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  7. Digital Express Aisle: Four in Five Retail Digital Transformation Projects ‘a Gamble’ According to Fujitsu Research

Digital Express Aisle: Four in Five Retail Digital Transformation Projects ‘a Gamble’ According to Fujitsu Research

Fujitsu EMEIA

News facts: 
  • Retailers are under pressure to digitalize faster, despite a quarter having no clear strategy in place
  • Competing priorities undermine digital transformation success, exposing retailers to competitive risk
  • Study of more than 600 IT decision makers in Europe1 reveals widespread agreement that digital transformation is vital, yet highlights huge disconnects in terms of strategic priorities
Munich, February 23, 2016 European retail business leaders agree that omnichannel digital transformation is critical to their future success, yet research1 by Fujitsu reveals that most retailers lack a clear strategy for reaching this goal. In fact, European retailers are more likely than any other sector (83 percent) to believe they are gambling with their digitalization investments. With nearly three-quarters of retailers admitting to playing digital catch-up, speed of response is critical and they can count on Fujitsu to help seamlessly connect new digital front-end experiences to their back-end systems and infrastructure.

“As online and physical worlds come even closer together, the development of ‘the connected store’ will become a key differentiator for retailers,” says Richard Clarke, Global Retail Director for Strategy & Business Development at Fujitsu. “Retailers are under extreme and constant pressure to head down the ‘Digital Express Aisle.’ Fujitsu research finds that four in five retailers want to move faster toward digital adoption. They agree that failing to digitalize fast enough will lead to sweeping penalties including reduced market responsiveness, higher relative costs impacting pricing and revenues, not to mention problems with customer retention and loyalty.”

This year is widely tipped by industry pundits as the ‘year of digital transformation’ with, for example, IDC predicting that: “By 2018, 80 percent of European business-to-consumer companies will have created immersive, authentic omni-experiences for customers, partners and employees”2. As one CEO told Fujitsu: “A simple homepage or online shop is no longer enough. The buzzword is omnichannel, as the customer decides when, where, how and which distribution channel is used.” Although there is widespread recognition that digital transformation impacts the top line in terms of how retail organizations optimize customer experiences while maximizing efficiency, Fujitsu’s research uncovers huge disconnects in terms of strategic priorities for digital projects. Among the key findings:
  • Only one in three respondents agrees that digital priorities are fully aligned within their organization
  • Retail executives disagree about who is the digital driver – only a quarter believe it is the CEO
  • One in three business leaders think they are already over-spending on digital projects
  • Only one in four is ‘extremely confident’ in making on the right choices
Clarke adds: “Customers want the same personalized service in-store that they get online, whether that’s through their smartphone or a store device. However, the lack of clear digital ownership across all channels and conflicting priorities are a barrier to success. Fujitsu´s connected retail strategy focuses on supporting its retail customers on their journey to omnichannel digital transformation and in enabling them to achieve balance, both in order for them to thrive in a digital world as well as to transform their businesses without disruption.”Business leaders who participated in the research summed this up in their own words, saying: “Our customers demand speed and convenience, so we’ve had to become (digitally) mature” … “There’s a strategy but it should be clearer. We’re moving with the innovations sent our way” …”Certain people would keep everything as it is. The resistance to change is strong, as is generally the case in mature sectors.”

Fujitsu defines transformation as bridging the digital disconnect through the seamless integration of new front-end experiences with processes and information at the core operational level. This process is fundamental to future business, yet many companies – including retailers – fail to appreciate the risks of attempting a poorly-planned implementation. Achieving the right balance is unique for every organization, instead of being a linear process or about doing one thing or another.

What’s more, in order to be truly digital, organizations must be digitally-enabled from end-to-end, by building new digital front-end experiences and seamlessly connecting these to the back-end systems and infrastructure that enable them.

