recentpopularlog in

jerryking : back-office   15

Amazon Wants to Rule the Grocery Aisles, and Not Just at Whole Foods
July 28, 2019 | The New York Times | By Karen Weise.

In early 2017, a memo, “Grocery Shopping for Everyone," circulated inside Amazon that imagined an ambitious new grocery chain........The new stores, the document envisioned, would have robust sections for produce, fresh food and prepared meals. Nonperishable products, like paper towels or canned beans, would be stored on a separate floor, away from customers. Shoppers could order those items with an app, and while they shopped for fresh food, the other products would be brought down in time for check out. There would also be an area to pick up groceries ordered online and to manage packages for delivery drivers......A few months later, in June 2017, Amazon barged into the grocery business in a different way, by announcing a blockbuster deal to buy Whole Foods for $13.4 billion.......The memo and other big grocery proposals stopped circulating inside Amazon, as Whole Foods demanded everyone’s attention.....now, two years later, instead of Whole Foods being the answer to Amazon’s grocery ambitions, it seems to have only whetted executives’ appetites.

The marriage has made clear the difficulties of selling fresh food inexpensively, either in a physical store or through delivery. Bananas are not the same as books....But the combination has also shown glimmers of success, particularly in delivery. And that has provided some fuel to Amazon executives pushing to add another food-selling option — one built from the ground up that would change how people buy groceries.....Amazon is now quietly exploring an ambitious new chain, probably separate from Whole Foods, that is not far removed from the one outlined in the old memo. It would be built for in-store shopping as well as pickup and delivery.....“People really need to understand — Whole Foods is the beginning, it’s not the end,” ......“It’s not everything.”......In an effort to shed Whole Foods’ “whole paycheck” reputation, Amazon bought more from national food distributors and cut back on the local farms......Other price-cutting efforts failed. The former head of a major produce company said Amazon told him it wanted to sell marquee fresh items at low prices every day. The executive said he had to explain that certain products, like berries or lettuce, may be available all year thanks to global supply chains, but that they cost more in the off-season. Forcing flat, low prices would put too much risk on growers.

Amazon executives, the person said, were caught off guard by the response. It didn’t seem as if they had fully appreciated how seasonality made predictable pricing far harder than selling cereal or paper towels.......Amazon has also run into some trouble integrating Whole Foods into its delivery machine.

Amazon never saw delivering cold milk and fragile fruit to doorsteps as something for the masses, according to former employees. Instead, executives thought of it as an option for people who wanted high-quality foods and could afford a premium price to have fragile and fresh items arrive at their doorstep......In theory, that was a good fit for Whole Foods and its affluent shoppers. Within six months, Amazon began making two-hour deliveries from Whole Foods in four cities for Prime members. Six months later, that had expanded to more than two dozen cities. It’s now available in 90.

But Whole Foods stores are not like Amazon’s delivery warehouses. Because Whole Foods sells so many fresh items, its stores have smaller back-of-house areas than a standard supermarket. That means employees who pick products for online orders must gather more items from the same shelves as shoppers. They roam aisles with scanners in hand, asking associates on the floor when they can’t find something......deliveries have shown big potential, making up almost all of Whole Foods’ growth......The promise of serving customers, but doing so more efficiently, has Amazon thinking again about aggressive investment in groceries.

Rather than dramatically substantially expand Whole Foods, .....Amazon is considering designing stores specifically with pickup and delivery in mind, and with a smaller area dedicated to fresh shopping — as the old memo imagined.....Amazon is interested in “creating multiple customer experiences under one roof.”.......Amazon has been looking for spaces close to Whole Foods locations, indicating a hub-and-spoke approach where one store serves as the warehouse and commissary for others.....To be a major grocery player, Amazon would need a little more than 2,000 stores, the old memo estimated. That’s far fewer than the 5,000 run by Walmart, the country’s top grocery seller, but more than the roughly 1,200 operated by Publix. Whole Foods got Amazon about a quarter of the way there.

