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Doing More with Less: Navigating the Balance of Growth and Efficiency at the Retail Assist Client Summit 2023

  • 3rd October 2023

Written by Andréa Williams, Head of Marketing

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The Retail Assist Client Summit 2023 brought together industry leaders and experts from the retail technology sector. The summit’s theme, “Doing More with Less: Navigating the Balance of Growth and Efficiency,” aimed to explore innovative strategies and solutions to help businesses thrive in today’s evolving landscape.

We’ve rounded up the key moments and insights from the summit in our highlights video. Discover key takeaways, panel discussions, and invaluable networking opportunities that made this summit a must-see for technology professionals.

Watch the video on YouTube here.

Keynote Speech: Julian Burnett

Julian Burnett, NED, Board Advisor, Growth Investor, and Former Digital and Tech Leader, kicked off the summit by discussing the role of smart technology. He provided insightful analysis of the challenges and opportunities faced by retailers in achieving the delicate balance between reduced resources and increased efficiency. Julian emphasised the importance of leveraging smart technology to optimise processes and adapt to changing consumer behaviors for sustainable growth.

  Julian presented four key reasons to consider implementing smart technology:

  1. If your employees spend excessive time on repetitive tasks.
  2. If you need more personnel to meet annual increases in business goals.
  3. If you lack adequate resources to respond to customer requests.
  4. If you want to scale the expertise of your best performers.

Watch Julian’s keynote speech here.

Fireside Chat: Maryanne Fleming

Maryanne Fleming, an industry expert with extensive experience, shared valuable insights during her conversation with Julian. They discussed topics such as simplifying technology, upgrading systems and processes, and the future of the IT department.

Key takeaways from Julian’s interview with Maryanne were:

  • Avoid creating new legacy debt by adhering to outdated standards.
  • Simplicity is key, but it can be more challenging for older organisations with significant legacy debt.
  • Technology serves as an enabler, but it cannot fix processes that are not optimised. Improve processes before replacing systems.
  • Differentiate yourself from competitors through the quality of your products. Learn from successful retailers to understand what sets them apart.

Watch Maryanne’s interview here.

Panel Discussion: Miya Knights

Miya Knights, a retail technology analyst, editor, author, and consultant, led a panel discussion on using technological transformation to build resilient businesses. The panelists included Vicki Lawrence, Head of Service Delivery at Seasalt, Scott Watson, Managing Director at Barron McCann, and Kieran Bowden, Chief Commercial Officer at Retail Assist.

The panel explored the following questions:

  • How does digital and tech enable transformation and build resilience in businesses?
  • What is the impact of cost versus sustainable growth in transformation plans?
  • How does automation contribute to business resilience?
  • How should physical outlets evolve to support more resilient operations?

Kieran Bowden highlighted that businesses experience two types of resilience: one within their control and one beyond their control. Scott Watson added that resilience can involve maintaining the status quo as much as it does moving forward.

Watch the panel discussion here and download the round-up here.

Discussion Room: Digital Transformation Projects

As technology continually evolves, most businesses are undergoing some form of digital transformation. However, statistics from Deloitte indicate a concerning 70% failure rate for these projects. Understanding why digital transformations fail is crucial to achieving success.
During a roundtable discussion, we examined the five most common reasons for digital transformation project failures and discussed the significant skills gap that contributes to these failures. The discussion explored the pros and cons of outsourcing, insourcing, and upskilling workforces, and how these choices impact digital transformation success.

Discussion Room: Navigating Cloud Technologies

Tony Sherwin, Head of Technology and Security at Retail Assist, led a roundtable discussion on cloud-smart strategies. The discussion focused on the paradigm shift towards Cloud-Smart UEM (User Endpoint Management) and its potential to revolutionise endpoint management processes. By leveraging cloud technology, Cloud-Smart UEM offers streamlined operations, enhanced flexibility, scalability, robust security, and improved employee productivity. Embracing Cloud-Smart UEM will undoubtedly drive efficiency, agility, and success as organisations navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Read more in our blog, ‘Unleashing Cloud-Smart UEM: The Future of Efficient Endpoint Management.’

Retail Assist Update: Kevin Greathead

Kevin Greathead, Managing Director at Retail Assist, provided an update on the business’s activities over the past 12 months. Highlights included award nominations, new customers, new contracts, project work, and insights into what it’s like working at Retail Assist.

Networking Opportunities

In addition to the knowledge-sharing sessions, the Retail Assist Client Summit provided ample networking opportunities for attendees to connect and collaborate. The event featured dedicated networking breaks, interactive sessions, and a drinks event sponsored by Barron McCann, facilitating valuable interactions between retailers, solution providers, and industry experts.

The Retail Assist Client Summit serves as a powerful platform for retailers to gain valuable insights, share best practices, and explore innovative solutions to navigate industry challenges. With a focus on leveraging technology, data, and collaboration, we aim to provide our customers with the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in today’s ever-evolving retail landscape.

Couldn’t attend this year’s Summit? Head over to our LinkedIn page and blog posts for session coverage and detailed insights.


  • 3rd October 2023

Written by Andréa Williams, Head of Marketing

Add me on LinkedIn

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