Let’s Tech it Out: Retail Tech Vision 2030


January 19, 2024 | By RetailME Bureau

CIO’s Conclave at SRF 2023

Post-pandemic, CIOs in retail have become the unsung heroes, turning tech wizardry into lifelines for businesses adrift in digital seas. They’re the new alchemists we need to thrive in the new normal. And that’s why we got a few of them together at the Saudi Retail Forum 2023 to unlock KSA’s digital secrets for growth and success.

To set the stage right, Piyush Chowhan, CIO, Panda Retail Company who was also the moderator for the session mentioned that digital transformation is the mood of the moment across the globe, and it is all about fulfilling every company’s vision of digital transformation through the right tech implementation and that’s where the role of the CIO becomes extremely vital. Sharing this thought he opened the panel for discussion with the panelists and here’s some key thoughts shared by the esteemed panelists.

Sunil Nair, CTIO, CENOMI Group mentioned, “Digital transformation is the key to growth and the retail sector in the region is fast adapting to this trend by strategising to make digital a part of their big picture and growth plans. Saudi’s growing economy is conducive of this digital growth, and it helps fuel rapid transformation. So, it is important to become a change agent and maneuver the shores with digitally empowered outlook.”

Faisal Parkar Director of IT, Tim Hortons added, “We must look at technology implementation and digital transformation from a holistic viewpoint. Just thinking about technology to facilitate online business is not the right approach. Rather we must look at technology for implementation at both online and offline platforms. Taking a unified approach to technology is crucial to enable all touchpoints and the customer to help a retail brand stand out and rule in this digital-first world.”

Evgeny Chernikov, COO, YANGOTECH touched upon a very important aspect and said, “Attracting the right talent is primal to growth of the retail ecosystem and when a good team is put together, they can help with the implementation process and support to drive the technology growth with full success. KSA is attracting a lot of workforce and helping grow the retail segment in the country with knowledge. This is a vital pillar for digital transformation as omnichannel know-how helps with right implementations and fuels big growth.”

Taking a leap from this thought Mustafa Khanwala, Founder and CEO, Mishipay mentioned, “The need or aspiration to become an omnichannel player is constant and what is interesting to note is that more than 80% retailers are looking to turn the omni-way and all they need at this point is support to change. But considering the varied use cases and the umpteen things to reflect when building customer facing frontend and backend it is important to align technology across the entire ecosystem in a connected way so that seamlessness and personalisation stay intact across all touchpoints.”

Rami Younes, General Manager & Head of Sales, Swisslog in order to show the power of technology mentioned, “Technology implementation has to be done keeping the need and the outcome in mind. It is not possible to assume and work towards bringing in technology that just solves one thing. It is important to look at the whole end to end requirement and then bring in technology to offer a solution that works to offer long-term benefits. Working in isolation will not help, rather understanding the customer and the business model and then making sure that the right technology solution is brought in is very important.”

Rachid Labrik, Vice President, Slimstock touched upon the role of data and said, “Data is a big part of technology implementations and activating and using the data the right way helps to maximise customer journeys. Data-led approach that empowers customer journeys across touchpoints helps a brand to build the right conversation with customers. While on the one hand data can be collected from multiple touchpoints, it can also be used in multiple ways to activate new marketing techniques.”

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