By Matt Rhodus, Director and Industry Principal of Retail, NetSuite
With the proliferation of new channels and new technology, retail has evolved tremendously over the past decade and this tempo isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Much of the focus for retailers has been trying to avoid a sinking ship, where IT departments have been frantically patching together multiple systems within the business in an effort to survive. Unfortunately, this approach only provides temporary relief as retailers continue to struggle to succeed at servicing their customers across the multiple touchpoints of their business. To safeguard the future of business, retailers must shift the focus to implementing a unified platform.
Making the move towards unified commerce begins first by remediating the back-end of the business with an intelligent ERP system. Every task that gets executed should funnel data from one central repository; this data includes your customer records, inventory, financials and orders to enable accurate delivery of information across every component. When the back-office is coherent, all connecting channels of business will follow suit.
Implementing an ERP sounds simple enough but the back office is a space most retailers are afraid to address because in the past this meant funding a multi-year project resulting in substantial use of resources. With the power of the cloud, this is no longer the case. Retailers can clean up their back-office in months rather than years. Cloud technology is the key to success for retailers because cloud-based solutions offer flexibility, scalability, accessibility and overall cost-effectiveness and that is something on-premise solutions just can’t compete with.