A.S. Watson Group launches its first ever Technology Partnership Programme to support the acceleration of its digital transformation

A.S. Watson Group launches its first ever Technology Partnership Programme to support the acceleration of its digital transformation

HONG KONG, 2017-Dec-18 — /EPR Retail News/ — A.S. Watson Group (ASW), the world’s largest international health and beauty retailer, announces the launch of its first ever Technology Partnership Programme to build a network of technology expert partners to support the acceleration of its digital transformation.

Transformative Partnership to Win Customers’ Hearts
Malina Ngai, Group Chief Operating Officer of ASW, explained why the company introduces the partnership approach. “We believe every technology partner whom we have chosen to work with is more than just a vendor. Traditional client-vendor relationship is short-term. There is lack of transparency and continuity in the way we work with each other. Besides, project base contract makes it difficult for their resource planning.

“The Partnership Programme is designed to transform the short term contractual relationship to a longer term strategic relationship to create a win-win for both parties. Our Tech Partners will have access to senior management, visibility on our growth strategy and technology roadmap, as well as a longer term financial commitment from us. We can benefit from their commitment in providing consistent resources, expert advice and services, as well as first hand access to innovation they develop.

“The appointment of our first batch of worldwide Tech Partners shows our determination to accelerate our digital transformation. The goal of such transformation is to enable A.S. Watson Group to build on our solid retail foundation to fuel further growth through a smarter and more efficient organisation. Our purpose of putting customer first and putting a smile on their faces continues. We recognize that our customers are changing rapidly and technology has become an ever more critical ingredient to deliver our purpose.”

Paving the Way for Future with Technology and People
ASW embarked on its digital transformation journey since 2011 when it introduces its first Customer Strategy. Investment initially was dedicated to CRM, eCommerce and mobile experience, amounted to USD70m. It has subsequently established eLab in 2015, an in-house digital agency focusing on supporting all operating businesses to develop eCommerce and digital marketing. In 2017, ASW kicked off another major investment of USD70m in big data to build new capabilities in analytics and machine learning.

In the meantime, ASW has launched a re-engineering programme in People Development in order to attract, train and retain the right talents to serve the customers of the new world.

For the first batch of Tech Partners the company appoints comprises of expertise in the areas of eCommerce, store systems, data science, artificial intelligence, data visualization, technology ecosystem and services. ASW will continue to identify potential expertise to join the Partnership Programme to support its digital transformation journey.

Partnering for New Heights of Retail
Cally Chan, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong is delighted about the collaboration opportunities to spark the next wave of growth, “Microsoft is thrilled about the opportunity to work with A.S. Watson as a trusted partner. ASW’s unique approach to partnership and full transparency has enabled us to work hand-in-hand to accelerate their digital transformation journey. With Microsoft Cloud, we are committed to empowering ASW’s employees to collaborate globally in ways which were never possible before.”

Balazs Fejes, EVP & Co-Head Global Business of EPAM is honored to be selected as a technology partner of ASW, “EPAM is pleased to serve A.S. Watson Group in four countries in Europe at present and is exploring new opportunities in its Asia portfolio. We appreciate ASW’s approach to making its technology roadmap transparent, whether a partner is large or small, as this facilitates a mutual understanding of needs and expectations. This partnership, combined with our focus on rapidly developing disruptive solutions in the areas of big data and digital experiences, will enable us to collectively support a full range of digital transformation strategies within ASW.”

Matteo Da Pont, CEO of Ovolab is excited about the partnership with ASW, “We at Ovolab are a close-knit team of passionate mobile developers and designers. As a small company, we are especially proud to be among the select list of suppliers that were appointed ASW Tech Partners and briefed on the vision of ASW’s digital strategy. This is an incredible opportunity for us, and we look forward to working even more closely with ASW to deliver compelling apps that will delight ASW customers in their everyday interactions with ASW brands.”

According to Kerry Liu, CEO of Rubikloud, the company aims to support ASW to further enhance its capabilities in personalising customer offers through advanced targeting, as well as optimising promotional effectiveness, “We are thrilled to partner with a global retail leader like A.S. Watson Group. At Rubikloud we focus on applying machine learning and flexible big data architectures in practical applications, which means driving tangible business impact.”

Willy Wong, CEO of Mtel is enthusiastic about the collaboration with ASW, “While many companies look at mobile app development as a project, it is evolving into a strategic tool for consumer brands to engage its customers. I am pleased to create a long-term partnership with a successful international retailer like A.S. Watson who sees mobile as more than a one-off project. Our initial scope is in Asia and I am confident that we will help ASW to make a difference in the role mobile plays in their business.”

