Retailspeak Issue 25

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Retailspeak magazine is Microsoft\'s value proposition delivery tool for enterprise retail, consumer goods & hospitality sectors. The publication covers how implementation of Microsoft and their …

Retailspeak magazine is Microsoft\'s value proposition delivery tool for enterprise retail, consumer goods & hospitality sectors. The publication covers how implementation of Microsoft and their partners\' technology helps improve business processes, how it makes people\'s lives easier and ultimately delivering the people ready dream.

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  • 1. AUTUMN 2009 The definitive word on retail and hospitality technology IN THIS ISSUE The multi-channel revolution Technology to support the future of retailing In-room entertainment Boosting revenue and enhancing travellers’ experiences Social media How retailers can target Generation Y Reaching out Miami’s new Epic Hotel goes online with SuiteLinq Visit for news and views on retail and hospitality “Customers trust the opinions of their friends and peers, and the ability to A million reasons to thank Microsoft: Nitrosell’s Tom Keane seek opinions easily can mean significant ROI for retailers.” endorses the Software plus Services vision. Page 38 ShiSh Shridhar, Microsoft
  • 2. THIS ISSUE publishing partners welcome Fujitsu Technology Solutions – a Microsoft Gold Certified partner – employs more than 10,000 people and is part of the global Fujitsu Group, which delivers IT-based business solutions to customers in 70 countries through a workforce of more than 160,000 employees. With its Dynamic Infrastructures approach, the company offers a full portfolio of IT products, solutions and services, ranging from clients to datacenter solutions, Welcome to the Autumn edition of Retailspeak. Managed Infrastructure and Infrastructure-as-a-Service. The hospitality business has always been competitive; however in the current economy the battle for travellers’ loyalty has become even more intense. Operators know they must differentiate by way of the personal service that’s the hallmark of the best hotels. Nowadays, though, they need still more. ProfitBase’s data warehousing solution provides ready to use industry In-room entertainment is increasingly a key source of differentiation specific templates and data source connector templates, enabling for hotels, and at Microsoft we’re playing a major role in helping ProfitBase 2009 to be implemented significantly faster than custom operators strengthen their offerings. This issue of Retailspeak reflects developed data warehouse solutions. ProfitBase 2009 leverages the power that role, looking at the new Epic Hotel in Miami, where owner of SQL Server and Analysis Services to deliver performance information to Kimpton has worked closely with our partner SuiteLinq to implement a scorecard, dashboard and reporting systems providing decision makers with one consolidated view of the information they need to make better, faster world-class in-room entertainment offer to match the hotel’s stunning decisions. location and service. Elsewhere, we’re covering in-room entertainment too – our major feature is designed to give hospitality firms a clear overview of what’s state of the art, and how to go about upgrading. It’s not just about the hospitality business – we have content aimed at businesses all over the retail and consumer goods sectors, with great practical advice on the best ways to use Microsoft technologies. I’d particularly draw your attention to ShiSh Shridhar’s viewpoint article on page 41, in which he describes how all companies might begin to ride the wave of social media. SuiteLinq serves the needs of the hospitality and extended stay industries worldwide by providing integrated, on-demand entertainment, connectivity I hope you enjoy the issue. and business productivity solutions that deliver the ultimate in-room experience for guests and new revenue streams for property owners. Its Paula Paravecchio multi-platform digital solutions integrate with legacy PMS, POS, and CRM EMEA Managing Director, Distribution & Services, Microsoft EMEA systems to power customised guest experiences in-room and throughout the hotel. Editor Features editor Tom Keane Adam Lawrence Lindsay James Larry LeBlanc Moti Lichi Editorial team Daniel Lucht Publisher James Dodd sponsor Andy Clayton Smith Rebecca Lambert Design and production Matthew Muta Alexandria Rumble Mark Ryan Morten Saelemyr Circulation administrator Leigh Trowbridge ShiSh Shridhar Ritwik Bhattacharjee Bruce Graham Kris Singleton Paul Robinson Partner managers Nigel Stephenson Claire Brown Contributors Robin Warburton Dominic Citino Tony Young Christian Jones Peter Claussen Craig Ziegler Tom Cooley Green IT adviser Ben Mayer Ashish Jasiwal Dr Bernd Kosch Noe Gutierrez Ricky Popat Retailspeak is published by No part of this publication may be re- Tudor Rose, 6 Friar Lane produced, stored in a retrieval system Leicester LE1 5RA, United Kingdom. or transmitted in any form or by any +44 116 222 9900 means, electrical, mechanical, photo- copying, recording or otherwise, Managing director: Jon Ingleton without prior written permission of the publisher. ISSN 1753-545X Retailspeak is Microsoft’s quarterly customer magazine for the retail and Printed in the UK by hospitality industry. For further information or to subscribe, visit: E-mail: The Manson Group. Online: Autumn 2009. Issue 25. Microsoft (NASDAQ ‘MSFT’) is the world leader in software, services and Produced in association with solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential. The Microsoft EMEA. company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower © 2009 All rights reserved. people through great software – anytime, any place and on any device. All trademarks or registered trademarks belong to their respective companies. AUTU M N 2009 Retailspeak 1
  • 3. THIS ISSUE 14 digest 06 RETAIL TECHNOLOGY ROUND-UP The latest technology news including a Windows 7 roll out at Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Astley Clarke’s appointment of Snow Valley to develop its new Web site, and the deployment of a Toshiba TEC EPOS solution at Burger King’s new Whopper Bar in Europe lead story 14 REACHING OUT Rebecca Lambert looks at one hotel in the US that has stepped up its game with the latest entertainment and communication technology features 20 THE CONSTANT RETAILER How embracing a multi-channel strategy will carry retailers into the future 20 26 THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT Employing today’s in-room entertainment technologies may just be the answer to boosting hotel revenue and adding true value to the traveller experience. Lindsay James finds out more forums 32 Expert commentary from the speciality retail, food and drug, hospitality and mass merchandise sectors 26 spotlight 36 How Microsoft in the UK is supporting customers in the retail sector, and how retailers in Germany are remaining stable this year viewpoint 38 Thought leadership from IT professionals including Microsoft’s ShiSh Shridhar on social media and Tom Keane of Nitrosell on the benefits of S+S 33 37 technology in action 43 Successful implementation stories from around the world interview 48 ARTS: THE PROCESS, CHALLENGES AND REWARDS Richard Mader and Edvard Gundersen of ARTS speak to ProfitBase president Larry LeBlanc AUTU M N 2009 Retailspeak 5
  • 4. retail technology round-up DIGEST E-COMMERCE POS WHOLESALE Jeweller picks Snow Valley for e-shop ACA automates GANT Centric wins Dutch The luxury online jewellery boutique has appointed Snow operations director at “We followed an extensive selection flagship store client with Dynamics Valley to design and develop its new procedure, and Snow Valley was chosen A recently opened GANT clothing flagship store has used Retailium Intratuin, a Dutch garden centre company, has implemented a Web site. due to its wealth of experience in this software from ACA to automate its sales processes. Dynamics AX 2009-based wholesale process solution from Centric. The online store will be delivered using sector, and the strength of its technical The new store is situated in the fashion quarter of Antwerp, Belgium Centric RetailWorld is an automated business solution that supports Snow Valley’s MUSE e-commerce and creative teams.” and forms part of a collection of franchised GANT stores opened by the most important wholesale processes within the head office, as well platform, which is based on Microsoft “Astley Clarke is known for its fine Dutch businessmen, and brothers, Kees and Frank de Groot. as the logistics operations between the head office and the stores. technology including Commerce Server, designer jewellery and for the attention Retailium Openstore is used in the stores to process all POS Centric has started the implementation process, with completion BizTalk Server and SQL Server. Astley to detail that it pays to its customers transactions, with Retailium Enterprise for Microsoft Dynamics NAV expected by the end of 2009. Clarke will be taking full advantage of the and their service,” said Sam Andrews, serving as the back-office stock information system where it integrates Intratuin looked to replace its current IT platform due to increasing powerful catalogue and promotion creative director at Snow Valley. “We’ll logistics, sales, purchase policy, as well as store and financial logistics activities and expected growth. The company said it selected engines within Microsoft Commerce be helping the company to extend that management capabilities. Both products run on Microsoft Windows Centric due to its retail and process expertise, as well as RetailWorld’s Server, while scalable integration with its right the way across its online store. 2000 or XP and require Microsoft SQL Server to deliver the best optimum functional coverage as a solution within Microsoft Dynamics fulfilment system will be completed using When you order a piece of jewellery performance. AX 2009. BizTalk Server. from you can choose “The decision to select ACA and its Retailium Openstore POS systems Elsewhere, Centric has been invited to join the Microsoft Dynamics A number of features will be for it to arrive in a beautiful box, was an easy one to make,” said Kees de Groot. “We were looking for a President’s Club for 2009, honouring its success in the wholesale and introduced to the Web site, including wrapped in hand-pressed Japanese professional partner in automation that could offer us the functionality retail market. This success centred on the introduction of Dynamics AX wish list functionality and an improved paper and Italian ribbon. The design and that we need to simplify the daily management of our stores and to 2009 to new clients and on the development of Centric TradeWorld, ‘tell a friend’ function. Guided navigation, the user experience must convey that give us more insight into the results of our company. The systems of Centric RetailWorld and the Microsoft Dynamics Retail Chain Manager. allowing customers to view products magnificent level of service from the ACA lend themselves to this excellently. ACA responds perfectly to “It is a great honour to be a member of the President’s Club. This grouped by type or colour, will be moment the customer goes onto the GANT’s need for innovative technology that supports and fortifies the reaffirms we are moving down a good road together,” said Denhard provided using MUSE’s faceted search Web site. We’re really delighted to be active marketing policy of the organisation.” Jongman, director of Centric Supply Chain Solutions. solution. The new e-commerce platform working with such a successful and will also offer greater support for ambitious online retailer.” Further info Further info marketing and promotions, for example allowing customers to be e-mailed a Further info special offer for their birthday. “We are very excited to be working with Snow Valley on our new e- commerce platform,” said Vicky Lovell, COMMUNICATIONS UK charity more efficient with .NET UK charity The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has introduced a broadband-based private network solution from Vodat improving our customer service.” The retailer’s new private network will be fully managed. This means all issues Loyalty. International in its BHF Shops to improve connected with it are dealt with by Vodat communications and productivity across International and there is no requirement In a world of lackluster loyalty programs, Retalix isn’t the business. for the charity’s staff to monitor or The charity will deploy Vodat resolve network problems. just a me-too solution. With Retalix Loyalty™, International’s solution, which uses “Our solution not only meets the you can create exceptionally loyal customers that Microsoft .NET and SQL Server, to charity’s immediate needs but it will also manage the data for the sale of both allow them to adapt to changing not only keep coming back, but also increase your donated and new goods across its stores. requirements in the future,” said Mike The charity’s day-to-day operational Bielinski, CEO at Vodat International. profits. It’s just one of many ways the global leader in information is currently being gathered “This fully managed network will not only at the head office by overnight polling of provide a more cost-efficient solution to food retail, fuel retail and supply chain software can the 600 stores’ EPOS tills via a standard BHF Shops’ communication requirements phone line. Steve Biddle, head of finance but will also deliver the necessary deliver for you. at BHF Shops, said: “This was obviously an platform that will enable them to expensive and inefficient method and we introduce other applications such as EFT wanted to reduce costs while improving processing and e-commerce applications. reliability. We needed a flexible It will also allow them to develop technology that would enable us to innovative and cost effective IP manage our data network efficiently, telephony, electronic messaging and e- improve communications between stores learning solutions, as and when the across the business and assist us in business requires it.” Vodat’s solution will significantly Further info improve communications and SYNCHRONIZED SOLUTIONS FROM WAREHOUSE TO CHECKOUT. productivity at BHF 6 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009
  • 5. retail technology round-up DIGEST WINDOWS 7 MULTI-CHANNEL Windows 7 comes to Sheraton hotels Jacobs musters multi-channel front Sheraton Hotels & Resorts will soon roll Harper, senior vice president of brand Cecil Jacobs, the largest independent out PCs using Windows 7, giving guests in management for Sheraton Hotels & photographic retailer in the UK, has selected its hotels a new way to stay connected Resorts. “We found our inspiration in Multi Channel Commerce (MCC) from Maginus and find information about local parks because they’re a symbol of to improve the customer experience across all attractions, restaurants and more. community where people gather to play its channels. Link@Sheraton takes the standard hotel games, to eat and drink, or just to MCC, a Microsoft Dynamics AX solution, will business centre – typically located away unwind. With that in mind, we designed be implemented in all 17 UK stores, including from public areas – and incorporates it the Link@Sheraton to be much more than EPOS lanes, as well as in the back office and into the lobby with the latest Microsoft a business centre. It’s a social enabler.” central distribution centre. The MCC e- technology. This initiative follows research In addition to offering television and commerce solution replaces the existing Jacobs carried out by Sheraton last year the latest magazines and newspapers, transactional Web site, centring all sales confirming that the majority of its guests each Link@Sheraton site features channels on a single solution for an improved prefer spending time in social places. communal tables, complementary wireless According to Harper, the Link@Sheraton customer experience, as well as increased “We wanted to create a destination service, wired ports for personal laptops experience with Microsoft has had a efficiency and productivity. where all of our guests could come to and at least four personal computers with marked impact on business. Customer “Our customer service offering is a top socialise, be entertained, people watch, 17-inch screens, integrated Web cams and satisfaction has increased by ten per cent, priority and even though we already provide or be alone but not lonely,” said Hoyt Microsoft Office 2007 software. and customers have noted Link@Sheraton an excellent service, we are always looking for as a key contributor to why they would ways to improve this even further,” said Elliott return. In addition, food and beverage Jacobs, general manager at Jacobs. “We went provide support, but had the capability to a fully integrated retail-centric solution covering Did you know? revenue has increased by six per cent because guests spend more time in the through a careful selection process, as this software is an investment in the future of the grow with the company and continue to improve our services, and MCC had the all elements of a multi-channel solution – EPOS, ERP, e-commerce and hosting – to help support 58 per cent of retailers have had a multi-channel initiative in place for at least a lobby. company. We liked the Dynamics platform and capability to deliver.” the business as it develops.” year. Best-in-class companies are one and a half times more likely than industry reviewed a number of Dynamics suppliers, and Russell Dorset, sales and marketing director average and laggard companies to have implemented these initiatives in that time. Further info Maginus impressed us with its expert at Maginus, added: “We are excited to be Further info Source: Cegid/Aberdeen Group understanding of our multi-channel challenges. working with Jacobs, a growing specialist We required a solution that would not only retailer, and feel we are uniquely placed to offer Take a fresh look at your IT future A partnership with New Vision covers all IT services in the Baltic Countries – whether you need international solutions localisation, POS system customisation to meet tax requirements, implementation of new ERP systems, or IT outsourcing. You can find information about our products and services, certifications and references on our international website –
