‘Our focus is to go after big retail chains

What is Microsofts focus on the retail market segment?
In todays enterprise context, delivering specific solutions to verticals is
the key and top priority for all vendors. Keeping this in mind, Microsoft India
has identified retail as a focus vertical and one that the company is going to
strongly focus on. We have also identified emerging markets as one of the top
priorities for us in retail. In India, the retail market segment is taking shape
right now. We have people with industry and technical knowledge. At the global
level also, we have a very similar process and we get a lot of retail experience
into the company.

Where are you prioritizing in the Indian market?
Organized retailing is still a small market in India. The retail sector in
India is estimated to be $280 bn, out of which organized retail accounts for a
meager 5%. Our strategy in India is to prioritize it. We cant be everything to
everybody. Therefore, the focus in the beginning is to go after big retail
chains. It is important to decide where to focus our resources and time.
Mediocre commitments lead to mediocre results.

What key challenges do retailers face today? How can technology help in
overcoming these challenges?
Today, the challenges, or rather business objectives, of retailers center
around scouting for new markets, ie, expansion, experimenting with new and
different formats, providing innovative services, and looking at new channels
like e-commerce. Another challenge that retailers are now increasingly facing is
opening of new stores.

How can IT help in addressing these challenges?
The retail solution landscape broadly spans across solutions for the
front-end, back-end, and the middle layer. The back-end includes supplier
collaboration, merchandising and planning, warehouse management, distribution
and returns management, inventory management, and control. The front-end
encompasses point-of-sale, store operations, billing, CRM, mobile device
solutions, digital signage in stores, and dashboard for store managers. The
all-encompassing middle layer includes real time analytics, performance
management, and supply chain optimization.

Shipra Malhotra

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