The retail industry is lagging behind other sectors in several key areas of technology innovation including security provision. That’s according to new research commissioned by KCOM, the IT services provider. The poll of business leaders and decision-makers in Government, financial services, retail, healthcare, transport and logistics found that retailers will give less priority and budget to digital transformation initiatives compared to other industries.
Just over a third (36%) of retailers said they plan to make digital transformation a priority in the next 12 months compared to an average of 43% across other vertical sectors. Meanwhile, a quarter of retailers (26%) spend at least 20% of their IT budgets on innovation projects compared to the average of 32% in other business verticals.
The survey captured the opinions of business leaders and C-Suite decision-makers – including CEOs and CTOs – from no less than 250 organisations
Innovation is key to the retail sector as it struggles to cope with the impact of e-tailing and uncertain consumer spending. However, KCOM warns that the research shows a worrying complacency within the industry. Retailers (ie 74% of those questioned for the survey) are slightly more likely to invest in new technologies than the average (71%). Yet the sector lags significantly behind others when it comes to the adoption of identity management services and integration technologies that synchronise data between disparate systems.
“Security and integration are key technologies for the retail industry, ensuring as they do that businesses have a comprehensive understanding of their customers across every touchpoint and protect their sensitive data,” said James Schofield, retail consultant at KCOM. “While retail is doing slightly better than average when it comes to embracing cloud native applications and understanding the importance of investing in employee training, retailers simply cannot afford to delay investment in the technologies that will transform the customer experience and ensure that they remain relevant to a new generation of spenders.”
Schofield continued: “Like business leaders in other sectors, retailers shouldn’t have to do this by themselves. By partnering with a full-service technology provider, they can benefit from advice and consultancy that will help them to deliver meaningful innovation. Retailers don’t appear to be harnessing this third party expertise, with just 6% of those businesses questioned in our study saying that they use external consultants to help them with the innovation process. This makes it more likely that they will arrive at uninformed choices.”
*To read the full KCOM report entitled ‘Clearing The Path For Innovation’ click here