Coles is launching a new ‘cloud platform’ called Azure to host all its applications and data collection processes. This brings the company into line with Woolworths, who launched their own supply chain data platform with start-up Escavox earlier this year.
Coles strategic aim can is to use artificial intelligence to become much smarter about how it manages its costs and value proposition to its clients. Coles chief information and digital officer Roger Sniezek said the goal was to simplify operations, which will allow them to “execute advanced analytics and artificial intelligence across all areas of the business at extreme scale.”
Artificial Intelligence doesn’t think in the same way a human does, but can process numbers and logic and learn patterns at a much faster rate. Using an extremely quick series of ‘if-then’ checks AI boils every decision down to logic and mathematics, which makes it very capable of making large-scale efficiency decisions with great accuracy.
In terms of supermarkets like Coles, the benefits of data are immediate. What is the weather like, what time of year is it, what is the traffic like, how much stock are you holding, what is the demographic of your neighbourhood, what time of day is it – all things that can inform what stock to order, and when.
But we’re not there yet. To make informed decisions, the AI must learn from data, which is why good data collection has become one of the most important parts of agricultural technology in recent years. The more data AI has access to, the more accurate its logic can be, and the greater the benefits.