Improve your IT processes: 4 useful recommendations for retail companies


Much is changing in the retail market. COVID-19 created an urgent need for numerous innovations and 101 requirements from the business. Retail companies want to do even more to be distinctive and IT can make a strategic contribution to this objective. The backlog becomes longer and longer, but finding experienced developers is not easy. There was already heavy pressure on technical departments and this 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We notice that the situation is even more complex for customers still working with an outdated core system.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. Many of these challenges are simplified with a low-code core system. In this article we show how you can improve your processes with low-code.

Make your IT landscape more transparent

Your IT landscape is analyzed prior to a possible transfer to a low-code core system. 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.

A major benefit of Thinkwise low-code core systems is that they can never become legacy. Thinkwise users have moved seamlessly from Visual Basic in 2002, to C#, to ASP.NET, Java and finally in 2021 to React. And this latest language will also become outdated in a few years, but Thinkwise guarantees that what has already been built will always continue to work in the future. The new core system grows with your company and will not become outdated. With low-code the hours that are currently being spent on maintenance become available for innovations such as omnichannel distribution or warehouse optimization.

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++ (QSM Europe, 2017). 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. Even though some IT managers still find it unnerving to give responsibility for this to colleagues outside their department.

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 junior developers. IT students would rather focus on programming languages and systems that have an added value for their future within IT. The search for developers is already difficult enough, but this just makes it worse. A future-proof core system that operates with low-code offers numerous opportunities for young developers 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 (Dutch National Vacancy Database, 2022).

Would you like to know more?

Thinkwise low-code core systems have numerous benefits for your company and your internal processes. Transferring to a new core system with the Thinkwise software is less complex than you possibly think. Select a low-code system that is suitable for large complex applications with many tables. Most low-code providers offer platforms with which you can develop small or medium-sized applications, but they are unsuitable, for example, for the replacement of an entire ERP system. 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.

 TALK TO A SPECIALIST

Bibliography

Nationale Vacaturebank. (2022, maart 09). Opgehaald van Nationale Vacaturebank: https://www.nationalevacaturebank.nl/werkgever/p/tips-voor-het-behouden-van-jouw-werknemers

QSM Europe. (2017). Thinkwise Benchmark . Breukelen: QSM Europe.

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