Setting the table for a digital transformation

National Co+op Grocers (NCG) is a cooperative for retail food co-ops located throughout the United States. Representing 148 grocers, operating in 38 states, with combined annual sales of over $1.7 billion, NCG consolidates small store purchasing power and resources to compete with larger chains.

NCG’s uses a variety of technologies for their business systems and retail data management needs to support the day-to-day operations. These systems had organically grown over time and were spread across multiple technology stacks. NCG’s executive stakeholders recognized that in order to achieve their strategic vision, it would be critical to align their digital investments and develop the right technology plan for the organization.

The SMAC Stack Insights

Time-to-market is a critical factor for most business and consumer Apps. Quick iterative design cycles, rapid prototyping, and usability testing are key to ensuring the success of gesture and touch friendly Apps.

Learn more about The SMAC Stack

Selecting the right vegetables for the SMAC recipe

To devise the optimal plan, Ayantek administered a SMAC Assessment for NCG — the only one using a comprehensive framework to address 6 key problems faced by organizations.

  • Managing the velocity of change
  • Aligning business expectations with technology
  • Crafting a holistic customer experience
  • Integrating systems into a robust architecture
  • Instituting the right tools, vendors, and leadership
  • Instrumenting customer data and the Internet of Things

Preparing the meal with all constituents in mind

Ayantek conducted the following steps as part of the assessment and crafted a SMAC scorecard ranking the organizations use of technology across 174 unique dimensions:

  • Executive Interviews — We spoke with executives to understand business and customer needs
  • Focus Groups — We facilitated sessions with IT staff to map NCG’s current use of technology
  • On-Site Visit — We conducted IT assessments to assess the in-store use of technology.
  • Storefront Manager Interviews — We interviewed retail managers to determine the symbiosis between retail stores and NCG
  • Competitive Analysis — Compared NCG’s technology investments to digital masters in the retail industry

A fulfilling meal for one and all

After ascertaining where NCG needed to be digitally, Ayantek devised a technology plan and outlined practical recommendations to increase NCG’s digital maturity across the board. Ayantek delivered this technology roadmap to NCG’s executive team along with specific tactics to move NCG towards digital mastery. The assessment also highlighted the importance of having the right technology leadership. Based on Ayantek’s recommendations, NCG recruited a new Director of Business Technology to captain the new technology initiatives and drive the technology vision forward.

“Working with Ayantek helped us to understand the deficiencies and redundancies in our IT infrastructure, and identify the systems needed to meet our current and future needs. As a rapidly growing small business, it quickly became clear that our entrepreneurial approach to IT needed to be replaced with a thoughtful approach to investment in both the leadership and systems necessary to support our increasingly complex IT demands”

– Robynn Shrader, Chief Executive Officer

Additional Case Studies


Hitting the perfect drive with user research

The Princeton Review

Helping the student get an A

LPL Financial

A killer app — in just 35 days