A store designed with different shopping options......would be “highly scalable.”
Amazon  back-office  BOPIS  grocery  home_delivery  hub-and-spoke  in-store  Kroger  perishables  price-cutting  seasonality  supermarkets  Whole_Foods 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
Why Morgan Stanley paid $900m for ‘Calgary’s best kept secret’
FEBRUARY 17, 2019 | Financial Times | Robert Armstrong in New York.

Its revenues are running at just over $100m annually and it is modestly profitable, selling business software for “equity administration, financial reporting and compliance”.

It is the kind of business familiar to millions of workers who get part of their compensation in stock or stock options. Solium and its rivals, including market leaders such as Computershare of Australia, produce statements and run websites or apps for workers to track how much their shares are worth.

Behind that, the software also helps employers manage and monitor their stock-compensation plan, a complex back-office task that involves unpicking regulatory and reporting requirements across multiple jurisdictions. Solium also sells analytics tools that help companies automate share issuance, estimate compensation costs, optimise their capital structures, and value their equity.

One industry insider describes it as “administratively highly complex, capital light but very, very low margin”. It is also competitive. Every major US broker or wealth manager, from UBS to ETrade, plays in the space in one way or another, because acting as custodian for employee equity plans gives them a shot at marketing wealth management services to those employees.

Someone cashing in stock or options, perhaps when an IPO or a sale makes them wealthy, could be offered financial advice and investments; longtime employees could be offered retirement products.....Solium’s edge comes from approaching the task from the employers’ perspective, rather than as a tool for wealth managers. Equity administration, he said, “is an enterprise software problem that has been approached as a wealth management problem”.....Solium’s clients include tech companies where young employees stand a good chance of becoming wealthy down the road. The relationships with Silicon Valley companies could prove lucrative, too, if Morgan Stanley can bag them as clients of its investment bank....the acquisition as part of the US bank’s effort to move its wealth management business deeper into the “mass affluent” category, as opposed to the higher end of the market where it is focused now.
Calgary  Morgan_Stanley  Solium  wealth_management  back-office  compensation  investment_custodians  tools  ESOPs  mass_affluence 
february 2019 by jerryking
BlackRock bulks up research into artificial intelligence
February 19, 2018 | FT | Robin Wigglesworth in New York and Chris Flood in London.

BlackRock is establishing a “BlackRock Lab for Artificial Intelligence” in Palo Alto, California.....The lab will “augment our current teams and accelerate our efforts to bring the benefits of these technologies to the entirety of the firm and to our clients”.....The asset management industry is particularly interested in the area, as they try to improve the performance of their fund managers, automate back-office functions to cut costs and enhance their client outreach by analysing vast amounts of internal and external data....\quantitative managers are “engaged in an arms race” as data analysis techniques that work today will not necessarily be relevant in five years.

“Big data offers a world of possibilities for generating alpha [market beating returns] but traditional techniques are not good enough to analyse the huge volumes of information involved,” .....The data centre is looking for another dozen or so hires for its launch, underlining the ravenous appetite among asset managers to snap up more quantitative analysts adept at trawling through data sets like credit card purchases, satellite imagery and social media for investment signals.
alpha  artificial_intelligence  asset_management  arms_race  automation  alternative_data  BlackRock  back-office  quantitative  Silicon_Valley 
february 2018 by jerryking
The Data Behind Dining
FEB 7, 2017 | The Atlantic | BOURREE LAM.

Damian Mogavero, a dining-industry consultant, has analyzed the data behind thousands of restaurants—which dishes get ordered, which servers bring in the highest bills, and even what the weather’s like—and found that these metrics can help inform the decisions and practices of restaurateurs.....Mogavero recently wrote a book about analytics called The Underground Culinary Tour—which is also the name of an annual insider retreat he runs, in which he leads restaurateurs from around the nation to what he considers the most innovative restaurants in New York City, with 15 stops in 24 hours.....they really understood the business problem that I understood, as a frustrated restaurateur. There was not accessible information to make really important business decisions.

Lam: Why is it that the restaurant business tends to be more instinct-driven than data-driven?

