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Drugstore chain uses analytics to gain insight into IT performance


Walgreens is relying on data analytics to ensure all of its IT systems are working as efficiently as possible.

Through a partnership with IBM, the drugstore chain is taking steps to drive more IT support across its enterprise. The first step is to integrate hardware and software from different vendors under one roof. This centralization will make it easier to stay abreast of performance.

Next, the drug chain is utilizing IBM retail analytics at more than 8,100 locations nationwide to help improve the efficiency of field service support for these locations. Finally, IBM Cloud will determine the level of support that will likely be needed at each Walgreens location based on service request history.

In the future, this information may enable better anticipation and coordination when dispatching field technicians, so they arrive at the right time to resolve an issue. These data-driven insights may help to identify the most frequent service calls at a given location and bundle those requests into one service call to minimize repeated instances of system downtime.

These tools are also changing the way IT professionals approach IT support in the field. By shifting to more proactive, predictive solutions that isolate the root cause of a disruption, the company can eliminate repeated problems and free up time for IT professionals to focus their skills and attention on higher value initiatives.

These processes could manage even more locations going forward as the drug store chain announced Tuesday that it has finally secured regulatory clearance for a revised deal that gives Walgreens the green light to buy 1,932 stores, three distribution centers and related inventory from Rite Aid for $4.375 billion (and other consideration). The original proposal, announced in June, had included 2,186 stores and related assets for $5.175 billion.

Store purchases are expected to begin in October, with completion anticipated in spring 2018.

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