Consumer • Digital • Growth

Retail Technology Conclave -ReTechCon 2016 – my annual pilgrimage

Retail Technology Conclave, ReTechCon is like an annual pilgrimage for every CIO, CTO and CEO of the retail industry and I have always found tremendous value in these two days well spent every year. However, as a member of RAI Technology Committee our involvement with the event starts somewhere in the month of December previous year itself. Technology leadership team of almost entire retail industry puts its mind together to bring combined knowledge, experiences and trends on this national platform for the entire fraternity.

This was its 11th edition and the theme was Digital India Digital Retail. I have been associated with this event from the beginning, whereas last few years this has become very interesting since the growing influence of e-commerce and digital transactions has added completely new set of dimensions and technology challenges.

Over these 11 years the role of CIO/CTO in a retail enterprise has also evolved from just being an IT head to a strategic partner in the CEO’s growth vision. New generation CIO/CTO plays a very crucial role in business innovation as well as customer engagement. With the basic solutions like POS and ERP now becoming hygiene factor for every retailer, CTO/CIOs are now exploring new innovations in the streams of Customer Engagement, Payments, Supply Chain Management, Big Data, Mobility etc. We consciously tried to cover all these streams in detail with the best minds in this edition of ReTechCon.

The committee felt that a big wave of start-up community is playing a very crucial and important role to bring variety of innovations to the industry. Most interesting aspect of this new revolution is the freshness of ideas, flexibility, time to implement and affordability for the industry. It also brings an opportunity to try new technologies with minimum risk. On the other hand this new aspect opened up a new opportunity to rope in new generation of participants and partners for this premium event. To integrate this new generation of technology players with the industry needs we decided to add ReTechCon Start-Up Awards this year. The objective was to invite innovations for the industry and recognise them. We received over 100 entries, out of which 54 were found suitable for consideration. Two set of jury teams selected 12 best entries for the final selection of 5 winners. The finale to these awards was the glittering award ceremony at the end of the first day.

Another interesting aspect I noted was the focused participation of SME retail professionals in subject matter workshops. I was hopping into these workshop rooms to support the partners but very soon each of these were getting full with enthusiastic and genuine participant leaving no room for me to stay there. Some of these were on role of analytics, supply chain, role of technology in general trade etc.

Like every year I not only came back with some new interesting ideas and knowledge share but many new friends in the industry. It is these friendships which go a long way in achieving your own personal and professional goals.


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