Mogavero: It is so creative, and it really attracts innovative and creative people who really enjoy the art and the design of the guest experience. When I was a frustrated restaurateur, I would ask my chefs and managers simple questions, such as: Who are your top and bottom servers? Why did your food costs go up? Why did your labor costs go up? And they would give me blank stares, wrong answers, or make up stuff. The thing that really killed me is why so much time gets spent in administrative B.S.

They were frustrated artists in their own way, because all those questions I was posing were buried in a bunch of Excel spreadsheets. What I like to say is, nothing good ever happens at the back office. You can't make customers happy and you can’t cook great food there. That was the business problem that I saw. I assembled a chef, a sommelier, a restaurant manager, and three techies as the founding team of the company. The message was: We’re going to create software, so you can get back to what you love to do with a more profitable operation.......Mogavero: Because information is flowing so quickly, you’re likely to see trends from a big city go to a secondary city more often. But you’ll see regional trends come to the big city as well. It’s all part of this information flow that’s more transparent and faster. The secondary-market awakening is coupled with the fact that it’s really expensive for chefs to live in big cities, and we’re seeing many chefs leaving the big cities.
bullshitake  dining  data  books  restaurants  data_driven  New_York_City  innovation  restauranteurs  analytics  back-office  information_flows  secondary_markets 
may 2017 by jerryking
Oak View Group – We are here to be a positive disruption to business as usual in the sports and live entertainment industry.
Messrs. Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke could use conferences to help Oak View Group, their venue-management company, which collects annual fees from about two dozen arenas in exchange for sponsorships, event booking and other services.
disruption  back-office  sports  live_performances  sponsorships  events  arenas  Tim_Leiweke  entertainment_industry 
april 2017 by jerryking
The High-Speed Trading Behind Your Amazon Purchase - WSJ
By CHRISTOPHER MIMS
Updated March 27, 2017

Beneath the placid surface of product pages lies an unseen world of bots, algorithms, flash crashes and fierce competition......Just beneath the placid surface of a typical product page on Amazon lies an unseen world, a system where third-party vendors can sell products alongside Amazon’s own goods. It’s like a stock market, complete with day traders, code-slinging quants, artificial-intelligence algorithms and, yes, flash crashes.

Amazon gave people and companies the ability to sell on Amazon.com in 2000, and it has since grown into a juggernaut, representing 49% of the goods Amazon ships. Amazon doesn’t break out numbers for the portion of its business driven by independent sellers, but that translates to tens of billions in revenue a year. Out of more than 2 million registered sellers, 100,000 each sold more than $100,000 in goods in the past year....It’s clear, after talking to sellers and the software companies that empower them, that the biggest of these vendors are growing into sophisticated retailers in their own right. The top few hundred use pricing algorithms to battle with one another for the coveted “Buy Box,” which designates the default seller of an item. It’s the Amazon equivalent of a No. 1 ranking on Google search, and a tremendous driver of sales.
fulfillment  Amazon  pricing  back-office  third-party  bots  algorithms  flash_crashes  competition  retailers  e-commerce  product_category  private_labels  stockmarkets  eBay  Wal-Mart  Jet  Christopher_Mims 
march 2017 by jerryking
New Back-Office Tech Can Be a Merger’s Best Friend - WSJ
By VIPAL MONGA
Sept. 5, 2016

As companies become more dependent on complex software systems to manage their businesses, smoothly combining different platforms is becoming a bigger factor in a merger’s success.

New software systems for accounting, inventory tracking and supply-chain management are helping companies combine operations faster by automating some of the grunt work that previously was done manually.

“If you can integrate faster, it becomes an advantage,” said John Hoffecker, a global vice chairman at consulting firm AlixPartners LLP.

Companies that integrate acquisitions more efficiently will be able to reap better returns from takeovers, which can in turn leave them more leeway to do future deals, Mr. Hoffecker said. “You can pay a higher price,” he said.
speed  systems_integration  back-office  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  technology 
september 2016 by jerryking
BlackRock to Push Wall Street Chat Tool - WSJ
By JUSTIN BAER and SARAH KROUSE
June 23, 2016

At Goldman Sachs Group Inc., a Symphony investor that contributed its own messaging developments to the platform, the service is now used by most of the firm’s employees across all of its businesses, according to a person familiar with the situation. Goldman traders, for instance, use Symphony to communicate with back-office employees charged with settling trades.

