iOCO Hosts Retail Maestro to Chat All Things Digital Transformation

“The question that needs to be asked is not what the best technology is, but what technology will fit in best for the needs of your organisation”. This was the view of Hungry Lion CEO, Adrian Basson, who addressed us at our recent knowledge sharing event at Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town.

Prior to taking on the role of Hungry Lion CEO, Basson spent 18 years at the Shoprite Group where he played a major role in implementing digital transformation in the organisation. Over the past few years the company has transitioned from utilising Microsoft technologies to Google G-Suite. Basson expressed: “Due to our distributed workforce, we were looking for a solution that allows everything to talk to each other – this was one of the main motivations for steering towards the G-suite offering”.

Initially, Shoprite decided to implement change management in the form of workshop training for staff members using the current technology to identify ways to use it to its full potential and possibly better optimise it. However, due to the disparate workforce across approximately 200 stores, the software required complex processes and it was difficult to collaborate. For example, there were only about nine thousand Microsoft Office licences shared between 140 000 employees, where each store had only one email account – this resulted in staff having to screenshot and forward mails amongst each other to ensure that they were directed to the right people.

Seeking a more efficient solution, the Shoprite team began to engage with Google and after about a 3 year period, the decision was taken to take a leap of faith and begin a process of migration. Basson says: “Being a techy at heart, I am constantly trying to use more optimised technologies to make our jobs as easy as possible”.  This however did not come without challenges – the main one being that employees were reluctant to embrace change as this required them to step out of their comfort zones.

Over time, the change management process enabled employees to start thinking differently and realise that change is essential to growth. This process included the roll-out of e-learning kiosks across Shoprite stores to train staff on the G-Suite model – this also taught them additional skills such as using digital devices and following prompts correctly amongst other things. Basson says that his aim was to implement change as quickly and frequently as possible without detriment to the business. Due to such consistent shift in operations, change management had eventually become irrelevant as change become entrenched into the company culture.