  • 6. retail technology round-up DIGEST news in brief... FOOD SERVICE DEAL MANAGEMENT BCP expands business Tech allows better CJ Lang and Son has extended its use of BCP’s Accord Voice WMS to its recently opened frozen and chilled warehouse to Middle East negotiations at HMV follow our lead facility. Operations at the company’s regional distribution centre in Scotland are As part of a company expansion fully integrated system covering all now entirely based on voice technology with project Foodlink Bahrain has aspects of its business. BCP Accord over 110 warehouse staff using the system. adopted BCP’s specialist Accord solutions utilise a Win-32 based GUI Employees at the Dundee warehouse use Foodservice solution to replace its interface, and as a Microsoft Gold Accord Voice WMS, which uses a Win-32 current paper-based system. Partner the company has designed based GUI interface, to organise stock, Based in Manama, Juffair in the its software to integrate seamlessly receive goods and pick for shipping. Kingdom of Bahrain, Foodlink with Office products. Bahrain provides hotels and high- “Accord is a sophisticated system Hotel operator Global Hyatt is to launch a end restaurants with foods which will scale up easily as the mobile advertising campaign that makes imported from across the globe. As company grows and provide an use of Microsoft’s relationship with Verizon part of its rapid expansion plans excellent fit for our enlarged Wireless. The campaign is designed to drive the company plans to move into a operation in the years to come,” people to register for the Hyatt Gold new, purpose-built depot and said Mark Huggins, operations Passport frequent guest rewards implement the Accord Foodservice director at Foodlink Bahrain. “We’re programme, as well as encourage them to solution to support future growth. keen to go live as soon as possible visit Hyatt’s new, fully functional mobile The implementation involves so we can start to take advantage Web site using their mobile phone. BCP’s complete Accord solution, of its outstanding functionality.” including purchasing, sales order Market America, an Internet marketing and management, stock control, Further info product brokerage company that specialises multicurrency and financial account- in one-to-one marketing, has successfully ing. This will give Foodlink Bahrain a The Eqos solution will standardise deals and contracts at HMV implemented Microsoft’s FAST ESP to allow consumers to search over 35 million stock HMV, the UK’s entertainment partners, as well as to HMV.” CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP keeping units on its Web site. Using FAST retailer, has selected the Eqos Deal Built on Microsoft .NET, Eqos ESP, consumers can compare products they search for based on price, colour and size. tunes and Terms Management solution to streamline commercial negotiations with its music, DVD, visual product Deal and Terms Management oversees complex promotions and deals, beginning with the concept; The Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit will take place 16–17 September at up business and games suppliers. With more than 80 years of music retailing through supplier collaboration and negotiations; execution of the the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London, UK. history, HMV operates 265 stores programme; settlement of funds; Attendees will get the opportunity to meet Online automotive marketplace platform so our staff could use it across the UK and Ireland, 138 and, ultimately, assessing the deal Honeywell offers Gartner analysts, keynote presenters, industry has selected on compatible mobile devices.” stores throughout Canada, and and supplier performance. Product complete data collection panellists and fellow practitioners to discuss Microsoft Dynamics CRM as its To implement Dynamics CRM, manages a growing online store. buyers can work collaboratively the most effective ways to bring the customer relationship management the company chose Microsoft Gold “We’re very much looking with suppliers to structure deals solutions designed to enterprise together. For more information (CRM) system. It anticipates a Certified Partner Tribridge. “We’ve forward to implementing the Eqos and to negotiate terms such as net meet your needs. visit: number of benefits from the new had previous engagements with solution,” said Steve Consalvi, head price, retro-discounts, returns and system, including visibility for Tribridge, and it provided a lot of of finance systems and information marketing contributions. In turn, Two of the leading companies in the automatic Abundant Life Resources (ALR) has adopted trending and forecasting. expertise with quality people who at HMV. “Eqos will enable our suppliers are able to self-manage a multi-channel Accord retail system from “We needed a tool that was easy understand the toolset well,” product buyers to consistently their processes using the Eqos identification and data capture (AIDC) industry— solutions specialist BCP. ALR is the resource to use, worked well out of the box, Finley said. manage deals and to work with system within retailer security Hand Held Products and Metrologic Instruments— arm of the Abundant Life Church, a 21st integrated with Microsoft Office suppliers using a single Web-based restraints. As the promotion or recently combined to form Honeywell Scanning century church based in Bradford, Leeds and Outlook, and would enable us to Further info solution. This system will enable us deal progresses, audit trails enable Belfast. The new solution went live over the track contacts, customer to proactively manage deals and to ‘no dispute’ tracking of & Mobility. Together, we are pleased to deliver course of a few days with the Windows front interactions and opportunities monitor progress, while the more information, while advanced one of the broadest product lines in the industry. end, Accord-PoS, implemented initially on without having to introduce a consistent and auditable security capabilities protect two touch screen tills and linking to a multi- totally different application or communication with suppliers will sensitive deal and terms Our innovative bar code scanners and ergonomic user back office system for centralised platform,” said Gib Finley, help address any issues before they information. mobile computers deliver retail solutions designed control over store operations. director of sales develop into commercial disputes, to increase checkstand efficiency and streamline and service technologies. “We thus avoiding the potential costly Further info This year’s Worldwide Partner Conference – zeroed in on Microsoft Dynamics administrative burdens. We believe back-end applications, resulting in an impressive 13-16 July in New Orleans – saw Microsoft CRM fairly quickly. We have sister that the new system will therefore return on investment. Follow our lead and realize share its strategies and visions for operating companies using it, and be of great benefit to our supplier addressing the challenging economy, saving we liked its integration with your full potential for profitable growth. customers money, and helping partners and Microsoft Office Outlook. We also customers compete confidently. Steve Ballmer, Stephen Elop, Kevin Turner and valued the Microsoft Dynamics CRM integration with our other Did you know? Allison Watson were among the speakers Microsoft technology and its ability 86 per cent of finance directors and managers in the retail sector enlivening the conference with compelling to roll out CRM to a mobile consider loyalty schemes critical to preventing customer defection, accounts of Microsoft’s competitive maintaining competitive positioning and supporting commercial health in the current recession. For additional information, please visit strategy. AutoTrader chose Dynamics AX Source: GI Insight, because of its easy integration with existing technology or call +31 40 2901 600 / + 44 (0)1256 722200. © 2009 Honeywell International Inc. All rights reserved. 10 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009
  • 7. retail technology round-up DIGEST news in brief... EPOS Eurostop, a supplier of retail management Toshiba TEC serves up systems to the fashion, footwear and lifestyle market, has been selected by UK EPOS for BK specialist sports company London Joggers to supply an e-commerce solution for its Burger King has successfully TRST-A15 Expediter full order new online store. The new site, deployed a complete EPOS solution printers. Whopper Bar will also run, will improve customer from Toshiba TEC for its new the Burger King back-office Antara service by providing online access to Whopper Bar concept in Europe. software suite from Toshiba TEC. London Joggers’ full range of stock. Microsoft Gold Certified Partner “We are very proud of our EPOS Toshiba TEC is the designated EPOS solution for Burger King’s new ABI Research has released an evaluation of solution provider for Burger King in hospitality concept and are certain RFID software solution vendors for line of Europe and supports company- that it will provide increased value business (LOB) applications called RFID Line owned and franchisee Burger King to customers,” said Toshiba TEC’s of Business Application Software Vendor restaurants throughout the region. CEO Masamichi Kusunoki. “In a Matrix. Xterprise was ranked as the top For the new Whopper Bar EPOS time of economic strain, it is more software company in the RFID application solution, Toshiba TEC has installed important than ever for business marketplace. The study focused on a small and will maintain hardware and partners to be able to provide group of leading, highly-specialised software, including four WILLPOS outcome-focused, coordinated vendors that offer LOB software solutions A20 EPOS terminals, four cash solutions and services.” targeting a broad range of applications drawers, four credit card machines, within asset and item management. four TRTST-A15 double sided guest Further info printers, two CRT screens, two Fashion software provider Pebblestone has Linerless Sandwich printers and two formed a UK partnership with QSSD, a Microsoft Dynamics solution specialist, to bring together fashion specific functionality and ERP tools. Together the companies will offer fashion tools based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV technology designed to enable fashion retailers, designers, distributors, manufacturers, and suppliers to increase the effectiveness of their core design, operation, distribution, and retail activities through one integrated solution. The Whopper Bar is a smallscale version of a Burger King, and allows UK brand consultant Nucleus is to use customisation of burgers EpiServer’s award-winning Web content management system (CMS) for the P&O SUPPLY CHAIN Cruises Web site. The Microsoft .NET-based system will be used initially to replatform and introduce usability enhancements to Nucleus found it EMS drives forward with best matched P&O Cruises’ challenging requirements as it is both user-friendly and Dynamics NAV intuitive, leading to a significant cut in development time. Automotive component supplier ageing and expensive-to-run legacy Electronic Motion Systems (EMS) system with a single company-wide US tour operator Collette Vacations has supplies control modules and solution which was fully integrated engaged with DataArt, a high-end systems for power conversion and across all areas of our business,” software development company electric motor drive markets. It has said EMS general manager, Rolf headquartered in New York, to help recently installed Microsoft Dahlmanns. “We had a real modernise its corporate information Dynamics NAV with help from problem with data duplication. system and to extend existing functionality Anglia Business Solutions. Some of our key business processes to better support business processes and The project, valued at £300,000, such as MPS and MRP were reliant the user experience. Built on Microsoft and completed in just four months, on information held in various .NET, the new system allows purchasing was a 55 concurrent user single repositories outside the core services from inventory suppliers, wrapping phase deployment of Microsoft system. Now we have a single tour components into packages, Dynamics NAV. The end-to-end integrated solution to manage all of distribution over the agent network, and supply chain solution covered our processes. This provides easy in-field support for Collette Vacations’ tour financials, inventory, warehouse and efficient access to managers. management and manufacturing. It management information on how also included a state-of-the-art the business is performing. integrated warehouse mobility solution designed to provide real Further info time stock information. “EMS needed to replace an 12 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009
  • 8. HOSPITALITY lead story Reaching out As hotels search for new ways to keep their customers satisfied, Rebecca Lambert looks at one hotel in the US that appears to have created the ultimate guest experience Good customer service is the the Epic offers a full complement of digital lifeblood of any business and a top services from technology solution provider priority for hotels looking to SuiteLinq to guests throughout the property, safeguard their future and keep creating an in-room and on-site environment guests coming back. And at the heart of good that is just like home – only better. Better still, customer service is forming a personal the technology also serves as a key relationship with each customer – a communicator between hotel and customer. relationship that the individual customer feels In each of the 411 rooms and suites, US- they would like to pursue and one both parties based SuiteLinq has installed customised can benefit from. thin-client computers and flat-panel digital TVs These days, customers can stay in a hotel running the company’s three core products: and have very little interaction with the SuiteLinq, a customised interactive portal establishment. You book your stay over the offering high-speed Internet access and a Internet; when you get to the hotel you might variety of hotel services; SuiteVOD, which talk to the front desk staff or concierge while delivers a variety of pay-per-view video-on- you check in, but after that you are pretty demand (VOD) content delivered in standard much in your room or going about your and high-definition formats through an business. Hotels are finding it increasingly hard Internet protocol (IP) network; and SuiteCast, to make the personal connection that is an which delivers free-to-guest broadcast and essential part of earning the customer’s repeat cable TV channels. business. And because of this, neither When selecting a technology provider to customer nor hotel is achieving true value install its digital amenities, Epic’s management from each stay. was looking for a personalised, scalable and In Miami in the US, though, one new hotel completely integrated product. Kris Singleton, has embraced technology as a means of Kimpton’s vice president technology and chief connecting with its guests. Kimpton Hotels & information officer, says: “I knew that multi- Restaurants’ recently opened Epic Hotel, media and especially video-on-demand was located on the bank of the Miami river, has changing and would be totally different in the gone to great lengths to create a superior near future. The costs of VOD top-end equip- guest experience and as a result, has seen ment along with the distressed economy were customer satisfaction rise to new levels. challenging several providers. We looked at Alongside its stunning architectural design, multiple providers and selected SuiteLinq for shimmering pools and luxury services including the Epic Hotel. We reviewed the product an on-site spa, in-room spa treatments, and a offering with Epic ownership and opened with variety of dining and lounging destinations, the SuiteLinq system in December 2008.” 14 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009 AUTU M N 2009 Retailspeak 15
