Delivering the Holy Grail in the land of hype?
The Americans have a reputation for selling well and have managed to become world renowned for their ability to convince us of the worth of their products and services – with hype playing its part in this.
There are few areas where things are as over-sold and over-hyped as technology – especially in Silicon Valley. Retailers know all too well that they are perennially being sold next year’s new thing even before they have consumed and implemented last year’s new (now old) thing.
This scenario has been particularly visible in the world of multi-channel and omni-channel (or whatever else you want to call it) solutions. What retailers have been desperate for is a single view of their customers and their inventory across their growing number of channels – aka the Holy Grail.
There are myriad solutions out there that have promised to provide exactly that but it has been highly questionable how well they have ultimately delivered. The integration headaches have been serious for retailers and the reality is that there might not actually be any merchant that truly has the single view capabilities.
Core ERP systems and e-commerce platforms have been part of the problem because they all too frequently suffer from being separate beasts (despite what the IT vendors will argue) that have been cobbled together. They don’t exactly deliver the Holy Grail.
Visiting SuiteWorld 2015 (hosted by NetSuite) in San Jose the message from this cloud provider was that its newly launched upgraded Point-of-Sale solution connects the web with the store and in so doing is the last link in the firm delivering something akin to the Holy Grail.
The reason for its confidence is that its e-commerce solution links very closely to its underlying ERP platform to the point that the company suggests they are one and the same thing. And the reason this has been possible is because NetSuite was founded in 1997 so e-commerce has always been in the mix and was not simply added on in its own silo.
Yet again the advantage of youth, and having only a limited legacy to contend with, is playing a vital role.
If NetSuite really has a seamless capability for retailers across channels as it describes then it appears to have some differentiation. Leisure clothing retailer Billabong – known for its surfer wear – seems pretty convinced of the benefits and its capability to deliver the single view scenario. Having brushed aside the likes of Demandware and Hybris it is now implementing NetSuite and its CTO reckons the company genuinely delivers what others have merely promised.
Provided they have not been over-selling this one of course.