Opening or refreshing 500 stores at a time is a big undertaking. As a retail executive, you know how many moving parts there are in a project of this scale, and that not all of them can, or should, be controlled by the IT department. In today’s competitive retail environment, any mistake or delay that prevents the store from opening on time is simply not an option. But with limited IT resources, opening hundreds of stores can seem like an impossible task.
Instead of taking it on alone, you can turn to a retail technology services partner with deep project management experience to help. By working with an expert who’s been there before, getting 500 stores open on time and on budget can be a reality. Through their experience, they can develop a clear schedule, leverage a repeatable, scalable deployment process, and identify any issues before they become a crisis. This frees up your IT team to do what they do best, and gives you a single point of contact for anything related to the project.
The Importance of Project Management Capabilities
There are a lot of factors that go into getting an IT refresh of this scale done on time. Equipment needs to be selected, procured, configured, and tested. Software must be installed and tested to remove any bugs. And in-store technologies such as digital displays or kiosks must be able to integrate with the rest of the IT environment. All of this should be done prior to delivery to the store to eliminate discovery and minimize risk during installation.
And these are just the technology related tasks. Beyond these, there are many things that don’t necessarily fall under IT’s expertise. For example, permits need to be acquired, networks and utilities need to be hooked up, contractors need to be managed, and any bad weather or unforeseen issues can set a project behind without anyone being at fault. Employees must be trained on any new in-store technology, and then there’s the logistical challenge of getting the right people and equipment to the stores in line with the refresh schedule. Oh, and there’s the regular day-to-day IT work that still needs to be done as well.
Clearly, putting all of this on your IT department doesn’t make sense. Even if they could take it on, it’s likely not the best use of their time. But by working with a retail technology services company who can provide end-to-end support, you gain deep project management experience and the resources required to manage hundreds of store deployments across a wide geographic area.
Designing a Repeatable, Scalable Process
Bringing a partner in early on in the project can be extremely valuable, because developing a clear, achievable schedule right from the start is a key factor in making this vision a reality. Based off of this schedule and the types of store layouts you have, they can then start to develop a repeatable, scalable and documented process that’s easy to follow. Without this, deploying so many stores would quickly dissolve into an uncoordinated mess.
Once these are in place, the provider can begin to manage the vendor relationships required to acquire equipment and deal with utility and telecom companies in different regions. They can send their own trained and certified technicians to the site for deployment, and manage the logistics of getting the right equipment to the stores at the right time. And if a problem does arise, they can identify and solve it quickly to keep everything on track, instead of allowing it to compound into something that sets the entire project behind. Your IT team is free to work on the strategic aspects of the deployment, and aren’t tied up with managing so many relationships or testing hundreds of pieces of equipment individually.
Opening 500 Stores – On Time, Every Time
Store openings or IT refreshes involve much more than just the IT department. There are countless factors that go into getting a store ready, and when this is scaled up to hundreds of locations, it can quickly seem like an overwhelming task. Fortunately, with the help of a retail technology services provider, you can get the project management expertise and resources required to make everything run as smoothly as possible. And when a missed opening means hundreds of thousands or millions in lost revenue, unhappy customers, and a damaged brand, having someone who’s been there before is a valuable relationship to have.
To learn more about how you can get your stores open on time after a refresh, download our expert report – Retail IT and Store Growth.