The new Microsoft Cloud for Retail is enabling real-time communication and collaboration between frontline workers at retail businesses across Asia-Pacific, according to Microsoft. The solution is also allowing them to better manage inventory, access stock and supply chain data seamlessly from mobile devices, and more.
“With Microsoft Cloud for Retail now generally available for retail customers, I’m optimistic we’ll be able to support our retail customers even better so they can empower frontline employees, ensure their well-being and productivity, and ultimately deliver better customer experiences,” said Raj Raguneethan, regional business lead in retail and consumer goods at Microsoft Asia, in a Microsoft blog post.
Microsoft has collaborated with businesses across Asia-Pacific such as Australian retailer Coles and Hong Kong-based Japanese lifestyle department store Yata to help improve employee productivity. Coles has used Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Teams to develop a team member engagement platform so that its 120,000 employees can interact with each other to recognise achievements.
“We’ve listened to our team and worked with Microsoft to develop the new platform,” said Kevin Gunn, executive general manager of central operations and transformation at Coles. “[It] will provide a simple, secure way to connect, to swap shifts, check payslips, and access internal communications, procedures, and training solutions that our team members use each day to do their jobs so well.”
Yata has made use of Microsoft Dynamics 365 to improve access to data for its employees. Real-time stock updates and alerts on food items and perishable foods has improved inventory management.
“Our enhanced data capability has opened up a real-time stream of invaluable business insight to deliver new levels of store and network-wide operational and financial visibility,” said Susanna Wong, CEO at Yata.
Microsoft has also recorded a 338 per cent increase in the number of frontline retailer workers using Teams between March 2020 and November 2021, with many using it to streamline their tasks, control work schedules, and improve productivity by reducing the time spent on menial tasks. Teams has also strengthened connections between team members and employers.
“Empowering frontline workers with access to the right data and digital tools can make their jobs easier, reduce stress, and create more time for them to spend on higher-impact tasks like looking after customers,” said Raguneethan. “Technology can also help businesses create more meaningful connections with team members, provide more satisfying jobs, and improve staff retention.”