  • 9. lead story should look familiar to any guest walking into their room. Most importantly for Epic, it serves as a key marketing tool for the hotel. “The SuiteLinq portal is our original product and one that we have been working on for some time now,” Ziegler says. “When guests sit down at the computer and log on, they will see images of the hotel and its logo – they’re stepping into an environment that is very much about the Epic, not about SuiteLinq. We are essentially in the background; we are white labelling our services to the hotel.” According to Ziegler, the portal works very much like a Web site, but takes customer interaction to the next level. Over and above the standard, expected services it delivers, such as Internet access so guests can check their e-mail, SuiteLinq delivers functionality that helps the hotel communicate and market directly to its customers. “We deliver the unexpected,” says Ziegler. “SuiteLinq provides very detailed information about the amenities one can find at the hotel such as the restaurant and the spa. These “We allow hotels to get away from the days, such amenities are very important to the WITH REGARDS TO MICROSOFT, THERE’S A GREAT different silos of technologies that they have hotel in driving more revenue out of every CREDIBILITY FACTOR THERE. IN OUR EARLY DAYS to deal with. They might have to deal with guest stay. So, we help promote to the guests one vendor for VOD, another for Internet during their stay, which is obviously the best WE WORKED HARD TO COMPETE AGAINST SOME connectivity, another vendor for this and that; time to get their attention. BIG NAMES IN THE HOSPITALITY SPACE AND IT’S there are just too many vendors, too many “Unlike our competitors, we don’t just different services. It’s a real pain point for deploy technology. We approach our services GREAT TO HAVE A PARTNER LIKE MICROSOFT hotels,” says SuiteLinq’s president, Craig and our products as extensions of marketing BEHIND YOUR SOLUTIONS Ziegler. “Our main differentiator is that we activities of the brand and the property. This integrate all these platforms, all these visual gives us a real advantage. We are not services, into one solution delivered by technologists per se, we’re really marketers Craig Ziegler, SuiteLinq SuiteLinq, but backed up by some real that apply technology strategically to help heavyweight suppliers and partners like hotels achieve their goals. So, this desktop Microsoft.” platform is really the first step in opening up a SuiteLinq’s association with Microsoft was a dialogue with guests during their stay. It is a big factor in Epic’s decision-making process, great means for the hotel to serve up and having such a credible and renowned advertising and marketing promotions on a technology provider contributing significantly very customised level to the guests when they to SuiteLinq solutions’ back-end functionality are most inclined to be making purchasing is something Ziegler understands is important decisions for dining, entertainment, and for reassuring customers. related items.” “With regards to Microsoft, there’s a great Some of the ways Epic can market directly credibility factor there. In our early days we to its customers include using a message worked hard to compete against some big centre in the portal, which is very much like names in the hospitality space and it’s great an e-mail system. It allows hotel staff to send to have a partner like Microsoft behind your messages on a one-to-one or one-to-many solutions,” he says. “Plus, when we’re talking basis to guests. For instance, if someone has to prospects it’s often a long complicated come to stay in the Epic Hotel and it is known process to get a big hotel brand on board. that they are a loyal customer, the hotel When you’re talking to CIOs and CTOs, they might want to send a special message inviting recognise the stack of Microsoft applications them down for a dinner promotion or offering our products are built on and that makes another nice touch that just says ‘welcome them feel a whole lot better. They know our back, we know who you are and we thank you solutions are reliable, but also scalable; they for returning’. The hotel also has the know they’re not going to be obsolete in a functionality to send a message out to a few years.” group of customers based on a code that can SuiteLinq’s core product is a main feature in be pulled from the reservation system on site. Epic’s technology offering. The Web-based So, if a convention is being held and guests SuiteLinq portal is specifically designed for use staying there are spread out in different in hotels and runs on a customised, hotel rooms all over the hotel, staff can just branded miniature desktop computer that integrate with the system, target them with 16 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009
  • 10. lead story the group code and send a personalised THE INSTALLATION HAS PROVIDED US WITH attraction listings. This boosts potential hotel and reviewing the great amenities offered.” message telling them all the information they revenue as well as providing for customer And the future of the partnership between EXPOSURE TO THE TECHNOLOGY OPPORTUNITIES need, including when and where the needs. All these extra services and details the two companies looks bright. Full SuiteLinq conference is being held. FIRST HAND WITH CUSTOMER FEEDBACK create a ‘wow’ factor, which is proven to drive services are planned to be implemented at a “As you can see, we offer very customised guest loyalty and return visits. new Kimpton hotel in Philadelphia in the US, REGARDING THE USE OF THE DESKTOPS IN THE messaging features, but we also offer some Ziegler believes offering such digital which is due to open in October this year, and broader advertising features that are ROOMS. WE ALSO RECOGNISED SAVINGS IN amenities is a compelling competitive another new hotel in the US in Baltimore, due supported in the SuiteLinq portal,” Ziegler advantage in today’s challenging environment. to be opened this summer, will feature PRINTED HOTEL MATERIALS MEETING OUR GREEN says. “All this helps the hotel recognise its “When guests use our digital platforms and SuiteVOD services. “SuiteLinq has been customers, make their experience better and INITIATIVES services, they know that this hotel is going important in helping us market our hotel market to them smarter. And that’s just the above and beyond for them,” he says. “That amenities, services, and Kimpton brand desktop application.” translates into increased loyalty and revenue philosophies and core pillars,” concludes Kris Singleton, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants Provided alongside SuiteLinq is SuiteCast for the property.” Singleton. “With several new Kimpton hotel and SuiteVOD. With primary functions as a “The installation has provided us with builds in the pipeline as well as legacy premium free television channel service and a exposure to the technology opportunities first property revamps, we look forward to video-on-demand service respectively on the hand with customer feedback regarding the continue working with SuiteLinq and installing large screen television in each hotel room, use of the desktops in the rooms,” says its products that have already made such a they are also very interactive, branded to the Singleton, commenting on the benefits strong and positive impression on the guest. property and increasingly can support a variety Suitelinq has provided. “We also recognised “At all our hotels there is a complete focus of marketing activities with the SuiteLinq savings in printed hotel materials meeting our on creating a memorable guest stay. desktop application. As well as its easy-to-use green initiatives. By providing easy access to SuiteLinq’s services are the perfect electronic programme guide and multiple information about Kimpton Hotels & complement to the environment we strive to language support, SuiteVOD features local Restaurants online, it offers convenience to create. Its innovative solution makes sense for services such as room service and local the guest for searching our other properties our guests and ultimately for our bottom line.” Fascinating Shopping Experiences with our New POS Solution K3 are the retail people. Here to ensure you overcome your challenges, whether in customer service, inventory management or throughout the entire multi-channel customer experience. All through a suite of powerful retail applications, based on Microsoft Dynamics. Delivered as focused-point solutions, or as part of a wider Retail ERP project, our expertise will dramatically enhance any area of your business, from shop front to back office. Be all you can be. Connect with K3 multi channel retailing. 0870 160 1841 |
  • 11. MULTI-CHANNEL feature The constant retailer Retailers know that in order to reach a broader customer base, they need to embrace multiple sales channels. Lindsay James looks at the issues facing retailers in defining and executing a multi- channel strategy that will carry them into the future In today’s retail environment, self service systems that purchasing at the sales counter is just not only resonate with the one of many ways of doing business. tech savvy but also spread With the arrival of the Internet, the retailers’ reach to the customers can not only purchase online in the less mobile, aging population. comfort of their own home, but also on-the-go Retailers are able to reach each generation via their mobile device. The in-store with a range of complimentary online services, purchasing experience has also evolved, with goods and products.” an ever-growing number of self-service The Internet has clearly had a huge impact checkouts and kiosks making an appearance in on the current retail landscape, and the supermarkets and speciality retail outlets alike, emergence of Web 2.0 and social networking teamed with interactive POS, digital LCD is changing the industry further. “The retail screens and even innovative touch experience as a whole has changed,” says technologies such as Surface. Dominic Citino, Microsoft’s industry market “This diverse selling environment is a world development manager for the retail industry. apart from the offerings of retailers twenty “The Internet has become a huge part of years ago, when a multi-channel business consumers’ daily lives, and is having a very meant two or three channels – the physical visible effect on the way people shop, and the store, a catalogue and maybe a call centre,” way retailers do their business.” says Russell Dorset of Maginus. “Now With the power of the Internet, consumers traditional retailers need to compete online in can carry out research about a product online order to survive, and to do that they need to before they buy, gaining insight from forums, work in a completely different way from what review sites and social networking portals they’ve been used to.” which will influence their purchasing decisions. “With the arrival of the Internet and the They can then choose to buy online or in- Internet generation, retailers have had to store, depending on where they can get the develop new channels for customers,” says best deals. “Many customers are using Mark Ryan, EMEA retail sales leader at multiple sales channels for a single Honeywell Scanning and Mobility. “The transaction,” says Citino. “They will use the younger generation are natural Internet users Internet to get all the information they need, and retailers have an opportunity to build and then quite often for bigger items such as deep relationships with these customers by an LCD TV they will go into the store to see using a variety of technologies to provide the the product in the flesh and to buy. This most convenient shopping environment. In an means that customers expect the same offers effort to target new and different audiences, and the same experience, whichever channel retailers are turning to the Internet, kiosks and they choose.” 20 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009 AUTU M N 2009 Retailspeak 21
  • 12. feature CUSTOMER SOLUTION “Today’s customers have higher damage years of hard work in-store. A refusal expectations than ever before,” says Columbus by poorly engaged store staff to deal with CMR Institute, US IT’s Morten Sælemyr. “They want the same problems caused online can mean customers CMR Institute is a business designed offers and the same product ranges whatever go elsewhere. around the delivery of educational channel they choose, and they want “Worryingly up to 30 per cent of retailers in content via books and CDs. The company consistency in the service they receive.” some sectors have still to offer an online realised that it had to bring its business “Customers have come to expect a very shopping alternative to their customers. Many online to meet customer demand, deliver flexible buying experience, and the ability to so-called ‘multi-channel’ retailers actually offer new offerings faster, and reduce costs. chop and change from channel to channel to a multiple channel experience. Joined-up With assistance from Ironworks, CMR suit their own needs,” says Ryan. “For example, multi-channel retailers are still the exception Institute implemented a new e-learning if an item is out of stock, a customer can check rather than the norm. For those brick and solution based on Microsoft software. the kiosk in-store and order it to be delivered so mortar retailers who have embraced the The company’s move online enables he or she doesn’t need to return when an item online alternatives the challenge is to leverage customers to easily interact with learning is in. Conversely, often an incorrect or their high street presence with joined up materials, request new courses, track unwanted item can be exchanged in a store experience for the customer that begins to progress, and more. For CMR Institute, instead of having to post it back to the retailer.” recognise the lifetime value of each customer the move to an online solution is These high customer expectations, teamed and the complexity of their shopping enhancing the company’s bottom line by with the ever-expanding universe of channels, engagements.” enabling it to offer more courses, deliver are posing challenges for retailers both “Today’s retailers face many challenges in new content faster, and reduce costs—all strategically and technologically. Many determining and executing a multi channel through a solution that is reliable and retailers lack agility because they are held back strategy,” says Citino. “All of these challenges easy to manage. by many different legacy systems that don’t are caused by spaghetti infrastructures that lack connect with each other. integration and scalability. A lack of integration “Perhaps the single biggest challenge for a and overall misalignment across channels can brick and mortar retailer moving into a multi- cause negative customer experiences that are channel is the potential to disappoint extremely difficult to recover from.” customers by delivering an inconsistent In order to succeed in today’s retail shopping experience across different environment, and keep up with the pace of channels,” says K3’s Nigel Stephenson. “Real change, retailers need to look at their and lasting damage to a retailer’s brand can technology systems as a whole, bringing be caused when retailers take a piecemeal together every aspect of the retail operation approach to implementing the multi-channel to get a single view of the customer and to strategy. A poor experience online can deliver consistency. 22 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009
  • 13. feature CUSTOMER SOLUTION Traidcraft, UK “Successful retailers need to deploy a shopping experiences,” says Citino. “It offers Traidcraft, the UK’s leading fair trade flexible, distributed technology platform that organisations the ability to increase loyalty, organisation, works to fight poverty by delivers a consistent experience across the brand awareness, and extend audience reach enabling small-scale producers in the shopper’s digital life, within stores, across by delivering a more consistent and connected developing world to benefit directly from stores, and at their enterprise locations – shopping experience to consumers — whether trade. The company needed to support providing sales-enabling information to both that experience is in-store, via the Web or on a its multi-channel growth to ensure the shoppers and employees,” says Matthew Muta, mobile device. business delivered and customer Microsoft’s worldwide industry manager for e- Commerce Server 2009 features a new demands were met. It also wanted commerce. multi-channel Commerce Foundation, technology that would put it in control of “Retailers need flexible solutions that can SharePoint Commerce Services, and its business. By implementing Maginus e- grow and develop as the retailer reaches interoperability with the entire Microsoft commerce with its existing Maginus ERP multi-channel maturity,” says Alexandria ecosystem including Dynamics AX, Silverlight, solution the company has seen a Rumble from TXT e-solutions. “The solution Visual Studio, Expression, Virtual Earth and significant increase in the number of needs to be able to capitalise on the Windows Live ID. These technologies give visitors to the site, conversion rates and increasing level of information available retailers the ability to not only create revenue per visit. The Maginus solutions through both physical and online interactions. compelling online experiences, but to also have also improved customer service and This is achieved by integrating business measure the success of campaigns and target streamlined warehouse operation. processes and making information available in customers much more effectively. real time. This applies at any level whether it is “Retailers can deliver a personalised beginning with a simple Web site that experience based on a myriad of provides basic information right through to characteristics of a customer,” says Citino. having multiple channels where technology is “Retailers can drive a very tailored experience used to integrate real-time cross-channel that reflects who a customer is, how he or she JD Williams, UK information into business processes for shops, how he or she buys, and what incents Warehouse systems integration can be a improved customer service levels.” him or her to act. In the end, a personalised major challenge of a multi-channel The retailers who already have integrated experience drives conversion rates and boosts operation, ensuring that stock control is channels are the successful ones. They have a loyalty at the same time.” continual, accurate and the items per better