If the COVID-19 pandemic proves to be an accelerant for digital innovation, the Walgreens Boots Alliance is at the vanguard of that trend.
The Deerfield, Ill.-Based company, which counts more than 9,100 Walgreens retail pharmacies in the U.S. and about 2,000 Boots retailers in the UK, has no option to close or slow down when the pandemic hits around the world in March. 2019.
Instead, Global CIO and Senior Vice President Francesco Tinto, who joined the WBA six months earlier, pushed the company’s cloud-first business transformation into overdrive to ensure the pharmacy chain could better serve its customers digitally, due to the need for COVID-19 scheduling, testing. , and the vaccinations prompted the company to develop digital solutions faster than planned.
“COVID really pushed us to make sure we would have customer service during the lockdown,” Tinto said.
So far, the WBA has provided 56 million vaccines for COVID-19 and 22.9 million tests in the U.S., thanks to a few steps in a digital innovation more Microsoft’s Azure cloud-based and a dizzying array of technologies bleeding, including MongoDB databases, Snowflake warehousing data, and Databricks ’Spark -based AI platform.
Today, the Walgreens Boots IT chief is using this powerful cocktail of advanced cloud, data analytics, and artificial intelligence technologies to deliver mass personalization services and to enhance WBA’s online relationship with consumers.
Data is a key component
WBA’s modernization of its IT stack required moving the back-end processes that drive its online retail business, such as accounts payable, general ledger, and inventory management, to Microsoft’s cloud. As part of this, WBA rebuilt its business application stack by moving to SAP S/4HANA and moving to cloud-based automated operational services ServiceNow.
Walgreens Boots Alliance
The company has also begun to consolidate many of its data assets into one Microsoft Azure data lake, a change that has proven crucial to making analytics and AI magic happen, Tinto says. As part of this change, WBS moved from legacy databases to advanced cloud databases and analytics, deploying Azure Synapse for relational data, Azure Cosmos for unstructured and semi-structured data, and MongoDB for document-oriented models.
The retail chain is also moving on-premises data stored on Teradata, Netezza, and Hadoop appliances to the cloud, using Snowflake for data warehousing and Databricks for AI, Tinto said.
That data foundation has been key to establishing WBA’s next-generation services, enabling developers and data scientists on WBA’s 2,000-member IT staff, along with thousands of its partner programmers, to develop approximately 100 in-house AI products to date, Tinto said.
In addition to the Databricks platform, WBA uses Python tools, Spark Clusters, Jupyter Notebook, and open-source NLP (natural language processing) capabilities to write machine learning models for inventory optimization and pricing optimization, and to create customer profiles-the core of WBA’s next-generation personalization service, says Tinto.
“AI for us is really the technology we’re pushing,” he said. “A big push is developing an operating model where we can actually use data and the data scientist increases their knowledge and use of AI. We want to make sure that AI and machine learning are embedded in everything. we do. “
Next frontier: Mass personalization
In the third year of its innovation, WBA’s primary focus today is to build customer profiles and offer comprehensive personalization to its customers, advancing its online dispensing system and giving consumers more management of prescription online, according to Tinto.
“It’s really the aggregation and curating of all our data is how we start building customer profiles and personalization capabilities,” Tinto said, adding that the company is implementing cloud services in a way that allows the company to “reconcile between global capability and local adaptation.”
Both Tinto and CEO Rosalind Brewer believe that WBA’s cloud infrastructure is essential to the company’s strategy for delivering more customized, personalized services to the majority of its consumers in the US and UK, as well as a growing number of WBA pharmacies in Mexico, Thailand, and Ireland.
“We have a laid foundation. We are no longer moving in the cloud. We’re in the cloud, “Tinto said, noting that the company is finishing its online dispensing system and is moving more aggressively to data analytics that are” much more prescriptive and predictive. “
While the company still uses several applications in its data center, the next-generation data analytics and AI platform will allow WBA to be very close to its consumers-one customer at a time.
The goal is for customers to manage their prescriptions online from their Walgreens ’or Boots’ account and receive personalized recommendations for products and solutions that address each consumer’s unique health issues.
“AI is very important in understanding the customer profile. Now we can deliver the best promotions, the best content, personalized offers,” Tinto said, adding that the plan also includes making personalized interactive service using chatbots.
The WBA, for example, signed a partnership with Microsoft and Adobe 18 months ago to offer one-on-one communication to consumers and deliver tailored prescription experiences online. Adobe’s Customer Experience Management (CXM) solutions, another aspect of the partnership, will offer analytics, content management, personalization, and online campaign orchestration services.
“For example, we are launching a new experience for a patient diagnosed with a chronic condition so we can help the customer travel and offer advice and suggestions that will help the person reduce the impact of the disease,” Tinto said. .
The global CIO is pleased with the progress to date and excited about the prospects for the future.
“I’m on a journey that won’t stop moving to the cloud,” he says of his efforts to create a data-driven organization that can offer comprehensive personalization. “With all the complications of the pandemic, I’m in the middle of rebuilding an organization that is moving from being over -operational to an organization that is evolving.”
#Walgreens #Boots #Alliance #personal #Source Link #The Walgreens Boots Alliance is becoming personal with AI