Reasons to outsource IT in retail
The most popular reasons to consider IT Outsourcing? As discussed in the IT Outsourcing Study Europe 15/16, cost reduction is the most important driver for organisations planning to increase the level of IT Outsourcing within their organisation (64%), followed by focus on core business (57%), improvement of service quality (47%) and access to resources (45%).
In retail, the benefits are much more focussed on the retailers’ day to day operations, and future strategy.
Empowering the CIO role beyond day-to-day IT
Retail IT Directors and CIOs are retail’s most indispensable multi-taskers; required to focus on their consumers’ wants and needs, their organisation’s core competencies, and most importantly – which innovations must be implemented to keep customers coming back for more.
When retailers measure the tactical benefits of using an outsourced IT partner, they should not ignore the value that comes from being able to release the CIO to focus on strategic business growth.
For an IT Director, outsourcing not only relieves them of non-essential duties, but also provides time to focus on critical technology developments which might otherwise have been neglected. It releases him or her from the daily management of services to managing a few key individuals within an IT Outsourcing partnership.
CIOs and IT Directors should look upon this as the chance to improve their credibility as a business enabler and adopt a new field of vision.
When Retail Assist transitioned Coast, Oasis, Karen Millen and Warehouse’s IT department to allow its IT Director to focus on business growth strategy, outsourcing was achieved with no job losses, and saved 30% of their IT costs. You can download the case study here.
Making IT more efficient to fulfil growing consumer demand
Today’s omnichannel supply chain retailing operations – buying and merchandising, product information management, allocation and replenishment, fulfilment and delivery – are more important than they have ever been. Consumers today are accustomed to buying anywhere, anytime, anyplace, expecting to view where items are in stock, expecting faultless and consistent delivery, and setting the bar higher with each experience.
IT processes are the engine that powers these mechanics. So, as more is asked of retailers, naturally they should expect more of their IT department. But is the in-house team fit for purpose, and is the resource scalable with business growth?
Many retailers outsource to manage key functions such as a Help Desk for store-based and office-based staff, a Data Centre environment where hardware and systems are hosted by a third-party, the development of new technology, and project management of new IT infrastructures and systems. If the outsourced provider is well-selected, expert understanding and hands-on experience of retail can also be provided.
So, why dedicate costly in-house resources to these areas when an expert can offer a consistent service with focussed and skilled resources, scalable to flex and grow as required, and offering more cost-effectiveness by sharing the service across a number of retailers?
Our customer Best Food Logistics, has chosen selective IT Outsourcing to benefit their operations. Cindy Howarth, Director of IT at Best Food Logistics explains: “The selective outsourcing model we have chosen allows the team here to concentrate on our core competencies. Although Best Food is in the logistics sector, IT is a key driver of our business. Working with a specialist company such as Retail Assist allows Best Food Logistics to retain a competitive edge by enabling us to be agile and meet the demands of our internal and external customers.”
Apart from cost savings, outsourcing core services to an accredited partner and releasing IT’s main champion to shape your organisation’s future are a couple of the hidden benefits of retail IT Outsourcing. Get in touch with us here for more information.