A revolution in digital retail - Project Nightingale

Transform your digital retail experience

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The world of retail is changing dramatically. Retailers used to have anonymous, transactional relationships with their customers; but now both retailers and customers want a deeper relationship. The retailers that win today are the ones that use technology to build those personal customer experiences and transform their digital retail experience. However, it isn’t always easy to implement new solutions with existing systems.

Read this eBook to discover:

  • Why existing approaches are not sufficient for the pace of digital transformation that retail demands
  • How to drive technology change in your organization, creating a greater capability to innovate and transforming the digital retail experience for your customers
  • How to adopt an API-led approach to integration that packages underlying connectivity and orchestration services as easily discoverable and reusable building blocks

Below is a sneak peek from the whitepaper. Fill the form to download the full version of our whitepaper.

The Unique Nature of Digital Transformation in Retail

We are amid an unprecedented phase of digital transformation in retail. Customers can video conference with sales associates, experience a store through virtual reality, or custom-order jewelry that is 3-D printed. These changes are irreversibly reshaping retail boundaries and business models, and in the process, changing the winners and losers in retail.

However, digital transformation is unique in the retail industry. It is certainly not the result of implementing a single application or technology. Rather, digital transformation can be achieved only when retailers are able to bring multiple technologies together to create truly distinctive and differentiated experiences. To do so, they must bring data from disparate sources to multiple audiences, such as customers, suppliers and employees.

In the retail industry, traditional methods for integrating applications do not work for digital transformation. These approaches, designed at a time with fewer endpoints, different objectives and slower delivery expectations, often cannot move at the pace today’s business requires. Just as digital transformation requires companies to embrace a new set of technologies, so they must embrace a new level of connectivity.

A New Approach to Integration: API-led Connectivity

IT leaders must meet two seemingly contradictory goals: ensuring stability and control over core systems of record while enabling innovation and rapid iteration of the applications that access those systems of record. This is the challenge now referred to as bi-modal or two-speed IT.

Existing connectivity approaches are not fit for these new challenges. Point-to-point application integration is brittle and expensive to maintain. Service oriented Architecture (SOA) approaches provide some instruction in theory, but they have been poorly implemented in practice. The principles of SOA are sound: well-defined services that are easily discoverable and easily re-usable. In practice, however, these goals were rarely achieved. The desire for well-defined interfaces resulted in top-down, big-bang initiatives that were mired in process.

Digital Transformation in Retail ITA new approach is required, one that leverages existing investments and enables IT to seize the moment to drive change through digital transformation; a change that enables agility yet allows IT to maintain visibility and control. This change is a journey that requires shifting IT’s mindset from project delivery to delivering assets as services and enabling Line of Business IT to self-serve and build its own connections, processes, and applications while Central IT governs access, SLAs, and data quality. In short, IT has to become an enabler.

To meet today’s retail needs, we propose a new construct—API-led connectivity—that builds on the central tenets of SOA yet reimagines its implementation for today’s unique challenges. API-led connectivity is an approach that defines methods for connecting and exposing your assets. The approach shifts the way IT operates and promotes decentralized access to data and capabilities while not compromising on governance.

Benefits of Digital Transformation API-led connectivity

Business Benefits

  • IT as an enabler: By exposing data assets as a service to a broader audience, IT can enable lines of business to self-serve.
  • Increase developer productivity through reuse: Realizing an API-led connectivity approach is consistent with a service-oriented approach whereby logic is distilled to its constituent parts and reused across applications.
  • More predictable change: By ensuring modularization of integration logic and logical separation of modules, IT leaders are better able to estimate and ensure delivery against changes to code.

Technical Benefits

  • Distributed and tailored approach: An API-led connectivity approach recognizes that there is not a one-size-fits-all architecture. This allows connectivity to be addressed in small pieces, and for that capability to be exposed through the API or Microservice.
  • Greater agility through loose coupling of systems: Within an organization’s IT architecture, there are different levels of governance that are appropriate. The so-called bimodal integration or two-speed IT approach makes this dichotomy explicit: the need to carefully manage and gate changes to core systems of record (e.g., annual schema changes to core ERP systems) while retaining the flexibility to iterate quickly for user-facing edge systems such as web and mobile applications, where continuous innovation and rapid time to market are critical. An example of IT delivering business agility would be enabling different aspects of online purchasing.
  • Deeper operational visibility: Approaching connectivity holistically in this way allows greater operational insight that goes beyond whether an API or a particular interface is working by providing end-to-end insight, from receipt of the initial API request call to fulfillment of that request based on an underlying database query. At each step, fine-grained analysis is possible that cannot be easily realized when considering connectivity in a piecemeal fashion.

Summary

Successful retailers infuse technology throughout their organizations; they bring business and IT together as strategic partners to achieve outcomes. MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform™ allows retailers to achieve digital transformation by realizing API-led connectivity and building a retail application network. In particular, Anypoint Platform delivers a universal connectivity model that allows online customers to more easily connect to cloud and on-premises applications, as well as to extract all types of data from internal or external sources with the use of APIs. This allows developers to rapidly connect, orchestrate and enable internal or external endpoints. The result is a two to five times faster window to launch initiatives, connect systems, and unlock data across the enterprise, and a 30 percent reduction in integration costs.