‘Digital first, concerns second’ is not an option when it comes to handling customer data confidentially. Therefore, METRO launched a group-wide project ahead of the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to implement the new rules regarding secure data handling in all the group companies and to raise awareness internally of the issue of data protection. The GDPR was also a huge challenge for METRO customers in the HoReCa sector, as a large number of access rights, consents and data deletion concepts had to be put in place before the Regulation came into force. On the group’s website ‘Digital Office‘, METRO supported its partners with information and advice regarding this topic. This exchange of expertise will become increasingly important in the future.
How may data be used?
A legal framework is needed for correct data handling. At the same time, this should not be over-regulated, because data is indispensable for digital innov- ations. It is used to optimise processes or make customer-specific services possible. The figures speak for them- selves: in a study conducted by the digital association Bitkom (May 2018), close to half (46%) of the companies said their business models werefounded on personal data.
Without data, there would be no artificial intelligence (AI), as AI is fed with datain order to continuously improve the decisions calculated on the basis of algo- rithms. At METRO, AI is already used for the benefit of restaurateurs, for example to provide them with customised offers. METRO itself uses AI to optimise its product range management and processes throughout the global supply chain. Timo Salzsieder, CEO of the METRO software company METRONOM, explains what we can expect in the future: ‘Artificial intelligence will influence the whole of METRO, be it in stores, online with chatbots or regarding deliveries to restaurateurs.’
Digital policy calls for foresight
Even before a store is built, customers can play a part in designing it using virtual reality; they are able to organise their shopping more efficiently thanks to the Instore Navigation project and M|SHOP, and can save time with digital checkout systems. The future will be more efficient thanks to digital innovations. Administrative tasks after shopping are likewise made easier by blockchain technology and AI. Thetrade sector is becoming digitised, from the shopping list to the checkout and beyond.
It is therefore all the more important that digital matters are at the top of the political agenda both in Germany and in the EU: the Digital SingleMarket needs to be pushed forward. In Germany, the creation of a cabinet committee on digitisation and a study commission entitled ‘Artificial Intelligence – Social Responsibility and Economic Potential’ can only be the first key steps.
Yet, digitisation will be politically shaped in its next steps: innovations require freedom and call for a digital policy with foresight that will not regulate into the ground something that hasn’t even been invented yet.
Picture credit title picture: Adobe Stock: wavebreak3
Picture credit photo Instore Navigation: 42 dp Labs GmB