Technology Record - Issue 30: Autumn 2023

180 data from multiple sources across the supply chain and collaborate with partners to act on the insights this information delivers. “They’re unable to gain access to these insights using traditional supply chain models because all the data is trapped in silos and disconnected systems,” says Miller. “Instead, they must create an agile, customer-centric supply chain of services.” Miller recommends that retailers and CG companies build an interconnected, cloudbased digital ecosystem with integrated artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. “Data, cloud and AI provide the foundational tools for agile, resilient and sustainable supply chains,” she says. “Composable applications built on cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure or Microsoft Cloud for Retail connect systems and data across the entire supply chain. This provides retailers and CG companies with the end-to-end visibility they need to optimise operations and drive innovation, operational efficiencies, and more. “Meanwhile, AI and machine learning can analyse data at scale to help organisations rapidly identify trends so they can orchestrate automated responses to anticipated changes in demand or bottlenecks in the supply chain to meet customer demand in every sales channel.” These tools can also help to establish a framework for flexible order fulfilment based on the availability of stock in a given location. “If, for instance, a product is out of stock at a warehouse but available at a store near a customer’s house, retailers can fulfil the order from the store instead and ensure it is still delivered within the requisite time period,” says Miller. Microsoft collaborates closely with an extensive ecosystem of partners to help deliver the industry-specific solutions retailers and CG companies need to build agile, sustainable and resilient supply chains. “Our strategic partnerships are built on the principle of co-innovation and are underpinned by a strong go-to-market alignment that enables our customers to maximise the value of their Microsoft technology investments to fuel supply chain transformation,” says Miller. “One key partner is Blue Yonder, which won Microsoft Partner of the Year for our Worldwide Retail and Consumer Goods Group in 2023 and is also an Industry Prioritized Partner. Blue FEATURE “ Retailers and CG companies need to be able to anticipate how market trends and customers’ demands will evolve” Photo: Microsoft Data, AI and cloud technologies enable retailers to gather data at warehouses and share it across the supply chain to ensure they can fulfil orders easily