understanding of customers and are able “Retailers can increase satisfaction and man hour (IPMH) are maximised. With to compete much more effectively. A connected loyalty by making interactions more individual items being sent direct to enterprise is about connecting people, data, and personalised and intuitive,” says Rumble. “This customers, as well as lorry loads straight systems to provide the right information, at the can include exclusive offers, loyalty points and to stores, from the same location, an right time, and in the right format to make real rewards, buy online pick up in store and real extra layer of complexity is introduced. business impact. With a connected enterprise, time visibility over stock levels.” Mobilising staff to ensure they can have employees can be more productive, make Microsoft is also investing heavily in access to the information they need better-informed decisions, and react more emerging technologies including digital throughout the warehouse is essential. JD quickly to changing customer demand. advertising platforms, consumer mobile Williams, one of the UK’s biggest “Best in class retailers are replacing devices, search, social networking and online catalogue and online retailers, has moved traditional retail models with many connected content – all of which are focused on creating over to Honeywell wireless handheld channels,” says Rumble. “This allows retailers to compelling connected experiences. As time scanners to speed up operations across a meet the emerging customer need of flexibility goes on these types of technologies will number of sites handling goods in and but with a consistent brand message and put become the norm, and new channels will out. Because the new mobile computers the customer first throughout the transition.” emerge. Retailers will have to be able to free up the systems, JD Williams’ IPMH “Having a connected enterprise means that embrace these new channels as they appear in rates have improved significantly. These retailers can focus on their core competencies order to succeed. devices are also very similar to the – the things that differentiate them from their “There are a lot of very exciting possibilities consumer electronics devices staff are competitors,” says Muta. “It allows retailers to out there,” says Sælemyr. “With the right using in their personal life, reducing manage customer interaction in the world of technologies, retailers can afford to training and increasing user acceptability. known and unknown devices and makes the experiment with innovative ways to attract, user experience a creative effort, not a excite and engage customers.” development effort.” “It’s all about preparing yourself for the As the number one e-commerce platform future while leveraging what you can do provider in the world, Microsoft is a leader in today,” says Muta. “Successful retailing hinges the e-commerce space and has developed a on being able to very rapidly adapt and multi-channel customer platform that has built change to new ideas and trends, and consistency into customer interactions, understanding the importance of what may lie IN THE END, A PERSONALISED EXPERIENCE DRIVES allowing retailers to maintain a common around the corner. Multi-channel retailing is multichannel infrastructure. not easy, but taking an agile, consistent CONVERSION RATES AND BOOSTS LOYALTY AT “Commerce Server 2009 is a complete and approach is the way many retailers are THE SAME TIME extensible e-commerce platform that provides succeeding. Great customer experiences are organisations with powerful out-of-the-box enabled by laying the right groundwork – and Dominic Citino, Microsoft capabilities designed to create rich online the key to this is Microsoft technology.” 24 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009
  • 14. JOURNEY MANAGEMENT SERIES feature In the first of our series of features on journey management Lindsay James takes a look at how hoteliers can employ today’s in-room entertainment technologies to increase revenue by adding true value to the traveller experience Fifteen years ago, travellers to the expect to have many digital amenities available most luxurious of hotels would be to them wherever they go. Not to deliver on lucky to get any entertainment in this expectation in their hotel room now leads their room, aside from satellite to a less than satisfactory guest experience.” television. But, times have changed, and so As the fastest growing revenue-generating have travellers’ expectations. These days opportunity for hospitality providers today, an guests are making it known that they expect a effective and compelling in-room experience is level of entertainment choice in their hotel essential. But, as many hoteliers have found rooms that goes beyond what they are used to out, establishing what is appealing to guests is at home. What’s more, with the proliferation not always easy. of mobile devices such as PDAs, portable DVD “In recent years there’s been confusion players, MP3 players, and Smartphone devices, knowing exactly what guests want,” says guests increasingly want these to be able to Warburton. “For a period of time some hotels link in with their in-room experience. were renting out DVDs, mobile phones, “Nowadays guests expect hotel rooms to laptops and even MP3 players, but the fact is offer similar facilities to those they experience that travellers want to carry their own at home, and in-room TV systems are no content. Guests will increasingly be expecting exception,” says Robin Warburton, COO at the hotel room to be an extension of their Neos Interactive. “For years, hotels relied on home and in-room technology will have to revenues from a well established pay-per-view accommodate this. But just because model, but offered limited choice. Changing something may be technically achievable, it technology enabled real-time delivery of digital doesn’t necessarily make it a good thing from VOD, and the guest preference for true ‘on the guest’s point of view; and how you design demand’ content over the restricted scheduled and interface the whole gamut of services format meant that hotel operators could offer across different languages becomes more and greater choice to their guests, a higher quality more challenging for service providers. For and respectively generate more profit.” instance, sometimes it’s easier to pick up a “In the past ten years technology has phone to order room service at two am rather entered the consumer’s home and lifestyle in a than familiarise yourself with an interface and big way,” says Craig Ziegler, president of remote control.” SuiteLinq. “Many now have hundreds of TV With this in mind, it’s clear that hoteliers are channels and video on demand (VOD) options finding that there’s a fine line between getting to choose from, and high-definition televisions the in-room experience right, and getting it to watch them on. Likewise, media very wrong. But for those who are getting it multitasking is the norm, and consumers right, there are clear advantages. 26 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009 AUTU M N 2009 Retailspeak 27
  • 15. feature THOSE HOTELIERS THAT ARE GETTING IT RIGHT “Those hoteliers that are getting it right are recently hoteliers have come to appreciate TRAVELLERS WITH THEIR OWN DEVICES OR access to local guides, Microsoft Office compile their own personal interactive menus. using in-room technologies to connect with that it is a tool that can impact the guest software, and an array of embedded Microsoft There is also a search function made available ARE USING IN-ROOM TECHNOLOGIES TO CARRYING THEIR OWN MEDIA ON MP3 PLAYERS, the customer and boost loyalty,” says Bill experience and drive revenue in a variety of services, including Live Search via SuiteCast through an on-screen virtual keyboard to CONNECT WITH THE CUSTOMER AND BOOST Frizzell, Microsoft’s CTO for global hospitality ways. Digital platforms in the guest room – MEMORY STICKS, CD OR DVD CAN SIMPLY and SuiteVOD on the 42” flat screen make the process even more user-friendly, and travel and transportation. “They can do this by especially interactive ones – are a conduit for televisions. The hotel branded interactive tabbed Web browsing aids the TV Internet LOYALTY. THEY CAN DO THIS BY USING THE CONNECT TO THE NEOS SYSTEM, AND PLAYLISTS using the information they already have about commerce and communication. Guests Suitelinq portal on the desk in each room experience. INFORMATION THEY ALREADY HAVE ABOUT A a customer to create a very personal likewise appreciate access to a variety of high- OR FILES ARE AUTOMATICALLY DISPLAYED. furthers the connected experience by “When it comes to integrating with experience. The more you can make the guest quality entertainment options as well as the providing a modern means for guests to personal media, the Neos iTV system really CUSTOMER TO CREATE A VERY PERSONAL PERSONAL MUSIC, VIDEO OR PHOTO SLIDESHOWS feel special, the more likely you are to ability to interact with the hotel on their engage with the hotel, the adjacent restaurant comes into its own,” says Warburton. EXPERIENCE succeed. For example, if a business traveller terms. The ultimate goal is effectively CAN BE PLAYED BACK VIA THE GUESTROOM TV Brabo by Robert Wiedmaier, as well as the spa “Travellers with their own devices or carrying has come to stay at a hotel for a specific integrating different technologies, and using and other on-site amenities. their own media on MP3 players, memory conference, then a calendar of conference each to the fullest while delivering an Kris Singleton, vice president of technology sticks, CD or DVD can simply connect to the Bill Frizzell, Microsoft Robin Warburton, Neos Interactive sessions can be synched up with the in-room experience that makes the guest say ‘wow!’ and chief information officer for Kimpton, Neos system, and playlists or files are technology and that day’s schedule can be the and, most importantly, makes them want to says: “In a challenging economy like this one, automatically displayed. Personal music, video first thing the traveller sees when he or she come back to that property or brand.” our guests are looking for maximum value for or photo slideshows can be played back via turns on the TV in the morning. Hoteliers can Following on from the successful their dollar. Increasingly, that value creation the guestroom TV.” also target relevant offers to the customer implementation of SuiteLinq services at the involves the digital amenities that SuiteLinq Microsoft technologies have a significant using the digital platform and even boost Epic Hotel (see page 15 for more information), provides.” part to play in the in-room entertainment revenues by using digital advertising.” Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has outfitted Microsoft Partner, Neos Interactive has space, forming the basis of both the Neos and “To the hotelier, there is an omnipresent another of its hotels with the same innovative responded to the call for greater guest SuiteLinq offerings. “From the Neos need to both keep pace with the competition entertainment and connectivity technology to personalisation by incorporating new features perspective, Microsoft contributes in a big as well as differentiate from them,” says create the ‘wow factor’ that Ziegler talks about. into its in-room system Neos iTV. The ability to way,” says Warburton. “The Neos system sets Ziegler. “In-room entertainment was sort of Guests at the Lorien Hotel & Spa in Virginia, bookmark favourite films, music albums, radio itself apart from many of its Linux-based rivals viewed as a commodity in years past, but the US, can enjoy on-demand entertainment, stations or TV channels will allow guests to by being built on the Windows platform, and global AX solutions You can’t afford to “wait it out” No action is not the answer to today’s retail challenges. Knowledge is power. Catalog At Columbus IT we provide knowledge, not just solutions. Visit our Retail Resource Center at The World’s Largest 120 Offices Worldwide Download free whitepapers with the AX Covering 76 Countries Over 1500 Certified AX Experts latest industry research on: Delivery Team the real cost of inventory AxPact brings together the world’s very best Microsoft 1200+ Seperate AX Projects improving profitability Dynamics AX expertise to work together in delivering high Online quality multi-site, multi-national, Microsoft Dynamics AX projects. 600+ Manufacturing Projects Since AxPact was formed in 2001 we have successfully Contact delivered more than 1200 Microsoft Dynamics AX implementations, which is over 10% of all AX projects Global VP Sales, Henrik Salicath worldwide. The first global Microsoft Dynamics Partner +45 29 69 06 67 To discuss how we might assist your company Microsoft’s Retail Partner please contact: of the Year 2009 North America VP Sales, Steve Thomas Paul Blatherwick, Business Development Manager Visit our website… Brick and mortar +1 (404) 895-4760 Telephone: +44(0)845 456 3433 Email:
  • 16. feature PUTTING TO WORK THE VAST AMOUNTS OF DATA our next generation release will draw further lessens the typical multi-use management on the latest Microsoft technologies such as burden of maintaining multiple service THAT MOST LARGE BRANDS MAINTAIN ABOUT Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). This offerings per type of area on the property. THEIR CUSTOMERS IS NOT EASY, BUT IT IS allows us to create faster prototypes, more State-of-the-art media and services delivery are dynamic and responsive menus and a richer offered through Microsoft Media Center by CERTAINLY EASIER THAN EVER BEFORE THANKS TO experience for the user. Microsoft Office using plug-ins. MICROSOFT AND SOME OTHER VERY applications Word, Excel and PowerPoint can “Guests are able to create an environment also be included into the offering for guests that’s more like home and that will help them EXCEPTIONAL PARTNERS THAT WE WORK WITH. who travel without a laptop, but may still be more comfortable and productive,” says SO, IN TERMS OF GUEST-FACING TECHNOLOGY, I require business facilities during their stay. Tom Cooley, a Microsoft platform strategy Standard Vista games as also included as part advisor. “Using Windows Media Center, guests THINK WE WILL SEE THE HOSPITALITY of the entertainment offering.” are even able to display family photos that ENVIRONMENT ONCE AGAIN CLAIMING THE “Our solution is about converged network have been e-mailed to create an in-room slide delivery of content, connectivity and show. It’s a totally integrated environment. POSITION OF INNOVATION IT ONCE HELD commerce, and Microsoft is truly the only They can log on, download pictures onto the partner that can support us in all of these TV, listen to music, watch on-demand video Craig Ziegler, SuiteLinq areas,” says Ziegler. “A variety of Microsoft and check e-mail.” applications are at the core of SuiteLinq’s Because the content is personalised, the technology platforms and systems integrations cache is cleared by the hotel when guests solutions. We also use Microsoft’s Advertising leave. For hotel operators, it provides a point and Live Search solutions in our interactive of competitive differentiation that allows them portals. Going forward, the large library of to attract and re-attract those customers, Microsoft content – video, music, games, and according to Cooley. more – will be available on a variety of our Already having a huge impact on the platforms as well. So as you can see, SuiteLinq hospitality industry, in-room entertainment is fully stacked with Microsoft products – both technologies are clearly going to continue to business and consumer-facing.” make up a large part of any hoteliers’ offering. Microsoft technologies such as Media “Over the coming years we’ll see more Center are further contributing to a more personalisation at the individual guest level on differentiated in-room experience. The Hotel a variety of platforms,” says Ziegler. “If I’m a 1000 in Seattle, Washington, for instance, has baseball fan, who has purchased a massage at centred the room around the availability of another hotel location, and chose a certain favourite media and services on a number of vintage wine during my last meal at the widescreen plasma monitors located property, all of this data can be pulled into the throughout its rooms and suites. You can mix to power content delivery, marketing control content, multi-area volume of the communications, and commerce on digital sound system, and interact with your profile platforms in a manner that guests will find through these devices. And because it’s a exceptional. multi-use property – part residence, part hotel “IP based networks will be at the core of – the same entertainment offerings are such services. Putting to work the vast available for their property owners. This amounts of data that most large brands maintain about their customers is not easy, but it is certainly easier than ever before thanks to Microsoft and some other very exceptional partners that we work with. So, in terms of guest-facing technology, I think we will see the hospitality environment once again claiming the position of innovation it once held.” “One of the biggest innovations we’ll see – and this is ready to happen in the next six months – is a change in the way media is delivered,” says Frizzell. “Instead of being able to watch films purely on demand, guests will be able to download films that they can pay for and keep, and watch again and again. We’ll also see changes in the way content is viewed, with the advent of 3DTV and other promising up and coming innovations. If we can get this right then we are able to put things back to how they used to be – when you’d go to a hotel to experience things that you just couldn’t experience at home.” 30 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009
