Solution Provider Spotlight: SymphonyAI

July 25, 2023
by Charisse Jacques, GM and COO of Customer and Category Management Solutions at SymphonyAI Retail CPG

Tenure With Current Company: 5 years
Years of Industry Experience: 24 years

Give us a brief history of your company, when and how did you get started and what is your high-level mission statement?

Our mission is to leverage technology to improve the future of retail. It’s why we exist and what our roughly 3,000 employees are focused on every day. We bring that mission to life by developing the most advanced AI and Generative AI-powered solutions that give retailers and CPGs the ability to make faster and smart decisions to serve their customers. We provide best-in-class solutions in key areas merchandising, operations, supply chain, marketing and customer loyalty.

We were founded in 2017 by Dr. Romesh Wadwani and are part of the SymphonyAI group, which provides advanced technology solutions to major verticals.

What would you like CMA and SIMA members to know about your brand/company?

That we are a market leading, AI innovator helping retailers and CPGs solve their toughest challenges. We maintain our innovation edge through a robust commitment to R&D. By the end of 2023 we will have invested more than $100 million in R&D which directly manifests itself in products with unique capabilities. These products encompass a full spectrum of the needs of a retailer or CPG in what we call and end-to-end approach that spans insights to execution.

What is the most common question you hear from current and potential customers, and how do you answer it?

Every retailer and CPG faces challenges unique to their business and competitive set, but a recurring theme involves using data more effectively. This really is a mission critical issue and key point of competitive differentiation so I would say virtually every conversation we have with a client or prospect revolves around making better decision more quickly and more effective use of data. That naturally leads to the topic of AI because it’s not possible to realize the full value creation potential of data, especially shopper data, without applying AI. This is true whether it’s a marketer looking at shopper data, a merchant looking to optimize assortments or a supply chain executive who wants to improve the accuracy of demand forecasts.

Any white space in the industry or areas you are looking to expand into?

The white space would be anywhere a retailer or CPG is looking to solve a business challenge, even one that isn’t presently known. We are constantly looking around the corner to identify paint points retailers and CPGs may not realize they have yet to develop solutions to solve future problems. As for expansion, SymphonyAI Retail CPG already provides a broad range of best-in-class solutions, so it is more a matter of continuing to improve product capabilities, functionality, the user experience and incorporate Generative AI into all our solutions.

What is the most important thing that needs to be addressed in the category management and shopper insights disciplines going forward?

There are two things that stand out and they both involve data, the usability of data and the integration of previously unavailable sources of data. First, there is a tremendous opportunity for retailers and CPGs to improve and democratize the insights discovery process and integrate those insights into day-to-day decision-making. Shopper data is the ultimate version of the truth and there are so many ways to extract value to inform category management decisions. Second, new opportunities are emerging to marry shopper data with what we refer to as Store Intelligence. Essentially, valuable information gathered in store via AI-powered computer vision which really helps eliminate and long-standing blind spot of category managers.

How are you thinking about the next 3-5 years in retail?

Speed and agility are at the top of the list. They’ve always been important, but consumer demand and behavior are changing faster than ever and so is technology so speed and agility will be more essential. It’s why we’re focused on speed to insights and speed to action because those who can do in minutes what used to take hours or do in hours what used to take days will be more successful. We know this to be directionally true along with the likelihood that shoppers will be more demanding and less forgiving. So there is less margin for error for retailers and CPGs to get things wrong, which is why we know that AI will continue to grow in importance in all areas of the enterprise.