Top Tech Trends in Retail: IT Leaders Reveal their Biggest Priorities

Mar 30, 2016
Paige Handza

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Paige drives the global retail go-to-market strategy for VMware, aligning a consistent message from the business unit to the field and channel partners. Prior to joining VMware, Paige worked for various financial service and software organizations, where she guided sizable, cross-functional teams in the design and launch of leading products in the eCommerce and mCommerce space. She holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Denver and Master's degree in Business Administration from Salve Regina University.

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Just the other day, I was asked, “What brought you to VMware?” I was shocked when I did not have an answer right away. Don’t get me wrong; there were lots of reasons going through my VMware Retail Solutions Interactive Story Graphichead, including the great culture, integrity of the people and cutting-edge technology, to name a few. However, the question had me thinking. What was the number one reason that brought me here?

Suddenly, the answer occurred to me: The number one reason I came to VMware was our customers and their stories. I knew that if I could find a company where customer success stories were positive and uplifting, the employees and the company would also be successful.

Fast forward as I sit here today on the other side. I am proud to say these reasons have held true. We succeed only when our customers succeed, and that is why it has been our mission to empower our customers to meet their toughest technology challenges. It gives me great reward to listen, collaborate and build with our retail customers and the teams that support them here at VMware.

In fact, this past month we hosted an executive dinner in Columbus, Ohio. A small group of retail IT decision makers had a peer-to-peer discussion on the technology, mobility and security trends within the industry. This was a great opportunity to come together on anything and everything retail, especially occurring on the heels of National Retail Federation’s annual conference.

Top Trends in Retail: IT Leaders Share their Priorities

During our dinner, we heard common themes around the need to transform legacy retail infrastructures into cloud-based infrastructures that support digital strategies. Retail CIOs and IT leaders are shifting to the digital workspace.

On the grand scale, retail technology leaders are looking to enable these five priorities:

  1. Workforce optimization
  2. Digital customer engagement solutions
  3. Employee collaboration
  4. Productivity workspaces
  5. Security across all mobile and desktop environments

For retailers, this means a fundamental change in their strategic approach to technology and deployments. It also means they are looking for solution providers to help make this shift as seamless as possible. Southern States, a U.S. leader in agriculture supply and services, is leading this shift with purpose-built technology architecture designed to put the customer and user experience first.

Southern States: Innovation in Retail Technology

Southern States, based in Richmond, Virginia, is one of the largest farmer-owned agricultural southern states vmware desktop transformationsupply and service cooperatives in the U.S. The 90-year-old business supplies commercial farmers with livestock and animal feed, seed, farm fertilizers, farm supplies, bulk fuel and crop services, including information and products to grow better crops.

Southern States was looking to improve its customer experience, centralize management of point-of-sale (POS) devices, improve workspace flexibility to a work-from-anywhere model and reduce the cost of operations. VMware Horizon helps the IT department deliver virtualized desktop and applications, supporting their mission of focusing on user and customer experiences.

[Related: Managing Ruggedized Mobile Devices for Retail]

“From a security and PCI standpoint, what Horizon gave us was the ability to decouple the POS application from the endpoint device to now reside within the data center. So from an auditing perspective, it makes it a lot easier,” said Steve Tupponce, manager infrastructure delivery services, Southern States.

As a result, Southern States now has a zero-server footprint. With the ability to access business resources anytime, anywhere and on any device, sales associates enhance customer experiences with real-time quotes in the field. Horizon also requires fewer IT support staff to deliver services, while enabling a streamlined onboarding process for new employees.

“Our users have definitely become more productive. We actually now have a standard with Horizon that we’re deploying to all the endpoints,” Tupponce said. “With the old way, it was taking days, if not weeks, to onboard a new employee. We’re now able to onboard employees within one day.”

Delivering & Securing the Digital Workspace for Retail

As we continue to work with retail customers, we are constantly listening for new and improved ways to help modernize and mobilize their retail environment. This is what led us to create VMware’s Secure Digital Workspace for Retail.

Powered by VMware Workspace ONE, the Secure Digital Workspace for Retail unifies user, desktop and mobile management to enable consumer-simple experiences for retail employees. From collaborating in real time to mobilizing workflows, the Secure Digital Workspace for Retail enables secure, simple access to business applications and customer information from the right device at the right time.

[Related: Embracing Consumerization for the Digital Workspace: VMware Introduces Workspace ONE]

As we talk to retailers around the globe and listen to their accomplishments and challenges, we are here to support them with the tools and resources they need to make their vision a reality.

For more information about VMware’s solutions for retail, please visit vmware.com/industry/retail/overview.

To speak to a VMware retail specialist about how you can enhance customer engagements, empower associates and modernize operations, simply fill out the form here.

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