PLUS Retail is a Dutch supermarket chain with 255 stores across the Netherlands. The co-operative is run by over 200 independent entrepreneurs and reported approximately €2.1 billion net sales in 2014 (PLUS.nl, 2015). PLUS seeks to align its operations with four strategic pillars it has identified, namely: Attention, Quality, Local and Responsibility. These pillars are reflected both in the types of products and services PLUS chooses to offer, as well as the environmental initiatives it takes.
Currently, the Dutch supermarket industry is growing, especially with regards to the online segment, which grew by 55% in 2014. Despite the industry growth, PLUS has been losing market share, and so is required to implement new strategies to combat this. As the market is shifting away from only traditional retail stores, and towards a multichannel industry, PLUS needs to align its current IT strategy with the main market trends and consumer preferences.
In recent years, PLUS has realized the potential of optimizing its value chain through the use of information and communications technology (ICT). In 2013, it launched the “IT Excellence” program, with the goal of improving the IT infrastructure and optimizing processes. However, as changes are only being implemented now, it can be stated that PLUS is lagging behind with regards to its competition.
We believe that PLUS should develop a sophisticated mobile application, which will include a store locator, a product finder and an order management system. It will also enable PLUS to offer tailored promotions to its customers, based on their purchasing habits. There are many advantages expected from the implementation of this solution and the supermarket chain cannot afford to miss out on this opportunity and needs to be innovative in its digital strategy. The app will not cannibalize the offline communication but improve processes and make them more efficient. There will be a high impact on the core organization but rather a low impact on the core strategy.
There are numerous benefits to using this solution. As the online grocery market is expected to double in size over the next 2 years, totaling €1 billion by the end of 2016 (Syndy, 2015), PLUS is expected to greatly profit from this growth with the implementation of this solution. This is mainly due to a higher service level provided and a larger customer base reached via the app. In addition, online customers tend to spend an average of 20% more than offline customers (Ahold, 2014). All these factors would result in a 52.5% increase in online sales and 35% growth in online market share, in the first year after implementation. The second year could result in an even greater increase, with 85.3% sales boost and 48% market growth, resulting in an additional €15 and €30 million in revenues, respectively.
Through the application, PLUS would be able to leverage its current status of being a competitive supermarket in the Netherlands in terms of its customer service while reinforcing its four pillars of ‘attention’, ‘responsibility’, ‘quality’ and ‘local’. The risks association with its development and implementation such as the ambiguity of the accompanying costs can be mitigated through thorough planning and proper staff training, which is undoubtedly within the skill set of PLUS’ experienced management board. Should the proposed digital transformation be a successful one, PLUS will be on its way to becoming a strong adversary in the online grocery retail space.
Syndy, (2015). The State of Online Grocery Retail in Europe. [online] Amstelveen: Syndy. Available at:
http://www.syndy.com/report-the-state-of-online-grocery-retail-2015/ [Accessed 15 Sep. 2015].
PLUS.nl, (2015). PLUS retail – PLUS als organisatie | PLUS . [online] Available at:
https://www.PLUS.nl/info-over-PLUS/organisatie/PLUS-retail [Accessed 18 Sep. 2015].
Ahold, (2014). Ahold Annual Report 2014. [online] Available at: https://www.ahold.com/Financialinformation/
Annual-reports/Annual-Report-2014.htm [Accessed 17 Sep. 2015].
Martin Kayser 353884mk
Benedikt Kolbert 353958bk
Kiki Huang 354902kh
Michal Floss 356166mf
Thomas Gratzmuller 357457tg
Projects involving large amounts of sensitive data are being created in large amounts everyday. One issue that remains concerning these data is privacy. And not only does it include risks of data-theft, but also complying with the regulations on protection of personal information.
A study made in France (2014) by the consultancy Accenture, among CEOs, indicated that when it comes to implementing “big data” projects, 60% of respondents mentioned privacy as their main obstacle, before costs and talent shortage (Schwyter, 2015).
To make it worse, new tech tools and software arrive in the workplace everyday increasing constantly the risk of seeing someone penetrate your firm’s information system. Firms are well aware of the risk they are facing but many feel they will never be able to cope with the pace at which security measures have to change in order to adapt to all new software, upgrades and devices (Desjardins, 2013).
In addition to the danger of being hacked, firms in certain industries (banking, insurance) must comply with drastic security policies concerning the personal information of their clients (Schwyter, 2015). In addition to considerable repercussions in term of brand image, if their information system were to be breached, the firm would be facing lawsuits and fines that could have serious cost issues.
