AI in Retail: Beyond The Hype and Into Reality for Store Operations.
The Top 10 AI use cases that Retail Operators at every level told us would transform their daily work. AI for Retail Operations is...
As much as we believe that Agile Store Operations is something every single retailer needs to commit to, we don’t expect any retail CFO to simply take our word for it. As ever, a robust business case will be required.
No investment comes to any team or any company without the CFO’s approval. Yet we increasingly see that the business case has become a rote task within a project or investment. Filling in standard templates and looking at standard analysis has become the norm without anyone taking a step back to think: why are we doing all of this?
Yes, CFOs are numbers people. But don’t be fooled. Like most human beings, understanding the story is the core way to convince them. In any review of a business case a CFO is trying to answer three key questions:
Why these three? The first is the question that holds the CFO and other executives accountable for their commitments to the board. The second holds them accountable to investors and the market, and the third ensures that the team is ensuring they are maximizing value and choosing the right approach.
Every strategy will have both descriptive and quantitative objectives that ladder up to high-level goals. How a company achieves these goals is where the real strategy lies – and where any project must align to get exec buy-in.
Figure 1. Shows a generic example of three typical strategic goals and how Agile Store operations aligns to each of them.
Figure 1. Example goals & tactics and how Agile Store Operations links to achieving them.
Aligning to strategy is important but not sufficient, the impact on results also needs to be material. Gone are the days when you could put a number in a spreadsheet and the CFO would believe you. There is high skepticism from any CFO and a more credible approach is needed.
At Quorso we partner with the retailer to assess and demonstrate impact in two ways:
Figure 2. Gives a breakdown of a business case here as we would build with a company. You can find the template and business calculator at quorso.com/resource-center. Note: Highlights areas denote where POC took place, all comments to be edited for your business case.
It is often thought that when considering the best alternative, the CFO will simply look for the lowest cost. This is rarely the case, as most executives will have tried this previously in their career and been stung as a result.
However, from what we’ve seen with the leading retailers we work with, it takes a lot more than a price point to prove the competitive value of any project. The CFO will also ask:
Providing answers to these questions instills confidence that the right approach has been taken and the solution being put forward is the one all stakeholders believe is most valuable.
Like many companies, you likely have your own template for a business case but if the approach above was helpful you can find our resources at quorso. com/resource-center/. It is worth noting that there is no perfect answer here. However, to instill confidence in your CFO, your approach needs to demonstrate that your Agile Store Operations project can not only be successfully delivered but will also go down well with their board and investors. This combination should be the focus for your business case.