Notes to editors

The retail specific survey findings

  • Although most retailers say they are confident in their approach to digitalization, the vast majority admit that their digital transformation projects are ‘a gamble,’ and have no unifying strategy in place.
    • Almost all (92 percent) of retailers say they are confident that they have adopted the right digital transformation approach, while only a quarter (26 percent) of them are ‘extremely confident’
    • However, 83 percent also admit they are gambling with their digital investment. This is the highest figure compared to all sectors surveyed
    • In fact, one quarter (25 percent) state that they have no unifying digital strategy mapped out
    • While over half (57 percent) admit that the digital strategy they do have is unclear and confusing
  • Competing digital agendas across the businesses of many retailers, plus a failure to unify priorities is seen as one of the biggest threats to digitalization success.
    • Less than a third (31 percent) of retail IT decision makers state that their organizations are aligned on digital priorities
    • Compared to other sectors, retailers differ the greatest on who is driving digital transformation: board not including the CEO (25 percent), customers (21 percent), the IT department / CIO (17 percent), and other employees (16 percent) all highlighted as the digital driver. The CEO leads digital transformation in only 15 percent of retail organizations
    • A failure to prioritize digital projects is among the top three identified barriers to digital success for almost a third (32 percent) of retailers – only beaten by security fears (33 percent)
  • Retailers are under pressure to digitalize faster, but they are not confident that they are making the right decisions to drive success
    • 79 percent of retailers state that there is an appetite within their organization to move faster towards digital adoption
    • 73 percent admit that they are playing digital catch-up
    • The main threats to retailers failing to digitalize fast enough are: increase in costs (46 percent), inability to retain and attract talent (42 percent) and a decrease in overall revenue (38 percent)
    • Only 26 percent of retailers strongly agree that they are confident they have adopted the right approach to digital
    • Two-thirds (66 percent) state that it is difficult to know the right choices to make when it comes to digital adoption
  • The majority of retailers are prioritizing digital when it comes to IT spend; however most would prefer a more balanced approach to investment
    • When asked how digital projects are funded in their organization, the majority (55 percent) stated that IT budget has been split – with more money being invested in digital innovation
    • A quarter (25 percent) of retailers have created a separate budget to fund digital projects
    • However just under a third (32 percent) of IT decision makers in retail believe too much time and money is currently being invested in digital projects
More than three-quarters (76 percent) admit their organization would benefit from a more balanced approach to digital adoption

1 Walking the digital tightrope: A study into the digital maturity of organizations across EMEIA was commissioned by Fujitsu and carried out by independent research company, Censuswide, in October 2015. The study covered the UK, Germany, Spain and Sweden and consisted of two parts:
  • A quantitative survey of 643 IT decision makers in the retail, finance, manufacturing and public sectors, examining how many companies are exploring the adoption of a two-speed IT strategy; the factors driving this adoption and the barriers to its success
  • A series of qualitative interviews with 16 CEOs in the same countries and sectors
  • A quantitative survey of 172 IT decision makers from retail sector
2 IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Digital Transformation 2016 Predictions — Impact on Western Europe, February 2016, Doc # EMEA40967016

Fujitsu’s Connected Retail approach

zoom Fujitsu’s Connected Retail approach

Fujitsu’s international strength and continuous investment in technology innovation allows the company to deliver consistent services to its customers. Fujitsu is committed to using its size, scope and experience as one of the world’s largest IT companies to deliver global capabilities with local responsiveness and know-how. This encompasses:
  • 159,000 people in more than 100 countries around the globe
  • Over 202 billion yen (US$1.69 billion) in R&D patents worldwide on technologies, products, services and processes
  • End-to-end portfolio of retail applications, devices and supporting services
  • One-stop-shop with the majority of products and solutions developed by Fujitsu
Fujitsu retail solutions cover the whole value chain – from store, warehouse and headquarter to the backbone in the data center. It transforms the customer experience in stores and across channels, and has the retail solution intellectual property, process knowledge and integration skills to make a difference.

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About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company, offering a full range of technology products, solutions, and services. Approximately 159,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.8 trillion yen (US$40 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2015. For more information, please see

About Fujitsu EMEIA

Fujitsu enables customers to capitalize on digital opportunities with confidence, by helping them to balance robust ICT and digital innovation. The leading information and communication technology (ICT) company can achieve this based on its full portfolio of business-technology products, solutions and services, ranging from workplace systems to data center solutions, managed services, and cloud-based software and solutions. Fujitsu’s vision is to enable a Human Centric Intelligent Society that creates value by connecting infrastructure, empowering people and creatively defining new forms of intelligence. In Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA), Fujitsu employs more than 29,000 people and is part of the global Fujitsu Group. For more information, please see

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Date: 23 February, 2016
City: Munich