Technology Record - Issue 23: Winter 21/22

161 supply chains, sustainability, or cybersecurity, we’re seeing incredible innovation through digital technology.” Data is also playing a pivotal role in empowering retailers to identify and capitalise on opportunities for transforming the way they operate and deliver products, services and experiences to customers. “Petabytes upon petabytes of data are generated every hour – it’s essentially the demand signal for the world,” says Bransten. “No asset is of more strategic importance in today’s retail industry than data.” Now that the volume, velocity and variety of data is growing, it is becoming more difficult for retailers to make sense of the information they collect. However, it is critical for them to find ways to mine it for actionable insights, says Bransten. “Retailers that are able to collect data and use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies to extract valuable insights from that information can transform every aspect of their business,” she explains. “It helps them to streamline operations, improve employee productivity run efficient predictive marketing, understand customer behaviour and feedback, find new customers, and much more. Microsoft partner Blue Yonder, for example, used Microsoft AI technologies to help its customers find alternate sources for $500 million worth of products and parts when a 1,300-foot ship blocked the Suez Canal in Egypt for 10 days inMarch 2021, disrupting global shipping supply chains. Meanwhile, multinational coffeehouse chain Starbucks used AI technology to build Deep Brew, an in-house solution that analyses vast amounts of data to help the business identify opportunities for boosting operational efficiency. “Starbucks’ use of data and AI is really impressive,” says Bransten. “Deep Brew combines “No asset is of more strategic importance in today’s retail industry than data” R E TA I L & C PG