  • 17. forum - food and drug forum - mass merchandise FOOD FIRMS CHASE GAINS SELF-PAYMENT AT METRO Companies in the food industry face tighter margins, greater compliance demands and Metro Cash & Carry, a self-service wholesaler, uses payment terminals an increased focus on traceability, according to some leading figures from Höft & Wessel to optimise cashless payments at the tills Food and beverage companies face For all mass merchandise retailers, commercial customers of this wholesaler. the current software status from the store’s declining margins, regulatory speeding up the checkout process Constant availability of self-payment central server and is fully operational within a compliance regimes that are is a key business challenge. Waiting terminals has top priority at Metro. The maximum of two minutes. Accordingly, becoming ever more stringent, and a to pay annoys customers, and while service concept for the terminals is software conflicts are eliminated from the need for better quality control and traceability, throwing labour at the problem to keep structured and designed accordingly. If a outset. Handling is incredibly easy and can according to senior executives from some of more tills open may help, it has obvious cost device fails, then the complete hardware is be performed by employees without any the UK’s leading food organisations. implications. So many retailers are moving, simply replaced. Two quick steps are all it specialist knowledge.” Food industry systems specialist Anglia wherever possible, to self-service. In takes to open the terminal casing and “Right from the product development Business Solutions, which bases its offer cooperation with SME manufacturer Höft & replace the CPU and all the hardware. stage Höft & Wessel took care to ensure that around Microsoft Dynamics technology, Wessel, the self-service wholesaler Metro “After exchanging the units and the terminals developed for Metro are simple recently held a round table debate featuring Cash & Carry Germany has introduced self- connecting the terminal to the mains, it to take apart and repair. In doing so, we relied companies such as Bakkavor, Deloitte, payment terminals that substantially reduce becomes operational automatically,” explains on our many years’ experience from our ticket Diageo, Elisabeth The Chef, Ferndale Foods, waiting periods at the check-out counters. Jan Engelbrecht. “It automatically downloads vending machine division,” says Engelbrecht. Fresh Produce Consortium, Montana Bakery, The new payment stations are based on the Reynolds Catering Supplies, Vitacress and skeye.quickpay self-payment terminals from Wealmoor. The focus was on how food and million eggs a week from 1,000 producer was now an inferior product. the Skeye division of Höft & Wessel. beverage organisations can ensure hubs and nine packing centres involving a Mike recommended a number of measures These devices were especially adjusted to profitability. complex supply chain. It has also introduced where changes can produce improvements the needs of Metro Cash & Carry and Event facilitator David Hurley, Anglia’s MD, the practise of double utilising vehicles, with in productivity and therefore profitability. extended to include additional functions. asked attendees what they would like to take drivers collecting ungraded eggs from They include the following: “The introduction of the new payment away from the session, with responses producers on the return journey from retail • Audit production headcount regularly, terminals is part of a comprehensive including cost saving ideas, improved deliveries. This has helped to reduce costs particularly where contract labour is conversion of our cash desk areas,” explains understanding of supply chain dynamics, and and the company’s carbon footprint. involved Matthias Assmann, IT division head at Metro perspectives on industry verticals. On the IT front, Noble is working with • Ensure that the exact amount of raw Cash & Carry Germany. “To avoid waiting Hurley explained that the challenges Anglia on the deployment of a highly materials required to produce a fixed times, we have completely separated the outlined were common across many sectors. automated enterprise resource planning amount of finished product is known. merchandise recording and payment Many issues stemmed from the lack of (ERP) system. This is to replace the existing Measure the resulting output to ensure processes. Whoever wants to make cashless visibility of product as it moved through the legacy systems that have been in use for compliance payments is welcome to use the new supply chain. He highlighted the production many years within the business. The • Invest in personnel training aimed at electronic self-payment terminals installed area in particular where value was added and objectives of the project include: to acquire improving productivity immediately behind the merchandise costs incurred. Here the combination of better quality management information; • Regularly question existing operating conveyor belt. Cash payers are forwarded to batch oriented legacy systems and paper improve management of raw material; methodology and compare against best separate cash desks.” based processes make it difficult to measure eliminate islands of data; and improve industry practice “All customers benefit from speedier accurate costs and therefore profitability. efficiency as the system is extended across • Review current IT systems to ensure that processing, irrespective of whether they pay This was anathema to those companies the organisation. they still meet the needs of the business. by EC card, credit card or in cash,” says operating in low margin fast moving Mike Dudbridge from the University of Assmann, summarising the success of the consumer products such as the food sector. Lincoln explained the industry issues he has Mike concluded that in his experience, project. The first guest speaker, Peter Thornton, observed through working with 2,000 food fully integrated successfully deployed ERP Jan-Christian Engelbrecht is the project CEO of Noble Foods, the largest egg industry students. A key concern is systems had made a significant contribution head responsible at Höft & Wessel. “We have producer in Europe, explained the impact of recruitment. The industry can be seen as to the profitability of many food completely re-tailored the terminals to the the economic downturn. Quality, cost and undesirable from a career perspective. organisations. They had helped to manage needs of Metro Cash & Carry,” he explains. service have become more important than Potential recruits are deterred by long hours raw materials and labour costs while “We managed to present the first ever to major retailers in fresh food. Purchase and poor controls over labour, material and improving customer satisfaction. functioning prototype after only a few of organic eggs has dropped by 30-40 per waste. On managing costs, he observed that There was also general consensus that the weeks. The specific adjustment succeeded so cent as consumers want value for money. many companies adopt short interval current demands made by customers for fast because we were able to fall back on Retailers’ prices are under increasing controls but felt that many supervisors lack high quality goods at reduced prices are tried-and-tested standard components in the pressure in the battle for customer loyalty. the necessary information to ensure going to continue. This is unlikely to change field of vending machine and terminal There are significant margin challenges for profitable production. even when economic conditions improve. construction.” suppliers down the line. He cited one instance involving a pizza The requirement for product traceability The terminal in the Metro Cash & Carry Thornton stressed the importance of a production unit. The budget for cheese for throughout the entire supply chain is likely to wholesale markets is similar to a classic cash strong supply chain. Four key elements are one particular production run was £120,000. become more stringent in future. dispenser. It chiefly consists of a large touch- vital for a healthy supply chain: efficiency However, poor raw material controls meant Standardised procedures can help to manage sensitive screen that customers can use to with time, people and materials, employing that a further £20,000 worth of material was remote locations provided that they have the select from a range of payment methods, as and nurturing quality people, adding value used. This resulted in a loss for the flexibility to reflect local culture and business well as a signature pad. The printer by identifying where savings can be made, manufacturer. In addition, complaints were conditions. Retailers are generally poor at integrated into the self-payment terminal and innovating received by the retailer from repeat forecasting and are largely ignored when ensures that the invoice is printed in DIN A4 Noble grades, packs and delivers 72 purchasers of the product as they felt that it planning how to meet demand. format, which is of relevance to the 32 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009 AUTU M N 2009 Retailspeak 33
  • 18. forum - speciality retail forum - hospitality RULE CHANGE FOR LUXURY HOME FROM HOME Considerate consumption, rather than bling, is the key to success in the luxury Robin Warburton says that integrating guests’ own mobile devices into market, according to a new survey from Verdict Research in-room entertainment systems is key to giving the best experience A new report published by retail has come to an end. Decoupling clearly was With an ever increasing number of gadget overkill. Hoteliers must determine analyst Verdict Research says the a myth and the global meltdown has led to a today’s tech-savvy hotel guests which services they need to provide in order global downturn has brought about sharp correction in economic performance of carrying an abundance of various to create the best experience for their a major reversal in the fortunes of emerging markets. Sales across the region mobile devices, a new generation guests. Travellers of different generations the luxury retail business. Verdict predicts a have felt the impact acutely. Moreover, of travellers are checking into hotels with all have different expectations and needs when significantly different luxury sector will Verdict expects a consumer attitude change the gadgets they need. Hoteliers are it comes to in-room amenities, and emerge at the end of this crisis. in emerging economies, as behaviour usually continuously challenged to find ways to consequently any newly introduced The synchronised downturn in the EU, the follows trends set in the west. As considerate integrate consumer devices into the existing technologies need to be simple plug and threat of a second lost decade in Japan and luxury consumption becomes the in-room technology to create a better guest play solutions. the difficulty in negotiating the liquidity trap watchword, frugality will also be the major experience. With personal and business lifestyles in the US have altered the rules of the luxury theme in emerging markets and ostentatious Adopting new technology is a way hotels converging, guests are also looking to retail game. The global downturn has showing off will be a thing of the past. can distinguish themselves from the customise their hotel room experience, and affected the fortunes and real incomes of the For luxury retailers the game now is competition. By creating a better the ability to have connectivity to their own global elites from Russia to China to the almost exclusively about traditional core environment that helps guests stay technology and have a home from home West, has curbed global travel levels (which markets: the EU, the US and Japan. This connected and offering the hi-tech setting experience will be a factor in hotels is very important in the sector as a sales warning comes against the backdrop that they have grown accustomed to at home, maintaining guest loyalty. generator) and perhaps most significantly Verdict forecasts a six per cent decline in ABOUT THE AUTHOR hoteliers can increase guest loyalty and At Neos Interactive, we’ve recognised the ABOUT THE AUTHOR has fundamentally changed the consumer global luxury expenditure, €211 billion in Daniel Lucht is a senior analyst with Verdict boost revenues. need to marry mobile technology within the Robin Warburton is chief operating officer of attitudes of the mass market. Generally 2009, predicting that the industry is headed Research. Verdict, part of the Datamonitor But with the balance between guestroom existing hotel TV environment, and have Neos Interactive. He joined the company in speaking, an era of consumer frugality has for one of the worst years on record. In group, specialises in researching the global comfort and hotel room technology tilting in furthered the development of 1999 as creative director and maintains a set in and has left its mark on the luxury particular Japan (down 14.6 per cent) and retail sector. favour of technology, there is a danger of personalisation and media integration with hands-on role in the product design, content sector and the widening of the consumer the US (12.1 per cent) will see sharp declines our latest offering, Neos iTV. development and usability. He has over 30 target group to the mass market has halted. in sales growth. For revenue, cashflow and Still in alpha release, with a intended years experience in the field of visual In short bling, which characterised the profit generation and protection it is vital the rollout at the end of 2009, the mini-PC based communication including advertising, rich- Noughties, is out and considerate domestic houses of the luxury dynasties are solution draws further on its Microsoft media and UI/TV portals consumption with a focus on quality and in order. background by implementing latest Windows perhaps understatement rather than In the midst of the crisis it is vital to Presentation Foundation technologies. This fashionability is in. Verdict senior analyst reengineer business models and relentlessly allows the creation of faster prototyping, Daniel Lucht, the report’s author, says: “The focus on sales and cutting costs. Cost cutting more dynamic and responsive menus and a change in external circumstances has once measures will include the renegotiation of richer experience for the user. again demonstrated the cyclical nature of leases, reducing advertising, some short a major sales driver, will enable broader Latest features allow for greater guest televisions. A wireless keyboard is also the luxury business. Contrary to what has timing at the back end in manufacturing, reach, help with advertising and bring costs personalisation – the ability to bookmark provided in-room for Internet or office use often been claimed, luxury is not immune to cutting any underperforming sub brands and down. While luxury brands have been slow to favourite films, music albums, radio stations, allowing guests a hassle-free way to create, crises.” mothballing store expansion programmes. introduce e-commerce, as many identified it or TV channels will allow guests to compile edit and save their files. Another direct consequence of the The other tactical response in combination with counterfeiting or argued that the their own personal interactive menus Whether it’s interactive TV, high speed financial turmoil has been extreme currency with a cost cutting initiative is to Internet would take away from the shopping alongside the standard IPTV, VOD and MOD Internet connectivity, IP-enabled mini-bars, volatility. For the vertically integrated luxury aggressively drive sales growth. “As the experience, the changed reality on the entertainment packages. There is also a bathroom television or security and players this has turned into a major issue: department store sector in many markets ground now forces retailers to innovate. search function made available through an environmental controls, IT has now become luxury is one of the few industries where shows signs of implosion, we would advise Simon Chinn, co-author of the report says: on-screen virtual keyboard to make the an integral part of the in-room experience, products are manufactured in Europe and luxury retailers to go fishing where the fish “The downturn has put pressure on all luxury process even more user-friendly; and tabbed and as a result, the guest’s transition from sold to the rest of the world. So far currency are. The new opportunity lies in shopping retailers to go online. The Internet is Web browsing aids the TV-Internet home to hotel has become more seamless exchange rate fluctuations have meant, that centres,” adds Lucht. Especially in the EU this particularly appropriate for products such as experience. than ever before. apart from the rising gold and diamond sales location has mostly been ignored: it accessories, watches and jewellery, where fit When it comes to integrating with prices, the upward pressure on prices has was assumed luxury retailing needs to be as is not as much of an issue and an online personal media the Neos iTV system really is been immense. Especially outside the exclusive as possible and boutique based. luxury retail platform could offer special leading edge. Travellers with their own eurozone, home to the majority of the luxury However London’s Westfield shows a viable personalised services such as individual devices or carrying their own media on iPod, industry, retail prices need to be adjusted alternative and could act as a template for designs and engravings.” memory sticks, CD or DVD can simply upwards to make up for the shortfall in local other centres across the EU. In the US and connect to the Neos system and playlists or currency depreciations. However, raising many emerging markets shopping centres files are automatically displayed. Guests prices in a recession is very difficult, even for are already locations of choice for luxury personal music, video or photo slideshows a luxury business, in particular in relatively retailers. For those with cash reserves, the can be effortlessly played back via the new and poor markets in the Middle East and current climate spells a golden opportunity guestroom TV. emerging Asia. to snap up cheap (sometimes even rare, Microsoft Office, Excel and Powerpoint can In recent years emerging markets have exclusive) locations, as the real estate market also be included on the system to allow been crucial as a sales driver for the luxury is bottoming out. guests travelling without laptops to continue industry and luxury retailers flocked to the One aspect of luxury retailers’ future to work; and this is greater enhanced by the Middle East, Russia and emerging Asia. This prospects will be online. The Internet will be HD resolutions supported by the latest LCD 34 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009 AUTU M N 2009 Retailspeak 35
