digital transformation for some retailers.

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“It’s really important that retail businesses identify and tackle their digital blindspots – and introduce policies, processes and technology that lets data help draft the organisational transformation blueprint,” he said.

“The opportunity retailers now have is to pause and take a look at the data that is available today to drive new insights into how they digitally engage with customers, whether through app or socials and how do they bridge that digital gap between what they’re doing on net and in-store.”

The survey also found most retailers scored themselves poorly in their ability to collect and action feedback from customers and staff across various channels, personalise interactions and identify weak points in the customer journey.

Tackling data blindspots

Creating a company-wide data sharing policy and rolling out technology to allow easier access to data are essential to tackle these blindspots, Mr O’Keeffe said.

Without leveraging this data, retailers are missing a huge opportunity to optimise processes, he said, with consumers increasingly expecting data-driven service.

“Consumers are more demanding now in terms of engagements with brand so from a retailer’s perspective we’re seeing them constantly want to bridge the gap between digital and bricks and mortar so there’s an opportunity there for retailers to look back at data they have in terms of how they’re engaging customers.”

When looking at implementing a data strategy, retailers need to undertake an audit of existing data, Mr O’Keeffe said.

“First thing is to undertake an audit of the data they have within the organisation and start to think about the value of that data. Second thing is ensuring very good handle on regulatory framework and privacy framework of that data.”

Finding a way to bridge the data gap is absolutely essential to retailers’ future success, Mr O’Keeffe said.

“Digital engagement and bridging the divide is a really powerful way to build new relationships with consumers but it’s really important to consider how you’re going to use that data,” he said.