Always begin with your business objectives
Data-driven businesses thrive on speed and effectiveness of communication. If technology can’t ‘talk’ effectively, innovation and even day-to-day business grinds to a halt. It’s a problem retailers have had for years; great ideas, but too many legacy systems with conflicting code, which makes scaling-up impossible.
That’s where an effective ecosystem comes in. It’s why Flooid has grown its partner network to include retail giants such as Intel and IBM, cloud leaders including Google, Amazon and Microsoft, and best-of-breed retail players like Adobe.
Our aim? Creating an unbeatable ecosystem that allows retailers to plug in additional capabilities to our unified platform, or even develop their own solutions in-house.
Flooid’s Chief Technology Officer Eric Bilange explains more.
Eric, how do you design technology systems for retail?
The most important thing is to always approach the project in the right way. As a technologist, I could show you a bunch of exciting technologies and pitch them to you, and show how you can use them in certain ways – and you might be wowed. But if we do that, we’re going to spend endless time trying to understand how we can use the technology for a good purpose. It’s much better to think, where is your business today? Where do you want your business to be tomorrow? Do you want to open more stores? Do you want to move into new geographies? Do you want to cross verticals, move to online or introduce contactless service? And if you tell me what you’d like to achieve, then you give a CTO like me a focus, and I will find you the best technology to answer your problem. We believe we must start with the vision, then find and build the technology to achieve it.
What role does customer experience play?
At Flooid we’re always trying to achieve two aims: make the technology work for the retailer, and make it work for their customers. As Steve Jobs once said: “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.” Today customers want fast, frictionless, personalized service – in-store or online. So we build our technology to support that.
How has Flooid evolved its technology offer?
We’ve realized that we don’t have to do everything ourselves. Today we place all our firepower and the vast majority of our product spend on growing and perfecting our unified commerce platform. We want to have a platform that works out-of-the-box with all the leading cloud and retail providers, to make things simpler for retailers to integrate and innovate. We’ve become more open. We’re working with more partners, and allowing them access to our APIs, so they can build-in more capability. It’s all about speed, ease of deployment and scale, and working in an open, collaborative way for the benefit of the client.
Can you give us some examples of where the Flooid ecosystem drives value?
It’s across the board. Working with Google, Microsoft and Amazon gives our customers the power to test and automate at speed, and save money by only paying for what they use, but it also gives them a choice: do they want to go multi-cloud, or hybrid-cloud with one provider?
They can choose to develop a loyalty or marketing capability with our partners, or create one in-house and plug it into our platform. We have partners for e-receipts, personalization, loyalty, security, loss prevention… you name it, we probably do it. And because we have that partner network ready-made, retailers have the reassurance they need. They know if they use that partner, the technology is going to work.
How does the Flooid ecosystem give retailers more freedom to innovate?
It gives them access to best-in-class operators that are already pre-integrated into our platform. But it’s not just about giving retailers access to great partners. We’re allowing retailers to build their own capabilities in-house, and then plug them into the platform and the wider ecosystem. Maybe they’d like to build an app for contactless mobile payments in-house. That’s great. We can make that work with the platform, but we can also give them the benefit of our own and our partners’ experience, and our thoughts on best practice. We don’t just provide technology. We provide decades of retail experience, and access to thought leaders from Flooid and beyond.
Can you give us an example of how Flooid is working with key partners?
We’re part of the Open Retail Initiative, which allows us to work with Intel and other ORI members. We recently pulled together a new loss prevention tool focusing on self-checkout theft. It was a great example of six partners combining capabilities including weigh scales and real-time sensors and communicating via EdgeX middleware to solve a real business problem.
Learn more about Flooid’s partner ecosystem by watching the video below, or over on our YouTube channel…