Walgreens Boots Alliance: How One Merger Inspired an Industry-Disruptive Digital Strategy [VIDEO]

Shelly Dutton

When two or more companies decide to join forces in the form of a merger or acquisition, the first thing that most executives consider is the digital landscape. In the past, the traditional course of action was limited to a series of tasks such as connecting IT systems, consolidating data, and eliminating redundancies. But as the race for digital-inspired differentiation rages on, more companies are using this opportunity to go deeper and further in their digital transformation journey.

During his SAPPHIRE NOW session “Grow Your Business While Delivering an Outstanding Customer Experience,” Anthony Roberts, senior vice president and global CIO of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., shared some insight on how the merger between Walgreens and Alliance Boots created the perfect scenario to step up his digital strategy.

“The first thing we looked at was how were we going to combine a variety of elements from the two companies – the retail side, the brands, supply chain management systems, and master data,” remarked Roberts. Because the newly formed enterprise touches so many customers on a daily basis, the first global pharmacy-led health and well-being enterprise needed a new landscape with systems that were agile, responsive, and rapidly deployed.

To firmly integrate both halves of this new business, Walgreens Boots Alliance made a board-led decision to radically transform its technology landscape and do something entirely new: Create a new stack for retail and another for pharmacy across all companies. “I am a very lucky person because there aren’t many CIOs that get to build one new stack, let alone two new stacks,” Roberts said.

The company is also building a platform that will link its intellectual property and existing solutions with new technology while taking advantage of a digital core, system of record, and a suite of analytics solutions. Over time, Roberts’ team is also hoping to make operations even more efficient by investing in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cognitive computing.

What could you learn from the digital strategy of this nearly three-year-old company built on a 100-year legacy? Watch this replay of the SAPPHIRE now session, “Grow Your Business While Delivering an Outstanding Customer Experience” to find out.