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Albertsons last week went into some detail about what it expects to come out of its new partnership with Microsoft, which it said it expects “to provide new and transformative experiences to customers and employees” and “reduce friction in the shopping experience.”

Anuj Dhanda, Albertsons’ executive vice president/CIO, says that the goal is “to serve customers in a way they want to interact with us across all channels … Our partnership has already produced an innovative way to save time at the gas pump. Microsofts strengths in cognitive technologies, artificial intelligence and data science applied at scale at Albertsons Companies will transform the customer experience in our stores and digitally.”

According to Albertsons, “Moving forward, the two companies plan to work together to leverage Azure and Azure AI and other Microsoft Cognitive Services to transform the shopping experience by eliminating the friction customers experience at the grocery store, such as not finding the products they want, longer-than-usual waits at the deli or meat counters and, of course, checkout lines. For store managers and associates, these intelligent solutions can also help anticipate out-of-stocks and misplaced products.”
KC's View:
Since Jim Donald became CEO at Albertsons, it seems to me that the company has taken very seriously his mandate that it had to go from being a four-walls company to being a “no walls company.”

It is going to be interesting to watch all this play out, and how quickly. Because time is a’wasting, and it is going to take speed, dexterity and a ton of discipline to get Albertsons’ varied banners to where they need to be.