Apple and IBM announced an exclusive deal that will introduce new business apps to the iPhone and iPad. The enterprise-specific apps for Apple's iOS will be aimed at companies in the retail, healthcare and transportation industries, among others.
Apple and IBM are embarking on a new partnership intended to boost enterprise mobility through a new class of business apps that brings IBM's big data and analytics capabilities to iOS devices.
Inventory management and predictive analytics software, in-store mobile device integration and e-commerce solutions are the biggest technology priorities for independent brick-and-mortar retailers, according to the first annual Retail Tech Forecast from LightSpeed.
Target continues to build out its IT department with the addition of three big hires including Jim Fisher, the new senior VP of infrastructure and operations and Target technology services.
Bot visits to websites were up 21 percent in 2013 and accounted for 61.5 percent of all Web traffic. It's an alarming statistic as bot fraud not only costs marketers billions of dollars annually, it can create trust issues between shoppers and e-commerce sites.
Global spending on IT is on track to reach $3.7 trillion in 2014, a 2.1 percent increase from last year. That growth, however, is slower than in 2013, primarily because of a reduction in growth expectations for devices, data center systems and, to some extent, IT services. "Price pressure based on increased competition, lack of product differentiation and the increased availability of viable alternative solutions has had a dampening effect on the short-term IT spending outlook," said Richard Gordon, managing VP, Gartner. "However, 2015 through 2018 will see a return to 'normal' spending growth levels as pricing and purchasing styles reach a new equilibrium. IT is entering its third phase of development, moving from a focus on technology and processes in the past to a focus in the future on new business models enabled by digitalization." Slower spending contradicts statements made by retail IT executives earlier this year, when the emphasis on omnichannel, mobile and data security seemed to be investment priorities. But a closer look reveals that spending is in line with retailers' new priorities.
Following Walmart's lead, Target launched an Accelerator Program in India, which leverages brilliant minds for the next big tech ideas, according to the retailer. Two years ago, WalmartLabs invested in Bangalore's tech talent to build a global e-commerce platform. Similarly, Tesco, the UK's largest retailer, has a technology center in Bangalore to build global solutions. Target executives expect that the technology ideas from Bangalore will change customer engagement in the U.S. "The Indian operation of Target is not a back office, and the accelerator program showcases that India has talent to solve global problems in the retail market," Navneet Kapoor, CEO of Target India, told BusinessWorld. Target's program, launched early this year, focused on small startups that were charged with bringing innovative ideas to Target across five key areas: search, content, data, social and mobile. Hundreds of startups applied to the program, but only five were selected and given the opportunity to develop their ideas at Target's Bangalore office with access to mentors, tools, resources and operational support.
Target has formed a digital advisory group to assist as it tries to fight back from the very damaging data breach and mismanaged Canadian market entry. The Minneapolis-based retailer has enlisted technology executives from outside the traditional retail space to help chart a path along its digital transformation. Pointing to a recent Deloitte study identifying digital interactions with brands as influencing more than $1 trillion in retail sales, Target has declared digital transformation one of its top three priorities. "We need to accelerate our digital transformation and become a leading omnichannel retailer," said interim CEO John Mulligan during a recent earnings call. "To do this, we will move quickly to become more flexible in how we serve our guests, eliminating barriers that prevent them from shopping with us where and when they want." The council consists of four leaders from tech companies: Match.com CEO and OkCupid founder Sam Yagan, Orbitz Worldwide's Roger Liew, Bain Capital Ventures' Ajay Agarwal and Accompani CEO/former Google Analytics lead Amy Chang.
Everything about Alibaba is massive. The size of its market, the total number of sales, its growth prospects and even the retailer's role as technology provider. As the Chinese retailer prepares for an initial public offering, it's worth taking a deeper look at how Alibaba could use that cash to influence advanced retail technology in the United States. It's hard to rival Alibaba in sheer size. The online retailer sold $248 billion in goods and services last year, processed 11.3 billion orders and moved roughly 5 billion packages across a sophisticated and efficient delivery network. Among its listed strengths, Alibaba management identifies a scaleable logistics platform for sellers in its marketplace; owned data and insights from billions of transactions and marketplace sellers; and proprietary technology designed to handle large volume transactions.
The growing Internet of Things will bring new opportunities and challenges, not the least of which will be increased spending in retail IT and advanced security concerns.