  • 19. spotlight - United Kingdom spotlight - Germany PERFECT PARTNERS GERMAN MARKET HOLDING UP Microsoft UK’s Tony Young spoke to Retailspeak to explain how the company’s partner Europe’s largest retail market is remaining stable in 2009, despite the recession programme is key to supporting customers in the retail sector Across the world, Microsoft depends on its may wish to expand into. The benefit here is How important is the feedback of end retail systems firm Höft & Wessel and the head partners to deliver the benefits of its that the partner can assist the retailer locally users and partners in the development of of its Skeye division, which produces mobile technology to customers. But navigating the and use their local market knowledge to tailor the partner programme? terminals and scanners for the retail sector, immense complexity of the Microsoft partner their solutions for that retailer and that says firms are looking to invest in new ecosystem can be a challenging exercise. We geography – so often many of our partners can A great example of where feedback has made equipment, but want to see hard proof that it asked Tony Young, partner account provide global reach with a local touch. a real difference is around our licensing. For will deliver business benefits first. “As the manager, to explain how it works. In addition, our partners offer solutions that many years we have been told that our market leader for mobile terminals in allow retailers to collaborate more effectively licensing is too complex and hard to Germany’s retail sector, Skeye’s business with suppliers. In a global market place, this understand. Over the past three years we have actually focuses on follow-up orders and Tell us about the UK Microsoft partner collaboration is crucial to a retailer in terms of worked to reduce the number of ways portfolio business with long-standing network innovative product development, reducing the customers can purchase a Microsoft licence customers,” he says. “Although the retail sector time to market and increasing sales. from 124 options to less than 30. in the German-speaking countries is actually In the UK, Microsoft has an ecosystem of less influenced by the recession than in other 32,000 partners which are a mix of European states, the retail companies expect independent software vendors, systems How should retailers go about engaging How can the partner network help revenues to decline in the wake of an increase integrators, hosting and reseller partners. Our with the right partner? retailers in the future, as the effects of in unemployment figures. That’s why they’re partners are a crucial part of our business the global economic downturn continue looking at our new self-service shopping model – over 90 per cent of our UK revenue It is true there are thousands of solutions to be felt? system with great interest but are hesitant to comes through our partner ecosystem. In the worldwide. We continuously work with our invest in such new technologies right now. UK retail space we manage approximately 30 partners to help them develop best-of-breed Retailers are seeing a decline in spending which “We believe in the success of our new partners that supply a range of applications, solutions for the retail industry. Our retail is having a huge affect on their business and application. In the medium-term, retailers will solutions and services that meet the needs of customers can understand our partner the decisions they make around investing use this new technology to take advantage of our retail customers. solutions in a couple of ways. They can work money. Our partners’ ecosystem is in the cost savings and create benefits for their In order to become a Microsoft partner, the directly with their account team to find the middle of this and they are adapting by Despite the financial crisis and the threat of municipalities vary even more. On the one hand customers. We are now in the process of first step is for solution suppliers to register for right partner for the right business need; they offering more ways to invest in new IT systems. recession in Germany, the country’s retailers there are municipalities – usually in the vicinity implementing a reference application in a the Partner Programme at can speak to one of our retail partner team to This can be through delivery either on will see stable sales this year, according to of major cities – where retail operations or supermarket so that we can show the Once they are understand our Connected Retail vision and premise or in the cloud, or by offering financing research from Germany analyst GfK shopping centres with high sales are located. On advantages of our new system in practice. in the programme, Microsoft will work with how our partners embrace this; or they can use of projects, such as Microsoft financing. This GeoMarketing. The firm’s survey suggests the other hand, there are municipalities where “It is the same with RFID. We sell RFID readers them to establish how they can progress from tools such as our Solution Finders directory at flexibility allows our retail clients to change the that some regions will achieve sales far in retail is now almost non-existent. for identification of tagged pallets, transport registered partner to our top level Gold way they spend and helps them realign capital excess of the local purchasing power in 2009. Technology is an important driver for containers for retailers and the clothing Certified Partner by looking at different areas expenditure to optimise their operational According to the study’s findings, sales are German retailers, as it is elsewhere. Peter industry. But actually only a few comprehensive of specialisation they can focus on to grow expenditure investments. expected to remain stable for over-the-counter Claussen, chief operating officer of German rollouts are being executed up to now.” their Microsoft Practice. How can working with Microsoft retail, reaching a volume of €399 billion. GfK’s Working with Microsoft is an ongoing partners help retailers minimise cost and CEO Professor Klaus Wübbenhorst reads these partnership due to the range of technologies maximise ROI of IT projects? findings as a positive signal for retail: “In light Germany’s top 15 POS turnover locations and solutions that we and our partners bring of the expected low inflation rate, retailers will together. Over the last two years we have seen Microsoft and our partners are acutely aware of be able to achieve satisfactory results in spite Rank in 2009 County POS turnover in 2009 (€ millions) some huge developments in our Windows the need to provide value-driven solutions with of the currently difficult economic 1 Berlin (urban) 17,240 technologies with Windows 7 in beta and our rapid return on investment (ROI). Microsoft environment,” he says. 2 Hamburg (urban) 10,461 business intelligence technologies based on engages with partners to ensure that their Looking at POS turnover volumes at the level SQL Server. The programme helps partners solution is operating on an optimised Microsoft of counties and metropolitan areas, the major 3 Munich (urban) 9,639 understand these technologies through a platform, thus making sure that costs are conurbations are predictably leading the field. 4 Cologne (urban) 6,574 number of routes, including ongoing training minimised and that customers are best placed In addition to the major cities, only three rural 5 Hanover region (rural) 6,296 for their technical teams, early adopter to make the right investment decision. and populous counties made it into the list of 6 Düsseldorf (urban) 4,117 programmes, compatibility workshops and We work with our customers to ensure that the top 15 locations, which together account 7 Stuttgart (urban) 4,060 hands-on labs. they have the best possible application for more than €83.6 billion or 20 per cent of infrastructure. total POS sales in Germany. 8 Frankfurt am Main (urban) 4,002 With Software-plus-Services (S+S) a key Rankings change, however, when calculating 9 Nuremberg (urban) 3,489 How important has the Microsoft partner topic, our partner ecosystem is investing a sales per inhabitant. The smaller cities, especially 10 Essen (urban) 3,453 programme been in helping retailers to significant amount of time understanding the in Bavaria, have a clear lead here. In more rural 11 Bremen (urban) 3,269 embrace an increasingly global market changes they need to make to their business areas they often act as retail hubs, drawing 12 Dortmund (urban) 3,074 place? to be part of the S+S wave. This approach is shoppers from outlying regions. As a result, they giving choice to our customers on how their IT are achieving significantly higher retail sales. 13 Recklinghausen (rural) 2,945 Firstly, many of our larger partners operate in a solutions are delivered in the cloud or in While per capita sales in the 429 counties 14 Dresden (urban) 2,557 global capacity, so they often already have a datacentres, which offers a flexible means of surveyed fluctuate between around €2,600 and 15 Mettmann (urban) 2,458 presence in the geography that the retailer payment. approximately €11,800, the amounts among 36 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009 AUTU M N 2009 Retailspeak 37
  • 20. viewpoint viewpoint Millions of reasons How BI helps to recommend S+S retailers go green Tom Keane of NitroSell sees much to commend in Microsoft’s approach to retail solution delivery Noe Gutierrez and Ashish Jaiswal discuss the role of business intelligence technology in achieving sustainability Massive changes are happening in mega-trends transforming our world: business The global economic downturn has distribution system can significantly cut lead retail businesses, the software and is moving online and the political/economic forced many retailers to reassess times and transportation costs while reducing systems they use and the price they powerbase is shifting. As the SaaS train sustainability practices. While being carbon footprint through lower fuel have to pay for the them. Put becomes unstoppable, major players face perceived as eco-friendly is still a consumption. For example, cross-docking succinctly, the future of retail is multichannel collapse in partner ecosystems that will open priority, retailers are increasingly looking for enables retailers to optimise redistribution of and the future is now. huge opportunities for early adaptors of new return on investment on green initiatives, goods received from manufacturers to stores In 2005 I founded NitroSell as an Internet and better approaches such as S+S. measured in pounds, not just reduction in by packing, labelling and shipping products in a start-up to provide a solution to extend On-premise software combined with the carbon footprint. And as they become more manner that shipments can be easily sorted Microsoft Dynamics into a full multi-channel nascent Microsoft cloud OS and Web services prudent about capital expenditure, they will and consolidated at the distribution centre for solution including a Web channel. NitroSell e- offerings is a barely tapped opportunity. On- become less experimental with green initiatives forwarding to stores. BI and analytics play a commerce combines on-premise software with a premise software will continue to be critical for and look for opportunities with high probability key role in this process allowing the analysis of software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach to overall the next five years (maybe ten) and new of delivering ROI. multiple variables and suggesting the best Software plus Services (S+S) delivery for retailers. initiatives like the Dynamics Online Commerce So, how can retailers identify green course of action depending on vendor We could see SaaS was the beginnings of an Services API (DOCS-API) could keep Microsoft initiatives that will reduce cost, preserve the schedules, store orders and upcoming events inflection point, but in its pure form it was not relevant and centre stage with the environment, require minimal capital like promotions. ready (and still isn’t) for 100 per cent adaption. development community. expenditure and have high probability of Inventory management is perhaps the most We chose a hybrid SaaS approach, which DOCS-API simplifies the process of success, all at the same time? They must mine important step where BI can improve Microsoft was also advocating at the time, but integrating ERP and e-commerce by defining a operational data for insights on where such efficiency. Not having the right product in which many dismissed as marketing. In reality common data model, abstracting marketplace opportunities exist. Business intelligence (BI) store will lead to lost sales and unhappy hybrid SaaS (or S+S) is the logical architecture, functionality, and providing automatic will play a key role in providing these insights shoppers or excess inventory. Either is bad for as the mass of retailers cannot guarantee being synchronisation with ERP. This allows a retailer and helping identify unique opportunities to the environment. When consumers don’t find cloud-connected all the time. using any of Microsoft’s ERP solutions to improve competitiveness while fulfilling social what they are looking for, they make additional S+S is multi-facetted and includes the power expose a new marketplace to customers using responsibilities. trips, increasing the carbon footprint of their of choice – deploy applications on-premise or a NitroSell DOCS-API enabled integration To achieve their common goal of right shopping. Excess inventory leads to waste in the cloud. At NitroSell we’ve chosen to add toolkit. This can either be an existing product, right location, right time, (especially in the case of perishable products), multi-channel functionality that involves marketplace with products from many manufacturers and retailers need to affecting both the environment and margins. mirroring and synchronising on-premise SQL companies (such as eBay) or a new one understand consumer demand and preferences Most progressive retailers have implemented data with databases held on our e-commerce configured for the retailer’s own WebStore. in a given region. BI provides manufacturers perpetual inventory systems to keep track of clusters. This effectively Web-enables in-store As of June 2009 over one million products are with the capability to analyse vast amounts of what is on the shelf, and advanced data to benefit suppliers, employees, and most for sale online from more than 1,500 retail information gathered from shipment data, replenishment systems to forecast demand and importantly online customers. businesses via NitroSell’s S+S e-commerce retailers’ point of sale data and syndicated generate orders based on past trends and ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHORS Early commitment to S+S paid big dividends. platform for Dynamics and in the next 12 sources, to optimise operations. Using the right current factors. While these systems have NitroSell president Tom Keane (pictured here Noe Gutierrez is a principal with Infosys We were invited to sit on Steve Ballmer’s S+S months more than 300 million product pages quantity of raw materials, labour, equipment helped run a more efficient operation, they are with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer) is an Consulting. He has more than 11 years of Partner Advisory Council (S+SPAC) and this will be viewed from NitroSell-powered Web and energy will reduce waste and eliminate the not perfect. Business intelligence can help engineering graduate of University College experience in business intelligence and has led helped refine our own approach. Any successful stores. NitroSell literally has millions of reasons need to store items for long periods. Reducing retailers get smart by analysing issues in Cork and Trinity College Dublin and has over key transformation engagements in retail and S+S (or indeed pure SaaS) approaches to to thank Microsoft, and the vast majority are energy consumption means lower costs and forecasting, understanding their root causes 25 years experience in the software business. CPG companies. software provision must involve Web portals, related to S+S. If you’re not already reviewing smaller carbon footprint, and in turn, a portion and preventing future exceptions. Accurate Before co-founding NitroSell, Tom worked for billing systems and new approaches to the potential of S+S within your business, I of these cost savings will pass down the value inventory visibility in store is a key input for leading software companies, including Ashish Jaiswal is a senior engagement manager monetisation. NitroSell is particularly innovative encourage you to do so now. chain, increasing value to retailers and upstream operations such as manufacturing Motorola, Ericsson, Compaq, and Accenture. with Infosys’ retail and consumer goods in these areas and had a lot to contribute consumers. and distribution, to reduce waste, cost and practice. He has more than 14 years of during S+SPAC sessions. However the key Distribution centres receive goods in bulk carbon footprint. FURTHER INFO: experience in IT consulting and has managed a benefit Microsoft’s S+S framework delivers is from hundreds of manufacturers around the number of large client engagements. better software at a lower price – critically world. Warehouses break bulk and ship the FURTHER INFO: important in today’s economy. right consolidated quantities to stores. Certain Companies must understand and act on the best practices within the hub and spoke 38 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009 AUTU M N 2009 Retailspeak 39
