Managed Service Strategy Provides Multiple Advantages

Lois Kemp, VP global services marketing for NCR Corp.,

How does NCR define managed services in the retail environment?

Managed services providers offer retailers a single, 24/7 point of contact that is accountable for monitoring store infrastructure and providing high availability of assets. This is critical to improve operations, control overall IT infrastructure costs and offer consumers a positive experience.

What is going on in retail today that has caused retailers to adopt a managed service strategy?

Many retailers now differentiate themselves on the customer experience. Consumers also shop differently today. They interact with retailers across many channels and want a seamless experience from start to finish. To offer the seamless, multichannel experience that consumers demand, retail CIOs need to reliably and cost-effectively converge their digital and physical channels, while navigating the complexity a multivendor, multichannel IT environment creates. 

What is the biggest advantage that managed services brings retailers?

You gain a single point of contact. With one company managing the retail infrastructure, looking at the big picture and acting as a single point of accountability, disruptions can quickly be resolved, rather than bouncing from vendor to vendor, playing the blame game. This also means you can gain invaluable continuous process improvement ideas from a trusted partner who intimately knows your business.

In what other ways do retailers benefit?
Managed services providers offer retailers the ability to improve operational efficiency and enhance the customer experience. Today, retailers must cater to the needs of time-starved consumers who want to move in and out of a store as quickly as possible, without any disruptions. Retailers can meet this customer demand by increasing technology uptime, meaning fewer customers are affected by technology failures and will be more likely to come back, increasing customer loyalty. 

How do you think the managed services provider landscape for retailers will change during the next five to 10 years?

Retail is in the midst of a service evolution. Service was previously viewed as respond and restore … how fast will you respond, when will it be fixed. We are now moving to an environment of proactive prediction, where service interruptions can be forecast and fixed before they hit. New functionality that will improve the retailer’s business is also being delivered faster, in an easy, simplified manner. SaaS, Infrastructure as a Service and other software-driven innovations will fuel this evolution.

What should retailers look for when they are seeking a managed services provider?

Scale and having a culture built around continuous improvement are essential. For scale, can your vendor keep up with your growth internationally, particularly in emerging markets, and can they ramp up and down during peak periods? For continuous improvement, is your provider giving you a multi-year plan to continuously improve your environment and sharing best practices? Your managed services provider should sit at the table with you when you are making infrastructure purchasing decisions and benchmark your company against industry best practices. This provides retailers with a strategic process improvement plan — based on continuous improvement — to optimize retail infrastructure and maximize technology investments. 

What point(s) of differentiation does NCR bring to managed services? 

NCR is a global leader in managed services, with more than 125 years of experience supporting some of the largest retailers in the world. In fact, NCR was recently ranked No. 8 on the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals’ 2011 “Global Outsourcing 100” list. NCR is the only managed service provider to offer Predictive Services, the first offering for self-service devices that can predict failures before they happen. NCR Interactive Insight is also a huge value-add for retailers, which is one of the world’s largest databases of services information.

Login or Register to post a comment.