With the seemingly endless series of acronyms and abbreviations that are constantly bandied about in the retail technology sphere, it can be difficult to keep up. Global analytics firm Forrester’s latest report speaks of a transition away from antiquated Enterprise Resource Planning systems to the more modern, flexible alternative of the Digital Operations Platform.
‘While ERP systems of the past have been largely inflexible, expensive to upgrade, and poorly suited to modern digital businesses, we now see the beginning of a new era of operations technology, which Forrester defines as the digital operations platform.’
So, what exactly is a Digital Operations Platform? And how can this shift in operations technology benefit your business?
A digital operations platform is a core application or software that will allow your business to adapt production and supply chains to meet customer expectations. Not only this, but it will also give you the capability to implement and measure the success of new pricing models, whilst improving productivity via the power of automation.
It is a centralized system by which you can manage everything from your stock levels in the warehouse, to your relationships with customers, adjusting your business plan according to real time reporting and business intelligence.
When implemented and utilized correctly the benefits of a DOP are numerous, here are some of the positive impacts it could have on your business model.
By harnessing the power of automation you can improve your productivity and empower your employees. Automating time consuming and repetitive workflows will free up your employees to focus their time on other more challenging tasks, and a centralized platform will reduce data silos between different areas of the business.
A Better Customer Experience
The correct DOP can be the ideal foundation on which you learn to improve your customer’s experience. Be that via a dedicated Customer Relationship Management solution via which you can improve customer service and form better relationships with your customer as a result of more target marketing – or, by virtue of automated shipping integrations and a dedicated WMS that reduces delivery time and eliminates stock handling error.
Making Your Data do the Work
As the old saying goes, knowledge is power, and as a modern day business you have a lot of it at your fingertips. A DOP can help you collate and analyse this data in order to make strategic decisions in real time.
For example, aggregated sales & finance data can serve as the basis for a new pricing model (which you can then track & measure as it is implemented) and an inventory management module will enable you to make data driven purchasing decisions to more accurately manage your stock and supply chain.
The DOP removes much of the guesswork when it comes to forecasting demand, anticipating customer reaction to changes in pricing, and assessing the effectiveness of new business strategies.
Integrating Your Business
A business is a complex entity, lots of moving parts and plenty of points along the way that workflows can become disrupted.
A DOP will aid overall organisational cohesion, firstly via the aforementioned centralized interface, but secondly via integrations with other suppliers. Particularly in the retail space, it is imperative that you select a DOP that can integrate with your existing supply chain, such as Shopify for ecommerce, Parcelhub for shipping & fulfilment and Klaviyo for marketing.
Once you have a solution that works well with the existing aspects of your business model, you will have a holistic view of your supply chain, that runs smoothly, and can be easily modified!
If you’re looking for further reading on Digital Operations Platforms then our Retail Tech Stack Report will give you an insightful overview of technology investment in the US retail landscape, and help you discern which parts of your business could benefit from new technology. The aforementioned Forrester report also provides useful information on the DOP’s currently available in the marketplace.