The retail sector is never standing still for a moment. In recent years, new developments and changes are accelerating. As a retailer, you have to actively respond to this by continuing to innovate. But how do you do so? IT can contribute to this strategically but often has a hard time meeting the growing demand. There was already pressure on tech departments and it has only increased.
We notice that the situation is even more complex for customers still working with an outdated core system. For example, a 20-year-old ERP system. It is the heart of the organization, but is still running, for example, on an AS/400 and was programmed with RPG. This prevents you from delivering the necessary flexibility and attracting developers becomes more difficult. Maintaining a legacy core system is difficult enough, innovating with one is even more challenging. To break this trend, we set out 4 pieces of advice that will give you an advantage over your competition.
Make your IT landscape more transparent
Along with the current core system there are often dozens of peripheral applications. A thorough inventory shows how extensive everything may be. We recommend evaluating all these applications and processes. Do you really need everything? Does every component make you distinctive? If the answer is no, then you can maybe scrap (or outsource) certain applications and not transfer them to the new environment. Only the must-haves are migrated to the new low-code core system. Pruning and combining applications provides transparency in the total IT landscape. In the long-term, this provides clarity and saves an incredible amount of time on maintenance and the implementation of improvements.
Spend less time on the maintenance of your core systems
Some companies have been operating for 20 years or longer on a legacy core system, such as AS/400 or Cobol. In all those years dozens of peripheral applications have been built, have been modified and many things have been added. Maintaining these systems becomes a greater challenge with each addition or modification. From our experience it appears that in many cases only 20% of the development capacity can be spent on innovation, the rest goes on maintenance. This is a pity in the current demanding market because ultimately it is with innovation that you will increase revenues and earn money. As a retail company, you want to adapt to trends and not be continually overtaken by events.
Process requests from the business much faster
Delivering applications or functions very quickly is within reach with low-code. New features are not programmed with thousands of lines of traditional code, but are constructed within a model. This is up to 20 times faster than with, for example, Java or C++. ¹ This allows you to react faster to requests from the business. Another benefit of model-driven development, is that a first version of things like dashboards become available very quickly. The business can give immediate feedback during reviews. Your department can adapt these dashboards by making small modifications. Validation of any changes is also very rapid. Since everybody gets involved during the development process there is high acceptance of the application. People feel involved and are part of the final result. We also observe that technically-oriented people are perfectly able to become functional managers.
Attracting and training resources
Young developers no longer want to work on old ERP systems or with outdated programming languages, which require a very long learning curve. They want to be involved in innovation. It is clear that companies with an outdated core system have increasing difficulty in attracting and onboarding staff. IT students would rather focus on programming languages and systems that have added value for their future within IT. The search for staff is already difficult enough, but this just makes it worse. A future-proof core system that operates with low-code offers numerous opportunities for IT-talents or older employees who want to undergo retraining. Not only is there more enthusiasm for low-code, it is also more accessible for IT talent that has not yet acquired years of experience. Enough reasons to switch to a low-code core system and train fresh developers to become Thinkwise developers. An additional benefit: young talented people who are given the opportunity to learn at a company, are happy to be challenged and are therefore often far more loyal.²
Find out how Omoda and Xenos have made the shift
Thinkwise low-code core systems have numerous benefits for your company. Transferring to a new core system with the Thinkwise software is less complex than you possibly think. The Thinkwise Platform is perfectly suited for retail and wholesale companies. In this whitepaper you can read how Xenos migrated to Thinkwise low-code software.
Would you prefer to exchange ideas directly with a Retail Advisor? Then please contact us.
¹ QSM Europe. (2017). Thinkwise Benchmark . Breukelen: QSM Europe.
²Nationale Vacaturebank. (2022, maart 09). Opgehaald van Nationale Vacaturebank: https://www.nationalevacaturebank.nl/werkgever/p/tips-voor-het-behouden-van-jouw-werknemer