Australian retail group, Myer, is fast-tracking investments in mobile, digital and online apps under moves to deliver an "omni-channel" experience for customers and build on its $3.1 billion in annual sales.

The future lies in integrating online and mobile channels, according to Wayne Black, the retail giant's business intelligence manager.

Black, who was a panel member at the IDG Australia's recent CIO Summit in Melbourne, told delegates that mobile and online channels are central planks for Myer's ICT investment strategy.

Mobile reporting is streamlining business processes while "moving managers from the back room directly to the store floor."

Myer's investment in mobile and online apps supports anywhere, anytime communication between customers as well as 12,500 staff nationally. These channels also potentially reach 54,000 shareholders and a network of 1,200 suppliers globally, he says.

The success of mobile reporting lies in managers' ability to gain an overview of business operations, sales channels as well as the supply chain, says Black.

This is being done increasingly through managers' smart phones and other mobile devices. These factor in managers' bring-you-own or choose-your-own devices. Analytics data can now be accessed using mobile devices -- while offering a snap-shot of business operations -- from the back-room directly to the shop floor, he says.

Gaining full business visibility

Read more:Telstra embraces digital future at 'unique moment in time'

Organisations are investing in the integration of mobile and online apps with business intelligence and analytics tools, says Black. Success lies in gaining full visibility about business performance and customer needs across all lines of business.

A key driver for success lies in gaining mobile access to sales reports, inventory or the supply chain, Black says. This access incorporates a judicious mix of grids and graphs while enabling managers to customise their view of reports or make split-second decisions.

The challenge for Myer, before investing in mobile reporting, was that staff needed to manually run and assemble a report for each store. These reports then had to be sent out individually to each store manager. The process was repeated every hour. This reporting system was cumbersome, inefficient and error-prone.

"There was also no centralised business intelligence (BI) or analytics template for users," Black says.

Investments in mobile reporting, together with BI tools, now enable store managers to gain routine reports about inventory, sales or performance figures. They can also track the movement of goods across the supply chain and replenish items as and where needed.

At-a-glance reporting

In a new reporting environment, floor-level staff are making snap decisions using smart phones or mobile devices. Reports can be consolidated faster -- with better visibility of sales and performance across lines of business.

Read more:NSW minister Dominic Perrottet lays out pre-election digital plan

While a manually-assembled report tool 4 hours each day to create, it now takes 20 minutes to compile and share a report using mobile and BI platforms.

The future lies in integrating analytics and business intelligence with mobile devices, according to Black. A judicious mix of grids and graphs enables managers to customise their views of reports or make split-second decisions about inventory and customer needs.

This at-a-glance mobile reporting will drive business success, especially for retail that operates in a fiercely competitive landscape.

Among the mobile apps, salespeople are using smart phones as point-of-sale cash registers and customer data collection points. Mobile devices enable merchants to swipe credit cards and ring up sales at strategic points, with the ability to track and act on this data in real-time.

Myer's national business is now complemented by recently enhanced online, digital and mobile platforms. The investment in mobility and analytics is helping consolidate reports, make sales reports more visible, and boost staff productivity.

As Australia's largest department store group and, Myer has been in business for more than 100 years. The company's footprint encompasses 67 stores across prime retail locations across cities, towns and regional areas.

Follow Shahida Sweeney on Twitter: @ShahidaSweeney

Follow CIO Australia on Twitter and Like us on Facebook... Twitter: @CIO_Australia, Facebook: CIO Australia, or take part in the CIO conversation on LinkedIn: CIO Australia

Read more:Digitising healthcare: The state of e-health in Australia