  • 21. viewpoint viewpoint Making your loyalty Retailers embrace programme pay social media Loyalty programmes can deliver great benefits to retailers, but if ShiSh Shridhar looks at how making the online shopping badly managed they can be a waste of time and money. Moti Lichi experience more of a social activity may just increase customer explains how systems help companies avoid the pitfalls satisfaction and boost sales In today’s world, retailers seeking to potential conflicts between different offers and Shopping is undeniably a social from this approach since they are able to view benefit from loyalty programmes are promotions. The Retalix system uses a conflict activity. As more retailers realise the comments on products from friends whose faced with many challenges. These management mechanism to deal with this and need to embrace social media, they’re opinions they trust and also engage in real challenges mainly revolve around prevent ‘double dipping’ scenarios. also recognising that there are key time communication with them. They have a availability of technology (online), the depth of Our central system uses ‘entities’, which we loyalty differences between online and offline richer shopping experience as a result and functionality/flexibility and the analytic side of refer to as the loyalty language. Once they retail behaviour: in the online world, retailers retailers benefit from the fact that the the solution. speak this language, marketers can ‘spell’ have to deal with the fact that customers can customers never have to leave their site to When we refer to loyalty we think of much almost any campaign and set all its aspects as switch behaviours as soon as they see obtain feedback and opinions. more than the traditional points accumulation parameters in a Web-based application. One something better. To enable the above scenarios, retailers need schemes. In fact, loyalty is a tool to ensure click then gets the campaign to the selected Customers, especially those from Generation to look for social networking platforms that continued visits by consumers, enabling them stores and makes it operational. Y, who are more involved in social networking, can enable the following: to redeem small rewards at each visit or a Internet-savvy consumers expect to be able to tend to leave the retailer’s site to seek opinions • Provide a large user community more valuable reward at the end of a period – get access to all promotions and their own loyalty and recommendations from social networks and • Activity feeds. The social networking whichever the individual consumer prefers. product information online in pretty much real- communities. There are two approaches that platform should enable users to publish When a retailer decides to run a loyalty time. This means that any type of system node, retailers can take to be part of the conversations selective feeds of their activity on retailer’s programme there is always a risk that the whether point of sales terminal, kiosks, customer and enable their customers to engage in social sites to various social networking sites competition will act to cancel out the loyalty portal or fuel point should be connected to the shopping in a more seamless manner. • Single click sharing, which allows customers effect. Retalix Loyalty vehicle provides retailers central system. Once the consumer has been The first method involves syndicating to share news, offers or other content on with the tools, flexibility and ease to build their identified, all the information must be available product catalogues right to the place where retailer’s sites to the various social networking own ideas into programmes, and a simple way and updated, including all consumer accounts, the conversations and recommendations sites in a single click. This capability helps to make modifications during the drive. balances and e-vouchers, as well as targeted happen: blogs, social rating sites, social retailers in user acquisition and brand visibility This loyalty vehicle uses the Retalix messages, promotions and coupons. networking sites and other affiliates. There are • Easy integration. The social networking Promotion Engine. The Promotion Engine holds The Retalix Loyalty solution provides a full plenty of examples of this. I love what platform should enable the retailer to 20 years of experience built with the inputs loop system, a store level engine and a .NET companies like Best Buy, Tesco, Amazon and integrate social networking capabilities into from leading retailers around the world, With Framework-based application running on eBay have done by making their APIs available their site. this tight link between promotions and loyalty, Microsoft SQL Server. This enables the system for developers to integrate into their sites. This With this capability, users should be able to: retailers are able to target any type of to give a response to a loyalty identification method also involves building social • Log into the retail site with a social network ID promotion to any particular loyalty customer. query in the optimum time of one to two applications on platforms like Facebook and • Access and interact with their social network Offering a variety of reward types is vital if seconds. It is also designed to have no single enabling social shopping experiences. We are profile and friends list via the retailer’s site customer loyalty is to be effective. One of the point of failure, with its components making also seeing social networking sites open up to • Communicate with their friends on the system’s strengths is that types of rewards could use of clustering and network load balancing enable customers to take their social networks retailer’s site and share content from the site ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR include e-money, points, vouchers, discounts, to give a quality service 24/7. to shopping sites for a true social shopping via instant messaging tools Moti Lichi is vice president for retail products ShiSh Shridhar is a retail industry market with software provider Retalix. He joined the new prices, or free items. Combinations of these As to the analysis side, the Retalix Analytics development manager at Microsoft’s Redmond experience, bringing us to the second method: • Selectively publish feeds of their activity on types of rewards and the ability to offer a tool enables retailers to adopt and monitor a enabling social interactions on the retailers site. the retailer’s site to social networking sites company in 1994, and was responsible for HQ. He works with retailers to help drive developing the Retalix Fuel system for the different treatment to the different customer consumer-based strategy, shifting from tradition- customer value through industry solutions On the retailer’s site, customers should be • Share wish lists and shopping lists with tiers is also possible. Retalix Loyalty provides al marketing methodologies to an individualised able to view their friends’ comments and people in their network. convenience store and grocery market sectors. around business productivity and optimisation. comprehensive capabilities to issue, redeem, and approach. Any effective programme must target ratings. If the customer is considering a specific Retalix Fuel has since become one of the In his role he also advises retailers on social burn coupons, unique ID coupons and vouchers. the moving members, as well as benefit the product and wants to solicit feedback from Ultimately customers trust opinions of their company’s strategic product lines. media strategy and is an active blogger. You can Another key aspect of Retalix Loyalty is the higher tier to encourage their loyalty to the their friends they should be able to push the friends and peers and their ability to seek read more about his thoughts on social media in ‘deal over time’ or continuity promotion. This brand. In this way, the retailer’s investment is information out via feeds to one or more social opinions easily can mean significant ROI for the retail at means allowing the accumulation of the more focused and can be measured. networks and get feedback in real time. In retailer. triggering items or spends over a period of time addition, integration of instant messaging tools rather than in a single ticket, for example ‘Buy FURTHER INFO within the retailer’s site can enable the FURTHER INFO four pizzas in August, get a free one in customer to engage in real time conversations September’. It’s also vital to be able to handle with any of their friends. Customers benefit 40 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009 AUTU M N 2009 Retailspeak 41
  • 22. technology in action IN BRIEF Company American Apparel Challenge GETTING STOCK Manually intensive, time-consuming in- store replenishment led to loss of sales, revenue and profits, so an automated, UNDER CONTROL centrally controlled system was needed Solution An RFID-based Clarity Advanced Retail System inventory management and replenishment system with automated work queues and notifications American Apparel found a Microsoft-based RFID solution the right answer to its replenishment problems Benefits • Projected payback of 4.5 months • Increased same store sales • Improved inventory accuracy Country Global When retailers face a declining general to trigger the transfer of inventory. But room employees pick the item, and read economy and downward pressure on this system required store personnel to its RFID tag. Once a sufficient number of consumer spending, they must squeeze as perform twice-weekly physical counts to items have been staged, they are moved much efficiency as possible out of their confirm inventories, typically requiring to the sales floor where another reader vital supply chains. For one clothing seller, 240 man hours a month. The system was gathers the data needed to confirm that that meant more efficient methods to prone to errors and miscounts. movement. The system then updates the replenish merchandise on store shelves. American Apparel needed a better way. inventory counts. American Apparel tested and deployed an The company wanted a replenishment This RFID-based approach has given item level RFID-based system from system that would streamline the process American Apparel a more efficient and Xterprise that allows managers to track of moving merchandise and reduce the cost-effective way to replenish store movement of items from receiving, to time and cost of these functions. It picked shelves. The company measured a sales- backroom put away, through restock a solution based on RFID technology from per-store increased of 14 per cent, thanks staging and sales floor cycle counts and on Xterprise. mainly to a reduction in out-of-stocks and to point-of-sale execution. The company began with a pilot the increased availability of store Headquartered in Los Angeles, American programme testing UHF Gen 2 RFID personnel to assist consumers. Apparel manufactures, distributes and sells technology in a single New York outlet. Each store saved over 188 hours a basic fashion clothing. The company sells T- The test involved the manual tagging of month in labour, and an estimated shirts and other casual wear at 260 retail all inventory, and the use of fixed RFID US$27,072 per month, due primarily to outlets in the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe readers. reduced cycle counting and store room and Asia, and markets clothing wholesale Xterprise’s Clarity Advanced Retail searches. A statistical evaluation and through online sales. It produces 1.5 Solution gives retailers an up-to-the- revealed an average payback of about million pieces a week, and generated minute perspective on the flow of 4.5 months per store for this RFID US$545 million in revenue in 2008. merchandise. That information enables inventory system investment. Based on American Apparel uses a business model retail managers to make smarter and the success of the initial pilot that minimises the use of subcontractors more effective decisions. The solution programme, American Apparel plans to and offshore labour. Under its inventory deployed for American Apparel uses roll the Xterprise Clarity ARS solution out model, each company store stocks an Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2 and its to all of its 260 stores. average of 12,000 SKUs, but keeps just a BizTalk RFID capabilities, providing single copy of each item on the sales floor, enterprise-class scalability at a low total FURTHER INFO replenishing products from backroom cost of ownership. stock. Using RFID-based technology, American The company had previously used a Apparel now receives an alert from the barcode scanning system at point of sale POS that an item has been sold. Store AUTU M N 2009 Retailspeak 43
  • 23. technology in action technology in action IN BRIEF IN BRIEF Company Dingbro Challenge SCOTTISH PARTS Company Baltika Group Challenge ALL FOR ONE AND Reconfigure IT environment to support new software systems and enable growth DEALER JACKS UP Retailer operating in rapidly growing new markets needed a business system to centralise its IT, while giving ONE FOR ALL Solution Hardware solution based on Fujitsu’s x10sure PERFORMANCE flexibility to local operations Solution Enterprise resource planning designed specifically for the retail sector by LS Benefits Retail, based on Microsoft Dynamics • Dynamic IT environment Dingbro’s new IT environment needed a hardware solution NAV, implemented by New Vision Eastern European retailer Baltika Group needed an ERP • Comprehensive protection of that could support the deployment of advanced software system to help centralise its operations across many operations Benefits • Economical high availability functionality, so it turned to Fujitsu • Centralisation of admin functions countries. LS Retail, Microsoft Dynamics and New Vision • Modernised application environment • Reduced costs • Significant cost savings • Improved revenue provided the answer • Better decision-making Country UK Country Estonia In Scotland, people turn to Dingbro for At first Dingbro’s IT decision-makers were enormous benefit in terms of cost and The Baltika Group is a rapidly growing terminals, store systems, and all the local operations to head office, allowing it parts for everything from cars and trucks thinking in terms of a cluster, but they work.” IT manager Duncan identified ease fashion retailer in the Baltic States, Central functions expected to find at head office. to save money on store personnel, as well to cranes, dredgers, oil tankers and luxury rejected this approach with rack servers, a of administration as a further strength of and Eastern Europe. The group operates LS Retail NAV is built on the Microsoft as improve customer service, since the task liners. One reason why is that customer hypervisor and mirrored storage for reasons the high-performance enterprise solution over 120 stores in Estonia, Latvia, Dynamics NAV platform, therefore the POS, of store workers is to serve the customers, service is a top priority for Dingbro. Of to do with cost and complexity. Fujitsu from Fujitsu: “x10sure is very simple to Lithuania, Russia, the Czech Republic, back office and head office all use the same not to manage the business. course, it also takes top IT performance to drew the attention of Dingbro’s IT administer and can be economically Ukraine and Poland and owns four brands: application. This makes it possible to track The solution is helping Baltika manage achieve that kind of service quality on an management to the x10sure-concept with scaled.” The joint proof of concept turned Monton, Mosaic, Baltman and Ivo Nikkolo. individual transactions from POS to the additional sales revenues. Functions such everyday basis, and that was the challenge PRIMERGY Blade servers, which guarantees out to be a worthwhile exercise in the As it develops in these relatively new general ledger, which maximises the as daily planning and reporting of sales Dingbro faced. high availability in much the same way as a context of the process that led to the markets Baltika has faced the problem of business value. Because of the integration revenues, along with customer activity The main problem for Dingbro’s IT spare tyre keeps a car going. decision in favour of x10sure. This gave the a lack of centralisation. There were between LS Retail and Microsoft Dynamics reports, reveal unused opportunities and management was the company’s Cobol- The third-generation x10sure solution customer an opportunity to become different partners, different systems and NAV, Baltika employees