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Data and Tech: The future of commerce is connected

Kees Jacobs
Jul 25, 2023

Part 3: Embed data within the business

Welcome to the third part of this initial blog series on the future of commerce and the role of data and technology. In the earlier parts, we discussed the impact of channel-less commerce, the need for connected capabilities, the significance of data-driven competencies and value, and the importance of managing data foundations, data collaboration and composable technology architectures. In this final part, we will focus more on data cultures and business-transformational data journeys at scale.

Data-driven competencies: From data adhocracy to data democracy

Data and technology are critical for executing end-to-end connected commerce capabilities and navigating the evolving consumer goods and retail landscapes. Companies need to develop next-level data and technology competencies, ensuring that (real-time) intelligence is embedded in every business decision, operational action, and consumer touchpoint. From experiences with our clients, I know that most companies have made progress in this area through omnichannel initiatives, and often have some strong ‘pockets of excellence’, but there is still a need to further democratize data capabilities across the whole organization. Successful data masters have both the foundational data infrastructure to make data and insights accessible and the right data behaviors to leverage data for business impact at scale.

Data culture: The hearts and minds

Ultimately, while data and technology professionals play a crucial role, I clearly see that the responsibility of data ownership and value creation should be more prominently extended to business users. A data-driven culture shift is necessary for success in a data-driven era. This requires addressing the hearts and minds of employees across various functions, such as category managers, supply chain operators, store staff, and B2B sales teams. Integration of data within business processes, breaking down silos, transparency in efficiency and effectiveness measures, and fostering open innovation are all essential elements of a data culture. Investing in new skills, both technical and soft, is crucial for driving business outcomes and working in multidisciplinary teams.

The transformational data journey: Towards the end-to-end game

To embark on a successful data-driven connected commerce journey, I see three pillars to be most critical: intelligence activation within the business, orchestration for scale across the organisation, and appropriate data and technology enablement. Intelligence activation involves embedding data, AI, and analytics at the heart of business operations and decision-making, demonstrating concrete business value. Orchestration for scale requires a balanced approach that combines centralized and local capabilities, as well as skilled talent and automation. Data enablement ensures the proper management of data platforms, data quality, governance, and collaboration.

The approach: Think big, start small, scale fast

Achieving maturity on these three dimensions simultaneously is essential for unlocking the full potential of data-driven commerce. We have good experiences by integrating all 3 dimensions in so-called ‘hothouses’, bringing together the data and tech capability with business processes and cultural change to help embed analytics into core processes and your people’s work. Multi-disciplinary teams (with T-shaped profiles) are focused on demonstrating real business value (with rapid learning cycles from proven benefits) while building the blue-print for accelerated scaling and enabling the fit-for-purpose data and technology tooling.

Where is your company on this journey? A few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you see measurable value from data across your end-to-end business?
  2. Are you managing your underlying data foundations accordingly?
  3. Are you effectively scaling up, taking advantage of new innovations – and do you run your data and analytics engine efficiently?

The future of commerce belongs to those who can harness the power of data and technology. Embracing channel-less commerce, leveraging connected capabilities, and cultivating a data-driven culture are crucial steps for success.

By tapping into various data sources, collaborating within ecosystems, and leveraging advanced analytics, companies can gain valuable insights and deliver personalized experiences to consumers. Investing in data foundations, adopting composable tech architectures, and focusing on the hearts and minds of employees will further accelerate the transformation towards a data-driven era of commerce. It’s time for companies to embrace the opportunities presented by data and technology and position themselves at the forefront of the evolving consumer goods and retail landscape.

This was the last part of this blog series. We will further elaborate on the various topics mentioned in subsequent blog series – stay tuned for those.

The bottom line: The future of commerce is connected, and it’s essential for companies to embrace it!

Meet the author

Kees Jacobs

Consumer Products & Retail Global Insights & Data Lead, Capgemini
Kees is Capgemini’s overall Global Consumer Products and Retail sector thought leader. He has more than 25 years’ experience in this industry, with a track record in a range of strategic digital and data-related B2C and B2B initiatives at leading retailers and manufacturers. Kees is also responsible for Capgemini’s strategic relationship with The Consumer Goods Forum and a co-author of many thought leadership reports, including Reducing Consumer Food Waste in the Digital Era.