Technology Record - Issue 31: Winter 2023

151 stock information directly onto their device, which is automatically sent back to the relevant channels,” says Treacy. “This allows workers to visit multiple stores in one day without having to communicate over fax and email or needing to return to head office to report back in person.” When developing these digital solutions, organisations must be aware of the generational diversity that may be present across the employee base. “Someone who is 60 years old and still working in retail may not be as technically efficient as someone who is in their 20s,” says Pennington. “You have to make sure that your applications work for the lowest common denominator.” It is also important for organisations to consider the accessibility needs of their workforce, for example by providing adjustments for those who are colour blind or text-tospeech support. Kyndryl can help organisations develop their apps based on the needs of the users. “We have our own accessibility guidelines, but we also use the built-in tools that Microsoft provides for Power Platform as well as an accessibility checker that highlights elements such as colour and missing captions.” says Treacy. “We can also bring in a user interface expert to design the app in a way that works for your employees. Ultimately, if your app has been designed correctly, you shouldn’t need to provide any additional training.” With the growing popularity of artificial intelligence, retailers are increasingly expecting that the technology will help them to reduce the burden for workers. “At Microsoft, we’re doing a lot of great work in generative AI, and whilst a lot of retailers may see this and want to get involved, what they first need to consider is the potential use cases and the return on investment that will be generated,” says Pennington. Treacy agrees, stating: “Right now, the best use of AI for frontline workers is through Microsoft Copilot Studio. This allows organisations to develop chat bots that can be used by employees to ask questions such as ‘where can I find this item in the stock room?’” Organisations that are unsure whether they are ready for AI can also take part in Kyndryl’s Microsoft 365 Copilot envisioning workshop, which helps them to determine the steps they need to take to start implementing AI, develop a plan for improving skills and address concerns and potential risk factors. “We rely on organisations like Kyndryl to bridge the gap for organisational change,” says Pennington. “If an organisation implements a technology and it doesn’t work as expected, then Kyndryl can step in and help.” RETAIL & CG “ You have to make sure that your applications work for the lowest common denominator” NOEL PENNINGTON, MICROSOFT Photo: iStock/Drazen Zigic