A.S. Watson Continues Technology Partnership Programme to Accelerate Digital Transformation

A.S. Watson Group (ASW), the world’s largest international health and beauty retailer, hosted the first-ever ASW Technology Partner Day event in Hong Kong and announced to continue with its Technology Partnership programme in order to build a network of technology expert partners which helps accelerate digital transformation.

Transformative Partnership to Enhance Customer Connectivity
Malina Ngai, Group Chief Operating Officer of A.S. Watson Group, explained why ASW is continuing with the unique partnership approach, “We started the Technology Partnership Programme last year with the aim to create longer term partnership instead of short-term client-vendor relationship. Through this mutual commitment, our Tech Partners whom we have chosen to work with us have brought us great expertise and innovation to help accelerate our digital transformation.

“At the A.S. Watson Technology Partner Day event, we want to recognise the contributions of our Partners, and at the same time, shared an update of our business strategy to give them transparency. As the official ASW Tech Partners, they have access to senior management, visibility on our growth strategy and technology roadmap. We have also given them the opportunity to showcase their technology to generate ideas and innovation for the future. We have also invited potential technology companies to join, and will continue to explore new partners.

“As we continue the worldwide collaboration with our Tech Partners, it reflects our determination in digital transformation. As we continue our journey, we will invest in the right technology and the right partnership to help us enhance our ability to build stronger customer connectivity, online and offline, which in return will make us customers’ most-loved brands.”

Our Investment in Technology and People Continues
ASW embarked on its digital transformation journey since 2011 when it introduced the first Customer Strategy. Investment has been dedicated to CRM, eCommerce and mobile experience, along with the establishment of eLab in 2015, an in-house digital agency focusing on supporting all business units to develop eCommerce and digital marketing. In 2017, ASW kicked off another major investment in big data to build new capabilities in analytics and machine learning. At the same time, it also starts to re-engineer its staff training programme using mobile app called Pocket U to help improve customer service. In 2018, ASW launched DataLab, a team dedicated on data science by generating insights and learnings about the Group’s 130 million loyalty programme customers. The investment in digital transformation from 2012-2020 is targeted at HK$1 billion.

Into the second year of the ASW Technology Partners programme, the Group appoints strategic partners comprising of expertise in the areas of eCommerce, store systems, data science, artificial intelligence, data visualization, technology ecosystem and services. A total of 18 Tech Partners are appointed in 2019, and another 15 companies are identified as Future Partners with a potential contributing to ASW’s digital transformation. ASW continues to identify potential expertise from either large or small companies to join the Partnership Programme to support the Group’s digital transformation journey.

Interested companies may become ASW technology vendors by registering on: https://www.aswatson.com/our-suppliers/our-tech-partners/

Together We Build a New Era of Retail
Eric van Dijk, CEO of Slimstock, expects close collaboration with ASW as a Tech Partner for the first time, “Supply chain operational excellence is key to survive in the rapidly changing and highly competitive retail landscape. We are proud to be selected by A.S. Watson as a Tech Partner in this important area of expertise.”

Ward Vermoere, Global Account Director of Zebra Technologies is excited about the partnership as the only mobile device provider, “Zebra Technologies is renowned for guiding enterprises through their digital transformations and Android migration journeys, providing them with the innovative solutions they need to succeed, such as the TC51 touch mobile computer. We are arming A.S. Watson stores with next generation Android enterprise mobile devices that amplify the skills of front-line workers, helping to increase collaboration and boost workplace productivity. It is an honour to be the only mobile device supplier of ASW’s Tech Partners programme. We look forward to working closely with ASW in deploying the TC51 in stores worldwide, and ultimately enhancing their own customer and employee experiences.”

JY Pook, Senior Vice President (Asia Pacific) of Tableau Software is pleased to partner with ASW in their transformation journey, “By leveraging data at the core of digital transformation, A.S. Watson is creating a data-driven culture centered on collaboration for thousands of users. Tableau’s analytics platform has enabled them to gain a competitive edge in a fast-moving industry and we look forward to a continued partnership as ASW walks this journey.”

Cally Chan, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong, agrees that ASW’s approach to partnership sets a new benchmark for the business world, “We are delighted to continue our deep collaboration with high visibility of
A.S. Watson’s growth strategy and technology roadmap, this enables us to be the catalyst of their digital transformation. Through leveraging Azure and big data, ASW has transformed customer experience, as well as enhanced their digital services. We look forward to continuing the empowerment of everyone at ASW to achieve more.”

Michael Cawley, APAC Sales Vice President Retail of NCR, is thrilled to continue its global association with ASW, “We are glad to contribute by enabling technologies that will accelerate A.S. Watson’s digital transformation journey. We are committed to providing innovative technologies and omni-channel platforms to help create powerful customer interactions and connected experiences that puts a smile on the faces of our retailers’ customers, and supports the journey to self-service and mobility.”

Esmond Tong, Vice President Cloud Specialists of Oracle is glad to collaborate with ASW for the second year, “We are extremely excited about this relationship with global retail leader A.S. Watson, so that we can work together with the customer at the centre. As a Tech Partner, we look forward to delivering innovative solutions, including the use of cloud and emerging technology such as AI and blockchain, to help collectively drive and support digital transformation.”

Mark Brewer, Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Global Retail of Diebold Nixdorf is confident with the partnership, “We feel proud to be recognized as one of the leaders for Digital Transformation at A.S. Watson and in return to become part of their Tech Partners Innovation eco-system. This gives us the opportunity to co-create and co-innovate with ASW, who is – like us – one of the leaders in Storevolution and Connected Commerce.”

Solman Rahman, Senior Vice President & Head of GBU at EPAM Systems is delighted about the renewal of the programme, “A.S. Watson’s Technology Partnership Programme underscores the company’s investment in a truly collaborative and innovative partnership approach as a cornerstone to power its digital transformation journey. EPAM is privileged to be appointed an ASW strategic Tech Partner for 2019. We look forward to driving ASW’s competitive advantage through our ‘Intelligent Digital’ blueprint, leveraging our IP and solution accelerators in eCommerce, Data Sciences, Automation & Artificial Intelligence.”