Retailers make a bold move when they implement OMS: They are inserting a 24/7 value proposition into dozens of systems designed for once-a-day updating. (See our blog OMS the New Retail Systems Epicenter).
But if you are like most retailers, it turns out that fully integrating OMS with your time-honored processes is extremely challenging. This reality has kept us very busy addressing our clients’ integration issues as they learn to live on the edge of OMS. Our clients know that, while living on the edge can be exhilarating, falling over the edge can cause serious injury.
As with most major software initiatives, OMS brings both good and bad news. The good news is that your stores now have digital age relevance, and you can leverage inventories as never before.
The bad news is that to be successful—even competitive—in this world, your customer interface must deliver the truth at every possible customer interaction or touchpoint. For that, your batch systems must provide access to the customer, prior transactions, the current condition of your inventory, price and promotional, and shipping and handling status. That’s extremely difficult using traditional integration methods.
The old ways of measuring stock levels fail quickly when your stores fulfill online orders. Now you must track items you set aside, pickups, deliveries, cancellations, and returns. Each of these interactions demand real-time access to your key tables such as product, price, promotion, transaction, inventory, and customer. OMS puts your inventories in play 24/7.
Before OMS hit its stride, retailers almost never gave integration the attention it deserved. Too often, we’ve been involved in OMS initiatives that were short-sighted and took too many shortcuts . The consequences are immense. When ecommerce scales, you find yourself encumbered with extraordinary efforts to satisfy angry customers and keep operational costs in check.
Worse, digital commerce is not standing still. Progressive retailers are aggressively adding customer engagement use cases and extending their OMS across multiple channels from Social, Market Places and Mobile to Kiosk and Call center. If your OMS is not fully integrated, expansion magnifies the underlying difficulties. Living on the Edge can be extremely demanding.
At RIBA, many of our clients are rethinking their whole approach to OMS integration projects. They are leveraging their batch systems to support near real-time dialog with their key tables. They are proactively flagging corrupted data flows, process breakdowns, or out-of-sync files.
And once our clients’ batch systems start living in OMS harmony, not on the edge, we’ll help our clients pass to their Analytics backend every useful tidbit of data about the customer path to purchase. This will give them the necessary insight and knowledge to effectively compete.
Living on the Edge is not where they want to be. They are finally giving data integration the attention it deserves.