A few days ago I received an invitation to attend Infor’s Retail event for industry research analysts and media in NYC. Of course, hearing from none other than Whole Foods, an Infor Optiva user, was a personal draw for me at this event.
I must say I was both pleasantly surprised and curious about Infor’s rejuvenated strategy in retail. If true, this company’s vision and journey in retail could be termed as “disruptive”, especially because one doesn’t hear a lot of transformative software big ideas and follow-through action from ERP companies every day. However, I am now waiting for the real story from many more Infor customers. If what we heard comes to fruition, Infor retail users will experience several enhancements to Infor solutions that are deployed at retail home offices, stores and distribution centers in the foreseeable future.
Briefly, here are my top two takeaways from the event and I will follow-up with some more updates during or just after NRF 2016:
- The digital and user-centered design strategy of Infor is driving a sizeable UI/UX upgrade for some very traditional and legacy retail solutions such as merchandise planning, PLM, CRM, financials and others. For example, within merchandise planning, changing up the complicated multi-attribute based planning tools is not easy. However, Infor demonstrated some interesting elements including functional diversification to the planning templates, look and feel changes, and user-level task integration tools as well as reminders/alerts for pending tasks. All these changes are geared towards one goal- simplification.
- Uber cloud enablement across all retail and other applications is a refreshing and welcome piece of news and one that is expected now from all enterprise and best-of-breed retail software companies as it promotes increased scalability and time to market. However, what clinched it for me was the revelation that there is increased use of actual end-user research from stores and other retail departments in forthcoming Infor Retail releases. According to Infor, in-depth end-user research is being combined with Infor’s own development, design and data science IP to build deeper use cases that can improve actionable analytics, usability and presentation layers for all solutions.
One last word on this meeting….Change management and training is the single biggest challenge for any company when they undertake or support a retail business process or software transformation. I voiced this word of caution a few times during the course of the meeting. And the EVP & CIO from Whole Foods Jason Buechel, who spoke ever so eloquently about his company’s transformative product and customer journey agreed with me wholeheartedly.
To discuss retail industry research, trends, business problems and solutions email me: [email protected] or inbox me on Twitter @sahiranand