need only to this enables managers to take actions that based application. This application had lowers the barriers holding small and familiar with the high-availability solution standards in different countries. So the become familiar with one interface and the lead to increased revenues. Because of the become a bottleneck that made it medium-sized businesses back from and the blade servers, check out the company needed a simple and flexible same logic applies to usage at all levels. concentration of information, the impossible for the IT system in place to exploiting the massive price-performance performance of the Autopart software and international system with full integration By implementing this solution, Baltika company has the opportunity to improve evolve with business requirements. The benefits of server virtualisation – without examine various solution scenarios. with the stack of other Microsoft acquired a tool enabling it to organise and both the speed and quality of its system was supporting more than 350 risking the domino effect of multiple “Our redesigned IT environment with technologies it already used. Also, a high manage its activity using a single system management decision-making. users, and it had become clear that the virtual machine crashes due to the failure x10sure from Fujitsu cost only a little more priority was given to finding a reliable in all the countries in which it operates. software was simply not designed for this of a single physical host. than the originally planned connection to partner who could take all the The solution has become the main tool FURTHER INFO: order of magnitude. As a result, Dingbro’s A joint proof of concept carried out in our storage infrastructure. It gave us responsibility for the system design, used by staff to manage daily jobs. IT management decided to reconfigure the Paderborn, which included MAM software significant improvement in performance implementation and service. A single system helps user companies company’s IT environment. with its Autopart application, confirmed without any negative impact on our Baltika needed to find one system and reduce costs. Baltika’s new comprehensive When the search for a new software the added value of the x10sure solution, existing system,” says Duncan. one partner to solve all these problems. It retail chain management system has en- solution was launched, good compatibility and that’s when Dingbro decided to go chose LS Retail and Microsoft Dynamics abled it to move many functions away from with the modern Microsoft SQL Server ahead with the project. Dingbro’s new IT FURTHER INFO NAV as the technology solution and New database platform was one important environment is split and housed in two Vision as an IT partner to implement the criterion. MAM Software’s Autopart turned separate buildings. This eliminates the integration project. out to be the solution that best met possibility of a single point of failure. This integrated solution delivers the Dingbro’s needs and expectations. The For Jim Duncan, one of the Dingbro IT breadth and depth of functionality next step was to optimise the company’s managers involved in the x10sure project, demanded by the busiest retailer without hardware resources. The company had this is the most important benefit of the the need to build, manage and maintain already had good experience with Fujitsu new solution: “The fact that our multiple applications and interfaces. and in particular PRIMEPOWER productive server is automatically backed Unusually, it uses only a single application components. up by another server represents an to cover everything from the POS 44 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009 AUTU M N 2009 Retailspeak 45
  • 24. technology in action technology in action IN BRIEF IN BRIEF Company Spar Kjøp Challenge ONLINE Company Wind Telecomunicazioni Challenge WIND SETS SAIL FOR Existing business systems were spread across several databases, resulting in poor customer service and high costs COMMUNICATION Increase process effectiveness to maintain competitive GROWTH WITH LS Solution Microsoft Dynamics AX, implemented by Columbus IT DRIVES SUCCESS Solution LS Retail ERP solution, based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV RETAIL Benefits Benefits • Centralisation of sales process • Single version of the truth Norwegian mail order specialist Spar Kjøp was struggling to • Elimination of low value activities Italian telephony provider Wind has implemented a • Better communication with supplier deliver an adequate standard of customer service because in stores Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution to improve the via Microsoft BizTalk • Real-time sales and stock information • Fewer errors of a lack of integration between its business systems. A • Faster end of day activities management of its retail network • Less time spent on admin processes • Integration of e-commerce with core switch to Microsoft Dynamics AX saved the day Region business systems Italy Country Norway When a customer orders from Spar Kjøp, from the mail order division. This meant a Spar Kjøp is betting on growth in the Wind Telecomunicazioni is the third largest configured such as item management, price store and produce detailed, up-to-date Norway’s largest mail order firm, a lot of double registration of data. Now all Internet market, and sees opportunities to mobile phone operator in Italy with almost management, barcodes and serial numbers, reports at any time. The real-time data Microsoft Dynamics AX system from information is gathered in one place and increase sales through a combination of 16 million clients and the largest alternative automated stock management, availability and central reporting allows Columbus IT ensures that the right every link in our chain has full overview as catalogues and e-business. It is the operator in landlines. An increase in sales in management of returned items, customer management to maintain constant product is picked from inventory, packed to what is in stock and where – both at catalogues that trigger most purchases, its retail store network called for updated registration, end-of-day activities and performance control. Marketing now has a and sent. The customer gets better service headquarters and out in all the stores,” but more people are using the Internet as management systems and improved reporting. New functional modules for much better chance to respond quickly to and Spar Kjøp cuts costs while increasing says Olsen. “Our new system also allows us their order medium because it is simpler business intelligence in the central site. various local or central sales initiatives, such trends and changes. revenue. to communicate with our suppliers and and easier. Wind’s previous software had limited as discounts or offers were also defined. The Wind NAV project will continue to Spar Kjøp is a well-established player in partners via Microsoft BizTalk. The result “The customer gets to check out the functionality with no guarantee of Adopting NAV has helped Wind redesign expand to the network of over 200 the Nordic mail order market with a yearly is more cost-effective daily operations.” products in the catalogue in peace and scalability and integration, so it hired IT sales processes. The processes involved in franchise stores, while reporting tools will turnover of NOK 682 million (€76 million). Spar Kjøp has a warehouse that is quiet, then order them on the Web at their consulting company Value Team to incoming orders allow for real-time be developed further and integrated with It sells clothing and textiles for wholesale divided into an automatic crane-handling own tempo. With our new management redesign the process and implement a new account and stock management, giving the company’s business intelligence system. or private use, gift items and games, inventory, carton inventory and picking system from Columbus, each customer can retail solution. Value Team also involved complete control over the products “In a short period we have gained through both mail order and retail stores inventory. When a customer places an always get updated information on Microsoft partner Observing to implement available in each store. Simple updating of complete overview of the performance of in Norway. order, AX checks to see if the goods are in whether our products are in stock,” says LS Retail, developed on the Microsoft prices allows for more dynamic offer the privately owned network. Now both “We have 14 stores, 550 employees and stock. Based on that information, there is marketing director Tom Eide Knudsen. Dynamics NAV platform. management. More detailed information in our sales director and store managers have different types of inventory. 40 per cent of an automatic notice to the warehouse AX at Spar Kjøp drives the entire value Dr Andrea Vernucci, the project leader store gives customers a positive impression. personalised reporting and forecasting our turnover comes from mail order,” module that plans movement of goods, chain, bringing cost optimisation and says: “Efficiency in stores is fundamental “Being able to solve the problems we had tools, updated in real time,” says Vernucci. explains Terje Nymark Olsen, Spar Kjøp’s controls the crane inventory and gives the providing a strong central management for our business. We needed a system that with visibility and the computerisation of “These tools are being developed, using IT manager. results to truck drivers. The picking tool that can localise any bottlenecks. was easy to distribute, scalable, could be our flows was fundamental to maintaining the potential of Dynamics NAV. The Spar Kjøp previously used a combination department gets the right goods, the “There were many deep evaluations integrated with the existing ERP competitiveness,” emphasises Vernucci. “An increased efficiency will give us enormous of a Movex financial system from Intentia, expediters get their packing lists and the behind our decision on this new system,” environment and offered a secure, two- obvious example is the reduction by half of potential, with the possibility to extend a store system called Solution 1, and its rest of the pallet goes to the carton says Knudsen. “Ultimately, the new way data transport from headquarters to time spent on end-of-day activities and the solution to our franchised network.” own-developed application for mail order inventory. When the packing is done, the integrated system provides us with retail points. We chose a standard product account management of our partner and logistics – each with separate new ERP system receives notice that competitive advantages in the that was easy to configure, and offered a Mondo Wind, which manages private retail FURTHER INFO databases. With Dynamics AX, all updates the customer order and produces marketplace.” complete real-time overview.” locations. Cashier closing-time in stores is information now resides in one integrated all the necessary documents, also an EDI Within five months, the new system was now only 15 minutes, yet gives a great database, where it can be accessed online formatted notice for the mail. FURTHER INFO launched in stores. “We are integrating overview of the working day statistics. And by the warehouse, the stores and the “The communication between AX and new retail locations and implementing the ability to open a new retail point in less customers. the warehouse was an important reason new functions,” says Massimiliano Cantoni, than three days is a huge strategic benefit.” “Previously, reports came from different for choosing it as our new ERP system. It is Observing’s project manager. The advantages of the new software departments and the information that was critical we pick and send the right goods,” On the basis of standard Microsoft stretch from stores to head office. It can available in the stores was not accessible says Olsen. Dynamics NAV, diverse functions were trace all records automatically for every 46 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009 AUTU M N 2009 Retailspeak 47
  • 25. interview ARTS: THE PROCESS, CHALLENGES AND REWARDS ProfitBase president Larry LeBlanc interviews Richard Mader, executive director of ARTS and Edvard Gundersen, chair of the ARTS data warehouse standard committee Creating a new global standard is a major Richard, can you explain in more detail Epson, IBM and Microsoft. The policy ensures challenge and the Association for Retail the start-up process for a work group? vendor IP is not embedded in an ARTS Technology Standards has been doing it RM: Once approved by the board, the project standard, protecting implementers from for the past 16 years. ARTS, a division of is announced to the membership and posted future license fees. Since all teams require at the US National Retail Federation, is a on our LinkedIn site to solicit volunteers. Once least three companies, team members international organisation of retailer and three or more companies agree to participate monitor themselves to be sure the standard vendors whose mission is to enable the – one must be a retailer – a work team is is vendor neutral. low cost, rapid deployment of technology formed. The team then has 90 days to in retail by reducing integration efforts develop a charter and scoping document What is the most challenging part of the through standards. describing the process. The charter is process? reviewed and approved by the appropiate RM: Managing to a schedule with volunteer How do you identify a good candidate for technical committee. Then the work group resources is very challanging. The people a standards effort? has regular meetings to develop the technical who do the bulk of the work also have full RM: When multiple people or companies specification for the standard. The process time day jobs and as we all know businesses find they are doing the same thing in from the start to the first work group meeting today have lean staffing and priorities different ways. Our job is to keep an open can take three to six months, and developing change often. This forces us to develop in ear and listen and when we hear of a the standard can take up to two years. phases. For example, phase one of the data problem we investigate deeper. We attend warehouse standard was limited to sales. many user group meetings with vendors and Who does the bulk of the work? Subsequent phases will address other areas. retailers and it becomes pretty obvious RM: We depend heavily on vendor where we can apply our efforts. companies. Even in very hot projects like What is the most rewarding part of development of the Warehouse Data Model, bringing a standard to release? I’m sure there are many candidates every vendors provide the majority of resource. EG: It is very satisfying to see the quality and year, but what are the key criteria you use Retailer volunteers are used to stipulate relevancy of the standard to each retailer. to decide when to go forward with a new requirements and review work product drafts Their feedback that it is helping them to save standard? for accuracy and completeness. time and money makes the hard work RM: We look for ongoing needs that will be worthwhile. faced by multiple companies that can be Edvard, I’d like to switch focus and talk solved by implementable code and/or about what was the motivation behind RM: All the long, hard work turns quickly to procedures that can be defined in standards. the data warehouse standard? joy when companies send you For example, integrating the data from EG: Business intelligence has become a acknowledgements of the benefits of the multiple sources to implement a workforce major focus for retailers, so we wanted to standards. When El Corte Ingles says to management system, or building a data expand the knowledge base to help retailers internationalise POS using ARTS and Urban warehouse to calculate KPIs for retailers. The reduce the time, cost and risk. Outfitters uses the ARTS Item schema to board analyses these needs and determines if Standardisation on measures and key integrate applications, it’s a great feeling. the investment in creating a standard will performance indicators will open the Wow – imagine how many hours have been produce savings that exceed development possibility to pre-configured software saved and customers provided better cost and have a reasonable life expectancy. solutions that are designed to be very easy services because of ARTS. to install and use ARTS standards. How does an idea become an approved A longer version of this article is available at standards work group? How long did it take to release the first RM: Once an idea is approved by the board version of the data warehouse standard? or technical committe, a work group is EG: Approximately two years. It takes Richard Mader is executive director of ARTS. He has normally formed at the following quarterly thousands of hours of work to produce a over 30 years’ experience in retail information meeting. Other ideas can take six months standard. management with various retailers and was the depending on how quickly we can research founding chairman of ARTS while CIO of Boscov’s. the need and obtain participants. Tough How do you assure the market that these Edvard Gundersen is a senior retail consultant with economic times limits the amount of standards are vendor neutral? ProfitBase, a retail business intelligence vendor. He volunteer resources. Sometimes we must RM: The first assurance is the ARTS is currently chair of the ARTS data warehouse complete a project before we have resources intellectual property (IP) policy developed standards committee. Larry LeBlanc is ProfitBase’s to launch another. over four years by attorneys from ARTS, president. 48 Retailspeak AUTU M N 2009