SHIFT FOUND FOR PRIORITIES IN TECHNOLOGY

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Shifting priorities in technology programs and strategies were underscored in a national retail survey focusing on present and future information systems initiatives.The survey, which quizzed retailers in-depth about company plans in areas ranging from on-line home shopping and customer-specific data base marketing to smart card tests and E-mail capabilities, provided a snapshot

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Shifting priorities in technology programs and strategies were underscored in a national retail survey focusing on present and future information systems initiatives.

The survey, which quizzed retailers in-depth about company plans in areas ranging from on-line home shopping and customer-specific data base marketing to smart card tests and E-mail capabilities, provided a snapshot of where the industry is headed in leveraging the power of information technology.

The survey, for example, revealed that:

Forty percent of retailers expect to have data warehousing capabilities in place within 18 months vs. just 10% today.

Twenty-two percent of retailers now have an executive information system up and running, with another 44% planning to implement one within 18 months.

Twelve percent of retailers have an on-line home-shopping service in place today; but of those who don't, less than one-quarter plan to launch one in the future.

Survey results focusing specifically on the food industry were shared with SN by Computer Sciences Corp. here, which conducted the study.

Asked to name the five most important IS activities today at their companies, systems integration topped the list, cited by 92% of survey respondents; followed by business process re-engineering, listed by 62%; capitalizing on IT advances, 60%, and improving systems development and connecting with vendors, 58% each.

In terms of plans involving specific IS-driven programs, the survey's findings were striking in a wide range of areas:

Client-Server: Half of the survey respondents already have client-server capabilities in place, while 28% plan to switch within 18 months and another 14% within three years. ยท Data Base Marketing: Twenty-two percent of retailers use consumer-specific data base programs today, while 26% said they will launch such a program within 18 months, and another 18% within three years.

PC POS: Thirty percent of respondents have personal-computer point-of-sale terminals in their stores, with another 20% planning to switch over within 18 months, and 24% within three years.

Shopping Kiosks: Only 10% of retailers have kiosks in their stores, but an additional 32% plan to begin using them within 18 months, and another 12% within three years.

On-Line Shopping: Twelve percent of retailers have an on-line shopping service up and running. Of those that don't, however, only 22.7% said they plan to offer the service in the future. Asked to cite the biggest impediments to launching an on-line shopping program, 48% listed the limited pool of potential users, 38% cited high start-up costs, 26% noted internal organizational bias against such programs and 24% pointed to technophobia among users. Another 20% cited the lack of payment security and 16% said lack of network security. Highlights of the survey were presented at the Retail Systems '96 conference in Dallas last month. The survey was sponsored by Campbell Software, Evanston, Ill.; ICL Retail Systems, Dallas; STS Systems, Pointe-Claire, Quebec; Sun Microsystems, Mountain View, Calif., and Symbol Technologies, Holtsville, N.Y.