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The retail industry loves to talk about Omni-Channel, but does nothing to address it.  That is about to change and the delay in addressing it is caused by confusion over the best strategy, perceived time, effort and costs. 

Maybe you should address a strategy soon?  No?  before your competitors do. 

There are three primary deployment strategies:

  • On-premise. management and maintenance of the infrastructure and application is down to  you.  eg. MS Dynamics
  • Private-cloud. you only maintain the application and not the infrastructure.  eg. Acumatica
  • Public-cloud. you subscribe to the application and the maintenance and infrastructure is performed by the service provider.  eg. NetSuite

There are three application strategies:

  • Best-of-breed.  separate solutions are deployed into functional area silo's that are not connected.
  • Suite.  where you run your entire business on one system. eg. NetSuite
  • Loosely-coupled.  where consumer-centric edge applications share common data (or a ERP back-end).

So what is the best approach?

The best solution depends on your pain points, long-term goals, agility, circumstance and budget. However we can say this:

  • On-premise and the private-cloud is costly, distracting and inflexible.  This effects your profits and revenue opportunities. 
  • Public-cloud is modern, cheaper and more flexible.  
  • Best-of-breed is fun at first; until you end up with a confusing and costly mess.
  • Suite's are great.   But the user experience for certain functions is sub-par.  Especially in retail.
  • Loosely-coupled combines common backends for order processing and supply chain management with consumer-centric "edge"solutions for the user experience.  The best of all worlds.

Here is why loosely-coupled should NOT be overlooked for Retail?

  • Mobile and consumer-centric "edge" solutions are already familiar to your employees.
  • Productivity is increased since the user experience is remarkable and tailored to the job function; not the software that drives it.
  • ERP access, training and module costs are significantly reduced; edge systems are cheaper.
  • Cloud-to-cloud API's have got a whole lot better.