Author: Predrag Jakovljevic
Multichannel retailers must be able to flawlessly execute a full range of services to engage, transact, and fulfill on Web placed orders. Hence, most successful multichannel retailers of today had to either build a complete set of the services in-house or outsource some or all of them.
Because cash-strapped medium companies are looking for better options to traditional application pricing models, SAP and HP have allied to deliver "software as a service" and Oracle/PeopleSoft are also offering hosted solutions, suggesting that "software as a service" are here to stay.
Despite challenges, both SAP and Oracle will be formidable forces in the hosting space, because of their intimate application knowledge, their infrastructure, organizational stability, and vast capital. However, SMEs should approach this decision with due diligence.
Today's competitive retail landscape has lead to mega-mergers between some of the oldest retailers in the US: Kmart and Sears. Before the technical issues of merging disparate supply chain systems can be addressed, these giants first had had to get their business "housekeeping" in order.
In theory, the Kmart-Sears merger could produce a new layer of competition to mega-retailers such as Wal-Mart. However, it needs more than just size to be competitive. It needs to coordinate its retail strategy with supply chain technology to make it triumph.
Astute IT strategies should help any company develop a strong competitive advantage whether it be improved time-to-market, better insights about customers behavior and preferences, or to devise a more efficient supply chain. This should be embraced by Sears Holding and Federation/May.
A recent survey of chief executive officers has found that growth is again the number one priority, overtaking cost-cutting as their previous top concern. Can enterprise application providers to take advantage of this new focus?
Given the current saturation of the application market, and trends in acquisitions major vendors will be searching for a viable competitive advantage. There will likely be few, very large vendors with products for a very large percentage of business, and many smaller vendors, with products tightly focused on specific vertical markets.
Some will say that the Big Few are in for quite a gamble, given that these market leaders are to introduce a product or concept that directly challenges the model that has led to their success so far.
Leading enterprise applications vendors believe it is crucial to quickly complete the transition to a service oriented architecture (SOA) from monolithic client/server architectures. For the "Big Few" the "stack" race, including applications, databases, application server and middleware, has intensified.