A recent study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers indicates that 20 percent of all retail-sector companies in Germany have yet to implement a digitization strategy. The same study points to significant underinvestment, with over half of all respondents (57 percent) indicating that their planned investment in digital business expansion over the next three years totaled less than a million euros, and only just on a quarter planning to invest between one and five million euros. "Given the many tasks and challenges involved, this level of investment seems much too low," says Christian Wulff, PwC Partner Transactions, Valuation & Strategy.
For specialist dealers, distributors, IT systems providers and resellers seeking new revenue sources, CEBIT is an absolute mine of ideas and inspiration. The show will outline many ways in which these retail-sector providers can enlarge their service range and add new lines of business. Cloud-based contracting and managed services are promising cases in point, given that customers are increasingly forsaking conventional hardware in favor of the flexibility and scalability of Internet-based computing and storage. Hybrid models comprising classic hosting and web-based services are likewise highly promising. Security is another exciting business area. For instance, by offering innovative cloud-based solutions, IT resellers can add another string to their bow as trusted security partners to SMEs who are looking for alternatives to the expense of investing in their own security infrastructure.
At CEBIT, retail-sector visitors will also discover how AI technology can be used to drive eCommerce and mCommerce - e.g. by integrating chatbots into web portals. The show’s central hub for specialist dealers and distributors is the Channel & Distribution showcase in Hall 13. There, systems providers, resellers and others will find new ideas and solutions for getting their businesses ready for the digital future. The displays adjacent to that will feature an array of products and solutions for security and communication - both areas of key importance for the retail sector. Other must-see showcases include Multichannel & Web Presence and Customer Centricity.
Innovative software solutions that add real value
Visitors to this year’s CEBIT will find real-life examples of successful digitalization practically everywhere they look. The Smart IT truck by implexis is a case in point. The mobile showroom will focus on a range of themes, including "The future of bricks-and-mortar retail: beacons, RFID and smart cash register systems", and "Redefining Omnichannel - Cross-channel shopping" (Hall 17, Stand G26).
Managed services and enterprise resource planning are two important and increasingly convergent areas of everyday business in IT sales and distribution. All the tools that IT resellers and distributors need in these areas will be showcased in realistic scenarios at CEBIT. c-entron, for example will be presenting, among other things, a new CRM (customer relationship management) solution that integrates onboarding processes for new and existing customers, resource planning functionality and a ticket system including time and contact management functionality (Hall 13, Stand D64).
The upcoming CEBIT will also feature customer loyalty solutions. CAS Software and SC-Networks, for example, will be showcasing a new solution for customer-centric communication. Featuring a combination of CRM and marketing automation, the solution enables small and mid-size businesses to identify and meet the needs of their customers in a way that is GDPR-compliant. CAS will also be presenting smart assistants such as Picasso Search and solutions for product configuration using a virtual reality headset (Hall 16, Stand J18).
acmeo offers a range of solutions that IT systems providers can use to enlarge the portfolio of services they provide to business customers. At CEBIT, acmeo will demonstrate how systems providers can combine and market products from areas as diverse as managed services, managed security, cloud infrastructure, application delivery, and unified communications (Hall 13, Stand E44).
ITscope will be presenting a software solution that enables users to compare the products and pricing of "340 distributors at a glance". The software is a single platform that offers resellers the convenience and efficiency of retrieving pricing information from multiple suppliers in one go and directly ordering from a range of over three million ICT products (Hall 13, Stand E38).
Business intelligence specialist Echobot will be demonstrating tools for digitizing sales processes. These include CONNECT, a software plug-in that provides profiles on over a million companies in German-speaking Europe. Once installed, the plug-in integrates seamlessly into the user’s sales workflow. "This year we are putting a major emphasis on usability. We want to show just how easy to use and helpful sales digitization can be," explains CEO Bastian Karweg (Hall 16, Stand B30).
Meanwhile, SemVox will be at the show with a new voice-control add-on for existing applications that can be used in Smart Home settings and in manufacturing. The point of difference is that the speech recognition, processing and output processes do not run on external servers but on the user’s end device (Hall 27, Stand E31/5).
The Smart Building trend is another area of great promise for the retail sector. Today, most newly built office and industrial buildings have their own IP backbone. This opens the way for IT resellers to generate significant revenues by offering intelligent energy management and access control as a service via the Internet. These opportunities will be among the themes traversed at the SMART BUILDING PAVILION (Hall 13, Stand E01).
On Thursday 14 June, Hall 17 will be home to two lecture forums on the future of retail. First, there’s the Customer Centricity Summit on the Center Stage, which will outline an array of innovative sales and marketing concepts. The topics discussed will include artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality and the use of video. One of the big highlights of the summit program is a presentation by Max Amordeluso, Amazon’s EU Lead Evangelist Alexa Skills Kit, who will provide fascinating insights into the use of voice-controlled assistants to enhance the customer experience. The second of these forums is the Digital Trade Forum, which will provide a broad and in-depth perspective on what’s driving digitization, encompassing topics as diverse as current trends in eCommerce, the Internet of Things and blockchain. The lineup will also feature an on-site Computer Reseller News TV studio, which will operate throughout CEBIT, broadcasting live interviews with big-name guests from the ICT industry.
At CEBIT 2018, everything is geared to generating business, leads and bright ideas. With its exhibitor displays, expert conferences and prime networking opportunities, CEBIT is a triple-punch event covering everything essential to the digitization of business, government and society. The innovations on display in the d!conomy section of the show give IT professionals and decision-makers from the realms of business, trade and the public sector the tools they need to streamline and futureproof their operations by leveraging digitization to the fullest. The event’s d!tec showcase puts the spotlight on developers and startups and their disruptive business models, as well as on research institutes giving us a glimpse of tomorrow’s game-changing technologies. The d!talk conference program features visionaries, lateral thinkers, creatives and experts from around the globe. The d!campus is the beating heart of CEBIT - the place where everyone gets together for relaxed networking, street food and live music. CEBIT presents the digital transformation in a totally new way, while retaining its core focus on business, leads and more leads. The first day of CEBIT 2018 - Monday, 11 June - is reserved for conference attendees and journalists, with the exhibition opening on Tuesday, 12 June. The exhibition halls will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the d!campus staying open till 11 p.m. on those days. Opening hours on Friday are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CEBIT Events Worldwide give Deutsche Messe’s customers even more ways of reaching their international clientele, e.g. in dynamic markets such as China, Australia, Thailand and Spain.