Elsewhere, though, Symphony remains little used or, in some cases, virtually unknown.

Of about a dozen employees reached at financial firms that have invested in the service, some were only aware of small-scale pilot programs in specific corners of their trading floors.

The lack of broader takeup has sown doubts that Symphony would become an alternative to Bloomberg’s multipronged service that costs financial firms $22,000 to $25,000 per employee a year. After attracting bankers and investors to its chat service, Symphony aims to pipe in data, news and other tools, coming closer to the array of functions Bloomberg provides. Symphony charges companies $15 a month per user for the chat service.
BlackRock  messaging  Symphony  Bloomberg  Goldman_Sachs  pilot_programs  traders  back-office  small-scale  chat  Communicating_&_Connecting 
june 2016 by jerryking
The Chinese Hackers in the Back Office - The New York Times
By NICOLE PERLROTHJUNE 11, 2016
a murky and much hyped emerging industry in selling intelligence about attack groups like the C0d0s0 group. Until recently, companies typically adopted a defensive strategy of trying to make their networks as impermeable as possible in hopes of repelling attacks. Today, so-called threat intelligence providers sell services that promise to go on the offensive. They track hackers, and for annual fees that can climb into the seven figures, they try to spot and thwart attacks before they happen.
China  hackers  cyber_security  data_breaches  pre-emption  security_&_intelligence  threats  offensive_tactics  threat_intelligence  back-office 
june 2016 by jerryking
As Michael Bloomberg Returns to Run His Firm, Landscape Has Shifted - WSJ
By LUKAS I. ALPERT CONNECT
Sept. 4, 2014

Bloomberg LP now has 321,000 subscribers for its $20,000-a-year terminals, which supply a range of financial information, and is expected to generate $9 billion in revenue this year, making it the largest such data company in the world.

But while Bloomberg's annual growth has averaged nearly 6% over the past five years and it now controls 32% of the financial-data market, the company faces several challenges. Technological advances have made it easier for smaller firms like FactSet and Markit to compete against the financial-data giants, Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters Corp. TRI -0.03%

Also, some U.S. banks have cut back in recent years on the number of data-terminal subscriptions. Bloomberg has targeted emerging markets to sustain its growth. The company is also expanding beyond terminals into data feeds and back-office operations that make up the plumbing of the banking system.

"When [Mr. Bloomberg] left, 90% of their revenue came from their terminal business, but with terminal subscriptions shrinking they have had to grow their business in other directions," said Doug Taylor, an analyst at Burton-Taylor International Consulting.
Michael_Bloomberg  Bloomberg  Second_Acts  back-office  moguls  financial_data  competitive_landscape  data  Wall_Street 
september 2014 by jerryking
Meet Bloomberg's data-driven Daniel Doctoroff
Aug. 09 2013 | The Globe and Mail |JOANNA SLATER.

Mr. Doctoroff’s job, as deputy mayor for economic development, would include rebuilding the site and pushing ahead with projects envisaged in the Olympic bid....Founded by Mr. Bloomberg in 1982, the firm grew into a global juggernaut that disrupted every field it touched, from market data to financial journalism....Mr. Doctoroff had a yen for precision and a belief in the power of data. To eliminate clutter on his desk, he never touches a piece of paper twice. “I either delegate something, I dump it, or I deal with it,”...Mr. Doctoroff’s mission at Bloomberg is twofold. The first is to sell more terminals – a subscription service that costs more than $20,000 (U.S.) a year per person and offers access to an expanding universe of data, analytical tools and news. Last year was a tough one for terminal sales; Wall Street firms continued to shed staff in what Mr. Doctoroff describes as “the fourth year of post-financial crisis adjustment.”

