The onset of the new year is the time when you need to take stock and think about where to move next in business development. Independent expert on retail innovations, Boris Agate, and the founder of Fabrique.ai, Sergey Kedron, continue to analyze the 10 hottest technology trends that will shape retail in the coming year and in the near future. The experts’ reflections were based on the technology rating compiled by the American agency Gartner.
Today we’ll talk about Hyper-Automation. What it is? What is its difference from the already familiar automation? Why is it important for retail? We do not always understand why this or that trend is, and what is behind the sonorous definitions, for example, such as “digital transformation”. We often use this concept, but often we cannot formulate what we need it for. It turns out to be either too long or pointless. But the essence of any technological revolution is just two actions, and the current fourth industrial revolution is no different from those that happened earlier. Digital transformation is a small part of the 4th industrial revolution,
it is designed to optimize business processes, i.e. improve their efficiency, abandon unnecessary business processes, introduce new, more advanced processes. All this is facilitated by digitalization (data collection and processing). The second challenge of digital transformation is process automation. It turned out that with the help of digital solutions it is possible to automate those processes that were not previously available for automation. First of all, these are middle management processes, where there is a high proportion of intellectual labor and an insignificant proportion of physical labor, for example, accountants, marketers, logisticians, etc. If you look back, you will see that all industrial revolutions solved exactly these problems: optimization and automation, and the new transformation in this sense is no exception.
What does Gartner mean by “hyper-automation”, and what are the consequences of this for retail?
In retail, two worlds have now met: digital in the form of marketplaces and, let’s call it “analog”, in the form of trawling offline stores. Both worlds strive for interpenetration, and the digital world forces the analog world to change in accordance with its own rules. Hyper-automation in this process is of key importance. Improving the quality of work in retail is the level of customer service and product quality, automation of quality control using IT tools allows you to improve the quality.
For example, control using electronic checklists allows you to raise the level of loyalty by 7% due to more precise execution of prescriptions. Pay attention to how automated labor is in the new economy: the work is very simplified for the employee, and this makes it easier to control it on the part of the company, and on the other hand, it is easier for the employee to complete the tasks.
Quality control of products and goods can be automated throughout the entire production chain, and it can be an independent objective digital control. And now it remains a difficult task, but the means available to retailers are already helping to get close to it, and here automation is moving to a new level, to the level of hyper-automation of quality control. Retail found itself in a difficult situation where speed became critical. Many wonder why the consumer suddenly began to value speed so much. After all, speed mattered to consumers in the past,
but he could easily put up with such things as waiting for an order for several days or even a week. 5-10 years ago, speed was not decisive in the competition for the consumer. What has happened in these recent years? What is the reason for the explosive growth of consumer interest in speed?
Everything can be explained simply – digitalization brought us an explosive increase in the efficiency of business processes and this, among other things, was reflected in the reduction in the delivery time of goods. Nowadays, a consumer can spend much more time going to an offline store than shopping on the Internet. So, for example, express delivery services promise to deliver goods within 10-15 minutes. Even if a consumer goes to a store located next to his house, and even if the store is located in the next entrance,
he will definitely spend more than 15 minutes there, and a trip to a hypermarket will cost him about 3 hours of loss. While the entire purchase in the online store with placing an order and receiving it is unlikely to take more than 30 minutes (we do not take into account the waiting time for the courier, because at this time the consumer can go about his business).