Coles has signed a long-term partnership with Microsoft, migrating its applications to cloud platform Azure, which will use artificial intelligence in physical stores and through the supply chain, to analyse and better tailor the Coles range to meet customer needs.
Microsoft Azure will enable Coles to “drive simplicity and efficiency in its operations” and will build an enterprise data platform, allowing for advanced analytics across Coles based on its proprietary research, flybuys and customer transactions.
The Microsoft partnership is a key part of Coles' Smarter Selling strategy in stores, where team members will be provided with a range of new tools to “transform how they work”, including the removal of manual tasks such as stock management and price markdowns, in order to boost productivity.
Coles chief information and digital officer Roger Sniezek said the company has constantly evolved to meet the needs of our customers.
“This strategic partnership builds on our long-standing relationship with Microsoft and will enable the Smarter Selling pillar of our strategy through efficiency and pace of change. We’re very confident that Microsoft will empower us to achieve more,” he said.
“By moving to the Azure cloud we will be able to simplify our operations and deliver at pace. The Azure-based Enterprise Data Platform will allow us to execute advanced analytics and artificial intelligence across all areas of our business at extreme scale.”
In addition, Coles will also deploy Microsoft's resource planning solution Dynamics 365 enterprise in its Coles Express and meat manufacturing businesses to create “simpler, more efficient and robust operations that em-power team members”, as well as Microsoft 365 Modern Workplace suite.
“As the retail industry continues to undergo massive transformation, forward thinking companies are exploring how to leverage technology to better serve their customers and employees,” said executive vice president of Microsoft Worldwide Commercial Business, Judson Althoff.
“We are excited to bring our global retail experience to Coles. Through our partnership, we will support Coles to provide personalised, seamless experiences for shoppers using AI, offer a more productive workplace for team members through modern collaboration tools and help them unlock better business insights through our advanced analytics solutions.”
Microsoft will also provide tailored training for Coles' digital and technology teams, as well as investing resources to deliver “technology-led, next generational retail solutions”.