To prevent as much as possible all issue related to information privacy, firms should implement strict information privacy policies (Desjardins, 2013).
- All data stored on the cloud should be hidden using “ad hoc” technologies.
It is also highly recommended to encrypt all information, if possible.
- For all sensitive information on employees, it is possible to anonymize them. It will create surrogate information, which are of no interest to hackers
- Concerning the organization of this information, a classification should be made of all projects in accordance to their associated risk
- Finally, data security and privacy should be emphasized in trainings and also constantly reminded to all employees, from all hierarchical levels in order to maintain constant awareness and be able to prevent any problem.
In addition to all policies that employees should follow, it is important that all information systems be protected by firewalls. It is sometimes worth investing more than you had planned in information security as it could save you time and money in the future (Herold, 2015). Lastly, it is key for all firms to always consider privacy issues when discussing new ideas so that all issues can be resolved at the beginning of the process and not impede its development in later stages.
Desjardins, C. (2013). 93 % des entreprises françaises ont subi des pertes de données informatiques. [online] Les Echos Business. Available at: http://business.lesechos.fr/directions-numeriques/technologie/cybersecurite/93-des-entreprises-francaises-ont-subi-des-pertes-de-donnees-informatiques-8108.php [Accessed 15 Oct. 2015].
Schwyter, A. (2015). Big Data : comment sécuriser ses projets ?. [online] ZDNet France. Available at: http://www.zdnet.fr/actualites/big-data-comment-securiser-ses-projets-39826460.htm [Accessed 15 Oct. 2015].
Herold, R. (2015). 10 Big Data Analytics Privacy Problems | SecureWorld. [online] Secureworldexpo.com. Available at: https://www.secureworldexpo.com/10-big-data-analytics-privacy-problems [Accessed 15 Oct. 2015].
Cloud computing is rapidly changing how people use and interact with software. Online cloud-services offer a variety of benefits for both commercial and personal users, such as increased convenience, reliability, decreased hardware costs… In 2006, Google joined the movement with the launch of Google Docs, the company’s first shot at the productivity suites market (Biswas, 2011). Microsoft had been the dominating force in this industry with its renown Office product line. Recently however, Google used the rise of the cloud to enter the market with Google Apps, and managed to capture parts of Microsoft’s market share.
Both companies apply cloud computing to the underlying infrastructure of their productivity suites. Google Apps is a software-as-a-service all-in-one suite that serves four purposes with its products: Communication (Gmail, Hangouts, Agenda, Google+), Storage (Google Drive), Collaboration (Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, Sites), and Management (Google Vault, Admin) (Google, 2015). All of these are cloud-based and accessible when an Internet connection is available. Office 365 is a group of productivity software and services with online and offline elements introduced by Microsoft in 2011. It includes access to a group of proprietary software applications that can be installed on almost any device and different operating systems (e.g. Windows, OS X, iOS, Android), as well as cloudbased replicas with cloud storage. These include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the storage platform OneDrive.
The main differences are characterized by the type of features, functionalities, scope, and most importantly, pricing models. Microsoft focuses on subscription pricing and offering a high-quality, tailored and flexible product line. With ten different plans, ranging from a free subscription to a yearly fee of $264, they offer the most solutions. In contrast, Google focuses on the simplicity of their offer, and on-boarding many customers via their freemium model. There is also the possibility to upgrade your suite with 2 subscription plans: Apps and Apps+.
Predicting who will “win” in the productivity suite industry is difficult and affected by many factors. Microsoft has been the market leader for decades, and Google used the rise of cloud technology to enter the market with a lower-end product, based on ease-of-use and low cost. Thus far, Google has mainly targeted the consumer market and became a competitive player within this market. In the very near future, they will compete head-on with Microsoft for enterprise clients. According to the Head of Google for Work, it is now “ready to scale the business to enterprise clients” (Bort, 2015).
It is however not probable that Google will eliminate Microsoft as a competitor in the long run. Microsoft has an enormous customer base, and has begun offering cloud-services as well as a freemium model. Both firms will need to continuously tailor their products and business models to the changing and diverse consumer needs. Microsoft, seeks to retain their position as the market leader, while Google desires to disrupt the industry by utilizing the rise of the cloud as their differentiator.