The second task is to lead the company into other areas and make those investments pay off. Bloomberg has launched what it hopes will become indispensable data products for fields like law and government and also for back-office personnel within finance. Then there’s the media business, which includes a news service, television, radio and magazines, among them Bloomberg Businessweek, which was purchased in 2009. Businessweek still isn’t profitable, but it’s losing much less money than it used to. The magazine, like the rest of the news operation, serves another objective in the Bloomberg ecosystem, Mr. Doctoroff said: heightening the firm’s profile so it can attract more market-moving scoops, which in turn helps to sell more terminals....On his career path: I believe we’re all endowed with a very small set of narrow skills that make us unique. You’ve got to find what that is. Most often what you truly understand makes you unique is something that you’re also going to build passion around. For me – and I didn’t really discover this until I was in my 40s, the line that connected the dots … [is] seeing patterns in numbers that enable me to tell a compelling story which helps to solve a problem. So whether it is helping a candidate get elected or doing a road show for a company, getting a project done in New York or hopefully setting a vision for a company, it’s that narrow skill.
New_York_City  Bloomberg  data_driven  precision  CEOs  organizational_culture  Wall_Street  private_equity  digital_media  disruption  privately_held_companies  Michael_Bloomberg  fin-tech  journalism  pattern_recognition  career_paths  gtd  mayoral  Daniel_Doctoroff  storytelling  product_launches  sense-making  leadership  insights  leaders  statistics  persuasion  ratios  analogies  back-office  connecting_the_dots  scoops  financial_journalism  financial_data  special_sauce  non-routine  skills 
august 2013 by jerryking
In London, Nimble Start-Ups Offer Alternatives to Stodgy Banks
October 22, 2012 | NYT |By MARK SCOTT.

London’s fast-growing start-up scene is trying to disrupt the financial status quo. As consumers’ trust in banks deteriorates because of a series of recent scandals, young companies are pressing their newcomer advantage. Firms are offering services like low-cost foreign currency exchange and new ways for small business to borrow cash.

Backed by venture capital firms like Index Ventures, the financial start-ups are taking on entrenched incumbents by using technology to pare back costs and improve the customer experience. Local authorities do not directly regulate many of the firms, but the young companies often use traditional banks and other financial firms for their back-office functions, like processing payments, which are monitored by British regulators.
London  United_Kingdom  start_ups  banks  financial_services  finance  regulators  mobile_applications  fin-tech  foreign_exchange  nimbleness  back-office 
october 2012 by jerryking
Sell the Mailroom - WSJ.com
November 15, 2005 | WSJ | By PETER F. DRUCKER.

Peter F. Drucker died on Friday. The following article ran in The Wall Street Journal on July 25, 1989.

"The people running in-house support services are also unlikely to do the hard, innovative and often costly work that is required to make service work productive. Systematic innovation in service work is as desperately needed as it was in machine in the 50 years between Frederick Winslow Taylor in the 1870s and Henry Ford in the 1920s. Each task, each job, has to be analyzed and then reconfigured. Practically every tool has to be re-designed. . . .

The most important reason for unbundling the organization, however, is one that economists and engineers are likely to dismiss as "intangible": The productivity of support work is not likely to go up until it is possible to be promoted into senior management for doing a good job at it. And that will happen in support work only when such work is done by separate, free-standing enterprises. Until then, ambitious and able people will not go into support work; and if they find themselves in it, will soon get out of it."
back-office  in-house  Outsourcing  Peter_Drucker  process_innovation  productivity  profit_centers  unbundling 
may 2012 by jerryking
Unboxed - Who Says Innovation Belongs to the Small? - NYTimes.com
May 23, 2009 | New York Times | By STEVE LOHR. Technology
trends also contribute to the rising role of large companies. The lone
inventor will never be extinct, but W. Brian Arthur, an economist at the
Palo Alto Research Center, says that as digital technology evolves,
step-by-step innovations are less important than linking all the
sensors, software and data centers in systems.
innovation  size  Steve_Lohr  Clayton_Christensen  large_companies  W._Brian_Arthur  sensors  software  interconnections  Fortune_500  brands  back-office  data_centers  systematic_approaches  systems  systems_integration  Xerox 
october 2009 by jerryking

Copy this bookmark:





to read