Today’s (5th July 2017) Ocado’s interim results will capture the attention of investors, following its recent announcement to raise investment to strengthen its technology and increase its warehouse capacity. In recent weeks, the online grocer planned to raise at least £200 million through a bond sale. This followed its decision to sign a deal with an unnamed European retailer, licensing its grocery storage and distribution technology to international supermarkets.
As stores continue to battle against the tide with more consumers turning online for their shopping, grocers are also feeling the pressure to evolve their business models. Ocado took the lead by becoming the first to begin trials with a self-driving delivery truck last week. As the company strengthens its online grocery delivery service, it requires directors to have a robust understanding of technology to support its growth ambitions. This is according to Farida Gibbs, CEO of Gibbs Hybrid Workforce Solutions.
Automation, AI, Big Data and Cloud computing are challenging executives to become more literate in technology. Digital expertise goes beyond the remit of IT teams as board level executives have a responsibility to put digital on the agenda and craft a strategic response to the opportunities and threats surrounding technology.
Farida Gibbs said, “every company is now becoming a technology company, as no business can create, deliver its product or services or engage with customers efficiently without technology. Businesses like Ocado who are making the strategic decision to inject investment into their digital capabilities, need to have board members who have a foundational knowledge of technology in order to steer the business in the right direction. Without adequate technology knowledge, boards will struggle to make informed decisions when considering which new technologies to implement and how to gain business value.”
“The decision of going ahead and directing investment towards Ocado’s autonomous delivery trucks, would require a combination of industry and digital to shape their strategy. Navigating through the digital era requires the board to have sufficient technology knowledge to set the course for the team on the ground. Adopting a digital mind-set starts with the board setting a tone for the rest of the workforce which can filter down through the organisation. Investment in new technology and talent goes hand in hand, as frontline staff need the digital skills to help exploit the full potential of these innovative tools.”
Read the Ocado half year results here.