Martin Kayser 353884mk
Benedikt Kolbert 353958bk
Kiki Huang 354902kh
Michal Floss 356166mf
Thomas Gratzmuller 357457tg
Health improvement has always been one of humankind’s biggest challenge. Knowledge and methods have evolved along the years bringing continuous amelioration to our everyday life. Two expressions come up often when talking about health: Healthcare and the Healthcare System. Healthcare, according to Collins, is the prevention of illness or injury on a comprehensive and ongoing basis. The healthcare system refers to the program by which healthcare is made available to individuals.
Using information is, however, a more recent trend. The past ten years, we have witnessed great advances in both data generation and collection but also in our ability to analyze and understand this data. Combining these two trends is referred to as “Big Data” (Marr, 2015).
It may seem as if these two fields have nothing in common, but combining them could create a revolutionary change in the way the healthcare system functions. Moreover, because we collect data about almost anything, we can affect both health and the healthcare system in many different ways.
Even if it remains a new field, it has already attracted major investors who see a bright future in joining big data and health. In total, venture capital firms as well as corporate venture funds of Google, Samsung… have invested more than $3 billion in healthcare IT since 2013 (Byrnes, 2014).
According to where you position yourself in the healthcare industry, you will use data with a different goal in mind. If we consider pharmaceutical companies, their main challenge is to use data in order to improve profit through overhead cost reduction (Marr, 2015). However, not all parties involved aim, directly, at profit maximization. In fact, many believe big data can lead to better illness prevention.
We all witnessed the increased number of wearable devices such as FitBit, Samsung Gear, TomTom Runner, and many other, that are available for sale. They all provide you with a somewhat similar information (heart rate, calories burnt, exercise time…) in addition to a progress overview, allowing the user to track progress as he or she exercises. It may not seem like much but if, for example, the information collected was then forwarded to the user’s doctor, he could advise his patient to, follow a more adapted exercising routine, stop unhealthy behaviour or favor certain types of food. Thus taking the system a step further.
This type of information is useful to many, but can also be essential to some. WellDoc and Ginger.io are two examples of firms that collect data about people suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or depression. Thanks to the data they collect from their patients, they are able to provide a daily “patient coaching system” (Byrnes, 2014) which is sent on the patient’s smartphone, indicating, for example, how much insulin to take or which medication to choose.
Focusing on the ones who benefit highly from such use of data can allow us to better understand the relation between data and health before extending it to the rest of the population.
A ground breaking idea, proposed by the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance, aims at collecting data on an individual from multiple sources, in order to obtain a comprehensive picture of the person and provide him with “a tailored healthcare package” (Meritalk, 2014). Furthermore, they believe that combining information about millions of people could allow the design of predictive patterns and help spot incoming epidemics, but also provide hospitals and doctors with the most adapted treatment for their patient. Having instant access to a person’s medical record and health information could also prove very useful in case of emergency. It will allow doctors and hospitals to respond faster to a person’s need since no test is needed to check whether the patient’s body accepts all types of treatment; therefore saving lives, time and money.
Many more examples of the revolution that big data is bringing to the healthcare system can be found and it will keep growing. According to McKinsey & Company, “the business opportunity in making sense of all health-related data represents about $300 billion to $450 billion per year. In addition, a PwC study shows that 95% of healthcare CEOs want to explore better techniques to understand and leverage big data.Healthcare’s future is still under construction but we can already see trends going towards a real-time and personalized healthcare, allowing a smarter management of ones health, while reducing costs across the continuum of care (SAP Healthcare, 2014).
Byrnes, N. (2014). Can Mobile Technologies and Big Data Improve Health? | MIT Technology Review. [online] MIT Technology Review. Available at: http://www.technologyreview.com/news/529011/can-technology-fix-medicine/ [Accessed 1 Oct. 2015].
Collinsdictionary.com, (2015). Collins Dictionaries | Always Free Online.. [online] Available at: http://www.collinsdictionary.com/ [Accessed 2 Oct. 2015].
Diana, A. (2015). Healthcare Dives Into Big Data – InformationWeek. [online] InformationWeek. Available at: http://www.informationweek.com/healthcare/analytics/healthcare-dives-into-big-data/d/d-id/1251138 [Accessed 2 Oct. 2015].
Marr, B. (2015). Forbes Welcome. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2015/04/21/how-big-data-is-changing-healthcare/ [Accessed 2 Oct. 2015].
Harvard Business Review, (2015). How Big Data Impacts Healthcare. [online] Available at: https://hbr.org/resources/pdfs/comm/sap/18826_HBR_SAP_Healthcare_Aug_2014.pdf [Accessed 2 Oct. 2015].