Alexander Varghese, Chief Administrative Officer of UST Global said, “At UST Global, we are at the forefront of innovation and are focused on bringing cutting-edge technologies for our large global customers. We are excited to work with A.S. Watson and thank them for having us onboard.”

SOURCE: A.S. Watson Retail (HK) Ltd

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+852 2606 8833
+852 2690 2836
grouppr@aswatson.com

A.S. Watson Group further invests in big data capabilities through partnership with Rubikloud

HONG KONG, 2017-Feb-02 — /EPR Retail News/ — A.S. Watson Group (ASW), the largest international health and beauty retailer in Asia and Europe, announced today ( February 1, 2017) a partnership with Toronto-based Rubikloud as part of its investment in big data capabilities. The Group will invest USD 70 million (approximately HKD540 million) in the coming three years on big data, to further enhance customer experience and operational efficiencies using machine learning and data visualisation applications.

Rubikloud is a Toronto-based company, with seed round funding led by Horizon Ventures, the investment arm of Mr Li Ka-shing. Over the next three years, ASW will partner with Rubikloud to deploy RubiCore, the company’s data enterprise platform built for easier artificial intelligence applications plug-in, as well as two of its machine learning applications, namely Promotion Manager and Lifecycle Manager, in ASW’s network of 13,300 retail stores across 25 Asian and European markets.

Expanding the Winning Partnership across the Globe
The ASW-Rubikloud partnership began in 2015 at one of ASW’s European operations. In just 10 months, Rubikloud’s machine-learning application Lifecycle Manager successfully generated incremental sales from direct-to-customer CRM campaigns by more than 8%. This initial winning partnership led to the deployment of Rubikloud’s Promotion Manager application for ASW’s UK flagship brand Superdrug, expected to bring about more accurate sales forecasts and more efficient operations, and has since grown into the Group-level partnership being announced today.

Making Smarter Decisions Faster
Rubikloud’s RubiCore will help enhance operational excellence within ASW, by rapidly integrating many legacy databases from across business units and sources, into a single, elastic cloud enabled database. This exercise is expected to shorten the roll-out lead time of current and future machine learning tools by 50-80%. Specifically, newer visualisation platforms and machine learning applications across ASW will all have access to the same data from a single location in the cloud for enhanced real-time decision making. ASW believes such tool is crucial to excel in retail management and operations.

By harmonising all corporate databases into single data architecture, it is expected that the impactful machine-learning-driven solutions provided by Rubikloud will allow tailor-made promotion strategy recommendations. Rubikloud’s total solution will allow ASW’s retail brands to provide the right offers to the right customers, enabling truly customer-centric and optimised marketing promotions.

Malina Ngai, Chief Operating Officer of A.S. Watson Group, sets high expectation over the big data partner appointment, “We are investing in big data amid global economic uncertainties because we believe that technology is a critical enabler for successful retailing in today’s world. With the right technology, we will be able to focus our resources, from the backend support to shop floor, on building better customer experience. Rubikloud has cutting-edge machine learning applications and their new thinking in data science is a true value-add to our well established retail experience.”

According to Kerry Liu, CEO of Rubikloud, the company aims to support ASW to further enhance its capabilities in personalising customer offers through advanced targeting, as well as optimising promotional effectiveness. “We are thrilled to partner with a global retail leader like A.S. Watson Group. At Rubikloud we focus on applying machine learning and flexible big data architectures in practical applications, which means driving tangible business impact.”

About A.S. Watson Group
Established in Hong Kong in 1841, A.S. Watson Group is the largest international health and beauty retailer in Asia and Europe with 13,300 stores in 25 markets. Each year, over three billion customers and members shop with our 13 retail brands, both in stores and online.

A.S. Watson Group is also a member of the world-renowned multinational conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings Limited, which has five core businesses – ports and related services, retail, infrastructure, energy and telecommunications in over 50 countries.

Please visit www.aswatson.com for more in-depth information about A.S. Watson Group and its brands. You may also stay in touch with us via our digital presence (eCommerce, social media, mobile app & more); more details are at http://www.aswatson.com/our-customers/digitalasw/.

About Rubikloud
Rubikloud is a leading machine intelligence platform for enterprise retailers. Rubikloud sits at the intersection of an enterprise software revolution. Embedded machine learning, industry specific decision engines, and elastic cloud compliant architectures will be at the forefront of all future enterprise software systems. Rubikloud’s big-data architecture gathers retailer data from both legacy and new online and offline systems. This data is then used to help retailers make tangible actions that grow their loyalty revenue, promotion forecast accuracy, and merchandising profitability. The Toronto-based company works with leading omnichannel retailers around the world.

Contact:

Tel: +852 2606 8833
Fax: +852 2690 2836
Email: grouppr@aswatson.com

Source: A.S. Watson Group