Shifting to cloud computing has enabled National Pharmacies to be much more responsive to customer needs and to utilise data more effectively for personalisation and customer experience.

That’s our take out from a presentation by Ryan Klose, General Manager, Technology and Innovation at South Australian-based National Pharmacies at last month’s Oracle OpenWorld event in San Francisco.

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National Pharmacies is a mutual organisation in the health and well being sector that operates over 70 pharmacies and optical stories around Australia.

According to Klose, “Our strategy moved away from high level objectives, and moved more towards the audience need. We built our strategy based on our employees, on our suppliers, and on our consumers.”

Klose says the company made a conscious decision to rebuild its enterprise apps for consumers separate from its legacy systems for employees and suppliers and that lead them to move completely to cloud for consumer apps.

“What this provides us is a secure channel for our 350,000 members who can sign on to the app and have a secured card or transaction when they come in-store. We now have the ability to personalise offers to our members using their age, their gender, based what they bought two weeks ago, or what on EDM they clicked through on.”

Just as importantly the cloud infrastructure allows National Pharmacy to move quickly. “Cloud enables us to go to market faster than our competitors. If we built (infrastructure) on premise we’d still be be trying to make the changes.”

The other great advantage cloud provides concerns data. “Cloud brings you an array of data. We’ve got so much more data than we were been using before, and its data we never knew we had.”

He said, “When we initially spoke to [cloud provider] Oracle and talked about what kind of data are were looking for, it was hard for us to articulate.”

But it became easier once we started to see what data was available on these mobile platforms, he said.

Klose also said it is important to understand how changes in market structure and the emergence of a vibrant startup and development community around clouds changed the innovation agenda.

“I think as leaders in technology we have to open our eyes a lot more. Innovation doesn’t just come from within, or from our significant vendors. It’s coming from a lot of smaller vendors. It important for us to to watch the startup space.”

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