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Smarter Commerce | September 1, 2014

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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Using technology to make food smarter: tracing the stages from production to distribution

January 31, 2012 |

Did you know you almost had to go without your tall glass of OJ with your eggs and bacon breakfast? An orange juice distributor in Brazil, an importer that accounts for 10% of all US supply, was shook up when a dangerous fungicide used on the oranges was discovered in its juice. The FDA halted all imports of foreign orange juices while investigating the issue, a time-consuming process.

This is just one instance of food recalls over the past year, bringing concern to the quality of food being sold at local grocery stores. So, how can you make your food smarter? Food retail industries lose about 3.5% of sales because of supply chain inefficiencies. Sources of contaminated food must be recognized quickly so that the product can be removed from shelves immediately with minimal consequences. With Smarter Commerce, companies can create a more agile supply chain to deal with issues through better communication and visibility. Read More

Part 2 – Social media and the city – The smarter social media city

January 30, 2012 |

Social media provides local government with powerful and flexible tools to deliver information services through a variety of channels. Equally important, it provides unique tools for formulating policy and redefining the meaning of accountability as well.

Discovery techniques based on social media are already helping local authorities to shape the future and to define exactly what a smarter city should look like. Coventry in the UK’s West Midlands is a case in point. Read More

Biopsy Of An HTML Email

January 27, 2012 |

I feel compelled to say that I’m an avid reader of EaterSF; the recommendations have fueled numerous food adventures in and around San Francisco. That being said let me also state this is not meant to lambast or endorse the editors of this newsletter, only as a vehicle for creative analysis.

Eater SF NewsletterAs you can see it’s a fairly straightforward newsletter: a two column design with clear branding at the top of the email. Looks good, right? Right, but a web preview is not the experience a reader has across email clients and platforms.

Email is a core channel for establishing and growing customer loyalty, increasing sales and driving activity across social networks. For an email to be successful and address the reading habits of the connected consumer it has to be accessible and readable across a wide variety of platforms. To be cross-channel and email has to be built according to best practices for cross channel design.

The template for this newsletter is set to 830 pixels; this is too wide when you take into account the viewable dimensions of mobile handsets. Even if you don’t take into consideration a mobile handset and you want to code for the 1990’s, a screen resolution of 800×600 would mean the recipient is forced to scroll left to right to see the full text of the email. Read More

Cloud Commerce: Tailor Your Commerce Strategy via Cloud Solutions

January 26, 2012 |

By Wes Simonds

Someone recently asked me how it was possible that cloud computing began to take off at just about the same time the economy got cold — circa 2008. This argument had a culinary simile: that major new technology shifts (such as cloud) are like ice cream. Delicious when things are hot, but forget about it when things are not. And cloud rolled along at a not-hot time. Ergo, cloud should have failed.

My counter-argument was that they had the wrong culinary simile in mind.

Cloud computing, or so it seems to me, is not like ice cream in winter. Instead, it’s more like a super-efficient oven in winter. Less about the eating, more about the baking. And if you’re a baker, baking is a big deal.

So, for instance, let’s take the case of commerce. How do you best implement that in a problematic economy?

Well, it stands to reason that any architecture responsible for the flow of business transactions needs to be as efficient, and scalable, as possible. That way, you can minimize costs when demand is lower, and maximize market responsiveness when demand is higher. And the more unpredictable demand is, the more appealing that idea becomes.

Cloud computing services are a perfect match for that description. So it’s easy to agree with a recent blog post I read hat predicted continued steady growth of cloud computing — even in a ‘challenged’ economy — over the next five years. With cloud, organizations don’t have to shell out for the sum total of the hardware and software of the cloud. They can simply lease someone else’s cloud as they see fit, to handle specific requirements they have at any given time. If they need more resources, they can pay for those resources as they go, dialing back at will. More, they can zero in on exactly the services they want, and skip the ones they don’t, making changes month by month as circumstances change. Read More

Part 1 – Social media and the city – Social media is changing the conversation

January 25, 2012 |

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, foursquare – we no longer just communicate; we interact. In the process, how can the wealth of information being generated by social media help us better understand how our cities function and create smarter cities in the …

Sourcing Complex Categories – High Rewards

January 24, 2012 |

With Procurement teams under continuing pressure to find new savings, the focus of strategic sourcing activities needs to shift towards more complex categories. These are typically more critical to the core function of the business and often with ambiguous specifications …

A Definition of IBM Smarter Commerce and the Internet Evolution

January 24, 2012 |

by John Squire

IBM launched Smarter Commerce—a strategic approach that places the customer at the center of your company’s business operations—in March of 2011. The response from customers, partners, analysts, and reporters has been overwhelmingly positive.

But we occasionally …

From NRF: What November Shopping Data Tells Us about Shopping Trends to Watch

January 23, 2012 |

Last week I had the great pleasure of attending NRF (or as most people call it, Retail’s BIG Show) and as always I was very happy to see friends and colleagues.

This year, I actually spoke about the online shopping trends that we at IBM observed during the 2011 holiday shopping season. I wanted to touch on one such trend here.

Aside from the mobile and social shopping trends that I’ve already discussed at length, one of the most compelling trends I observed is that people in general are shopping much earlier in the shopping season—say, starting in November versus waiting until the last few weeks of December—than they have in past years. For example, online sales were up 15.6 percent for the month of November 2011 compared to November 2010. You might argue that online consumers are more methodical in their approach to shopping than their store-visiting peers, thus leading to earlier shopping; you might argue that today’s consumers are much more deliberate about their shopping than they are at times when the economy is flying high and that this kind of deliberation requires more time, thus leading to earlier shopping; you might even say that retailers, with their Black Friday promotions that start on Halloween, have trained more consumers to shop earlier in the season than they have in the past. Read More

Case study: Technology helps CSX create a smarter supply and demand chain

January 19, 2012 |

As the 2011 holiday season comes to an end, it is time for companies to reflect on how its supply chain dealt with the pressures of high demand and unforeseen obstacles. Holiday inventory and production plans can make or break a company’s year, so making it through the highest retail sales time of year successfully requires proficient communication within an agile supply chain.

In today’s world of commerce, the customers are deciding where the buying process begins and ends. To conduct Smarter Commerce, companies must synchronize supply and demand chains to get better control over inevitable disruptions to ensure brand loyalty. Partner and supplier integration plays a critical role in enabling that synchronization.

Who would know better about synchronization than CSX Transportation? Providing a 21,000 mile rail network, CSX serves major cities and plays an integral role in the supply chain. Though it has been continuously known as a leader in dependable transportation, the company decided it needed to overhaul its customer service reputation by better managing its data interchange with its customers, vendors and suppliers, consequently resulting in an overall upgrade of its customer service reputation. Read More

When it Comes to ERP Systems: Is "Good Enough" Good Enough?

January 16, 2012 |

When it Comes to ERP Systems: Is “Good Enough” Good Enough? That’s the title of a new research paper by Bob Ferrari of the Ferrari Consulting Group and Supply Chain Matters. As those familiar with the supply management research …