SPECS Preview: Technology Maintains Your Retail Operations

In recent years, the retail industry’s view of technology has expanded from something only the IT department needs to be concerned about to something that other departments, such as marketing and finance, also share an active interest in. But as demonstrated by the speakers lined up for the March 11 Tech Boot Camps at this week’s SPECS conference in Dallas, technology is also a concern of operational departments such as store planning, energy management, construction management, and real estate.

Secure the Perimeter
By now it is pretty well-known that the infamous Target data breach did not actually originate at the POS or through store systems, but from a phishing email sent to an outside HVAC vendor. The hackers were then able to use phony vendor credentials to gain access to Target’s network via a dedicated VPN link. Verizon will give a lecture on how data security is everyone’s business, including that of departments such as maintenance and energy management that don’t typically interact with sensitive customer data, and offer tips on better securing the entire enterprise against an environment of pervasive cyber attacks.

Follow the Store
iInside and Fujitsu will offer demonstrations of very different solutions that both make it easier for store planning executives to decide how to best lay out a store and determine product placement and traffic flow. iInside will demonstrate location analytics technology that gives deep insight into how the consumer experience is greatly affected by the appearance of the store, merchandise display, store atmosphere, in-store service and accessibility. Fujitsu will demonstrate tablet-based POS software that can radically open up possibilities of where and how customer checkout is located and performed in the store.

Find and Build Your Success
The three rules of real estate are “location, location, location,” and these rules are especially applicable when it comes to locating a store site. Without knowing exactly who represents the local customer base, retailers have to take a crapshoot when deciding where to put new stores, and what specific design features to use. Buxton will demonstrate customer analytics technology that can help retailers visualize where customer bases are and isolate demographic characteristics of potential sites.

In addition, Bluebeam will demonstrate advanced PDF technology that automates crucial construction management activities such as submittals, specifications, RFIs, and shop drawing reviews, in 2D and 3D.

Manage the Day to Day
Facilities service management may often get shortchanged as a “routine” activity by those who don’t know any better, but professionals in the field know it is a very complex and demanding area. Facilities service management solutions provider ServiceChannel and cloud-based business intelligence platform vendor GoodData will give a joint presentation on how they work together to give retailers instant access to the proprietary ServiceChannel database containing more than a dozen years of independent cost and performance data and reporting tool, and add GoodData’s business intelligence capabilities to create powerful, customized reports that provide timely, accurate and pertinent information in an easy to understand, visual format.

Stay Social
Property management firm CBL will end the day with a fun, interactive look at how operational and other executives can use popular social media tools, such as Twitter and YouTube, for communication, networking, training and generally spreading the word about what they are doing in an instantaneous, one-to-many fashion.

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