Technology Record - Issue 27: Winter 2022

162 F E ATUR E says Bransten. “For example, Microsoft partnered with TCS to help US pharmacy chain Walgreens create an intelligent data platform that can handle a peak of 40,000 transactions per second. This allows prescription dispenses that previously took 48 hours to reach Walgreens’ data warehouse to be updated in minutes, optimising inventory ordering and improving patient care.” Bransten hopes that this type of innovation will become more common as retailers take control of their data and build more agile, flexible and resilient operating models. “None of us have a crystal ball, and given everything that has happened since the start of 2020, it’s difficult to look too far into the future,” she explains. “What I will say though is that retail is a bellwether, whether it be for customer sentiment, the future of work or for the broader economy at large. Major headwinds like inflation, rising energy prices, labour shortages and supply chain pain look set to continue for the foreseeable future. And that’s why retailers are asking us how they can use digital technology to ‘do more with less’. “While the future may look uncertain for many of us, it’s clear that flexibility, compassion and modern digital tools are going to be the seedlings for success.” We asked selected Microsoft partners how they are using Microsoft technology to help retailers and consumer goods businesses to overcome supply chain and other operational challenges so they can become more resilient, profitable and competitive Partner perspectives “As a leader in supply chain and commerce, Blue Yonder has built mission-critical solutions on Microsoft Azure, available in Microsoft Cloud for Retail. Our solutions include strategic planning, demand forecasting, labour management, logistics execution and omnichannel fulfilment, as well as manufacturing supply chain planning and end-to-end solutions. Retailers and consumer goods companies can leverage these solutions across their enterprises. Blue Yonder Luminate solutions in forecasting, allocation and replenishment, for example, enable organisations to respond to the changing dynamics of the two highest expense components of the retail business – inventory and labour. These capabilities provide retailers with a competitive advantage in managing their business successfully and achieving long-term customer loyalty.” Shannon Wu-Lebron Corporate Vice President and Senior Vice President, Retail Industry Strategy, Blue Yonder