Agile, accurate decision making ability is key to retailers’ success
By Jaco Barnard, Head of Retail at Wipro Ltd, South Africa
Edited by Nye Longman
Today’s retail environment is progressively dynamic; with increased competition, higher customer expectations and a growing number of customer engagement channels, the need for business agility has never been more critical. Hindsight is no longer sufficient, as competitive advantage is driven by those retailers who are able to respond better and faster to the demands of customers and to rapid shifts in the market.
Whilst many retailers have invested in analytics solutions, the perceived challenge of big data means that these tools are not being utilised to their full potential. With data being generated faster than ever before from an increasing number of sources, many of them outside of the traditional structured channels, reactive analytics such as Business Intelligence (BI) and after the fact reporting do not provide the required level of insights.
Successful retailers demonstrate that strategies driven by analytics deliver strong and measurable results. However the point to be noted is that while technology is essential for tapping into big data to generate valuable insights, it alone is not sufficient. Truly leveraging predictive capability requires a shift in mind-set and the integration of analytics-based processes and culture throughout the enterprise.
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Predictive analytics delivers insights that would not otherwise be available to retailers, enabling them to act on accurate information with enhanced decision-making ability. It allows companies to extract historical information and identify patterns based on an action taken or event that has occurred. This information can then be used as a benchmark for future decisions; an analytics driven environment can aid retailers in maintaining and driving customer relationships.
Such insights can be used to develop changes in the business strategy leading to dramatic improvements and profitability. This includes a number of operational benefits, like improved margins, enhanced levels of customer satisfaction, and increased market share. In addition, predictive analytics offers a number of tactical advantages, such as improved planning accuracy, higher customer retention and enhanced conversion to sales for advertising and promotional spend.
In a data intensive retail market, insight is the singular driver of competitive advantage and analytics is integral in delivering this insight. Without the ability to make accurate forecasts and enable agile decision-making, retailers will not be able to serve/satisfy the evolving consumer demands, and will eventually lose out to the competition that is able to do so. Retailers that are empowered to leverage and embrace the power of predictive analytics and big data to gain insights, will be well prepared to deal with the challenges of a dynamic business environment.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.