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06/29/2022

H&M to develop cloud-based enterprise data backbone

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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H&M is partnering with Google Cloud to transform its enterprise.

A global fashion giant seeks to create a secure, sustainable technology infrastructure to support a wide variety of business processes.

Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M Group is partnering with Google Cloud to leverage the platform’s data analytics capabilities and global enterprise in an effort to enhance its customer experience and supply chain operations. This cloud-based enterprise data backbone will include a core data platform, data product, and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities.

H&M also plans to establish of a new data mesh to make all types of data and events more accessible from multiple sources, including in-store, online, and third-party brands and suppliers. As its enterprise cloud partnership with Google develops, the retailer hopes to optimize its internal supply chains.

The company also intends to obtain the ability to deliver next-generation customer experiences across a variety of physical and data sales channels. In addition, H&M wants to enable further development of data science and AI capabilities throughout its global enterprise.

“H&M Group has a long history of innovation across all our brands and always wants to build meaningful relationships with our customers,” said Alan Boehme, CTO, H&M Group.We are now further accelerating digitalization as we believe in sustainable growth powered by advanced analytics and tech. I’m happy to announce we’ve found a provider who matches our needs.”

“We’re delighted to announce this partnership, and look forward to working with H&M Group to create new and exciting customer experiences, whether that’s in-store or online,” said Eva Fors, managing director, Google Cloud Nordic Region. “We admire H&M Group’s commitment to innovation and are excited to move forward in our journey together.”

Home Depot supports digital transformation with Google Cloud
Home improvement giant The Home Depot Inc., which initially partnered with Google for cloud technology in 2015, is enabling digital transformation across its entire enterprise with Google Cloud technology. The company has successfully leveraged Google Cloud infrastructure, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data analytics to support numerous omnichannel initiatives.

Home Depot also uses Google Cloud's AI/ML tools and BigQuery database to provide real-time insights more quickly across the enterprise. These include more flexible assortment planning, advanced predictive inventory management, and more robust logistical insights. The company additionally uses Google Cloud's AI capabilities to power the voice search feature in its mobile app, enabling customers to more easily search for products using natural language recognition. 

Furthermore, Home Depot's Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) system uses Google DialogFlow to create a more efficient self-service experience when customers are searching for post-purchase assistance.

Retailers see enterprise AI as crucial
Further supporting the rationale behind H&M’s new enterprise cloud initiative, two-thirds (65%) of retail respondents to a recent survey sponsored by Rackspace Technology said AI and ML are technologies that are among the most mission-critical to their business strategy. 

More than seven in 10 respondents said AI/ML has had a positive impact on revenue generation (72%) and on expense reduction (72%), while 69% reported AI/ML has had a positive impact of on brand awareness, and 67% said these technologies have had a positive impact on brand reputation.

[Read more: CSA Exclusive: Retailers prioritize AI across the enterprise]

As of the end of 2021, Stockholm, Sweden-based H&M operated roughly 4,800 stores worldwide.