August 20, 2018 | Written by: Matt McGovern
Categorized: Order Management
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“… the IBM Order Management solution has most recently been named a Leader by International Data Corporation for both mid-market and enterprise retailers”
In an environment of “have it your way” consumers and digital transformation pressures, you as a retailer are in a race to deliver an optimal and consistent customer experience on the web, in stores, on mobile devices and now even through headless commerce solutions such as social media selling. The emphasis on the client’s experience does not stop when the sale is made – it must be part of your entire process right through order delivery. After all, the brand promise is not fulfilled until the product is in the hands of the consumer.
Are your systems ready for the next order fulfillment trend?
Free shipping, buy online pick up in store (BOPIS, “click and collect” in the UK) and ship from store are just a few of the newest consumer expectations. If you fall short in any of these areas, customers remember and may even take their business elsewhere.
Speed and efficiency are essential in pleasing the customer, but financial metrics such as profitability must always be addressed. From a systems and processes perspective, this means you need to integrate across order capture, supply chain, inventory locations, fulfillment centers and stores.
Homegrown order management systems are commonly used for order orchestration, but they have a difficult time keeping up with new needs for versatility in serving customers. Innovating to add new capabilities that align with client expectations can be too slow with existing in-house applications. Let’s say you want to offer BOPIS. How long will this take to integrate into your homegrown system and what will your competition be delivering while you’re doing it? What if you want to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize deliveries? You may be asking if it’s feasible, how long will it take and whether your team can support it once it’s delivered.
Why partner with a leader?
All of these factors cause retailers to look at the vendor options for distributed order management systems. They need systems that deliver a solid set of capabilities out of the box and are scalable, open and extensible. IBM can play a key role as a trusted partner for order management–with deep experience and many successful implementations for clients who are the most recognizable names in retail.
In fact, the IBM Order Management solution has most recently been named a Leader by International Data Corporation for both mid-market and enterprise retailers*. In the mid-market report, IDC Marketscape: Worldwide Distributed Order Orchestration for Mid Market Retailers 2018 Vendor Assessment, key strengths that contributed to IBM being named a Leader included, “IBM’s robust tool set has long been highly sought by larger retailers globally but had been a bit overwhelming for smaller entities. To address this, IBM has shifted its strategy toward that of microservices so that retailers can pick and choose the functionalities that they would like to attach to their core in order to find the most benefit for the smallest footprint, or only the essentials. IBM is putting the power back into the hands of the retailers by letting them select the functionalities that are most relevant and important to them.”
Finally, the IDC MarketScape noted, “There is an API strategy for extensions employed rather than custom work. It is an intentional strategy play to leave the options open for end users to be able to plug-and-play with partners, and all documentation on best practices and common pairings is available online.” You can read an excerpt of this report here.
The enterprise version of the report, IDC Marketscape: Worldwide Distributed Order Orchestration for Enterprise Retailers 2018 Vendor Assessment, mentions “The robust inventory visibility and availability calculation logic provides real-time precision for retailers looking to optimize their fulfillment distribution patterns. One user went so far as to state that ‘IBM is the bread and butter of their operations’ as it handles the movement of every item in their possession. IBM offers single-tenant order management with cloud offerings as multi-tenant. There is an API strategy for extensions employed rather than custom work. It is an intentional strategy play to leave the options open for end users to be able to plug-and-play with partners, and all documentation on best practices and common pairings is available online.”
Customer user groups are also mentioned in the report because they provide collaboration with clients. According to the report, “One user found that the company’s wait time for fulfilling online orders dropped from four to six days down to one to two days in the United States, and the company’s Net Promoter Score from its customers increased by double-digit percentage points.” You can read an excerpt of this report here.
Once you have had a chance to review these report excerpts, I recommend that you use our schedule a consultation tool online. We can help you understand which options from the IBM order management solution are best to help you deliver benefits on both the top and bottom lines.
*Sources: IDC Marketscape: Worldwide Distributed Order Orchestration for Mid Market Retailers 2018 Vendor Assessment (doc # #US44100918, July 2018); IDC Marketscape: Worldwide Distributed Order Orchestration for Enterprise Retailers 2018 Vendor Assessment (doc #US42174918, July 2018)