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BUSINESS PROCESS AUTOMATION IN RETAIL
The retail industry is facing sweeping and unprecedented change. Customers’ expectations grow higher, economic pressures require them to do more with less, and each day new competitors appear. Responding to that rapid pace of change, retailers tell us, is both their biggest challenge and their biggest opportunity. Retailers who can adapt to change can make intelligent, fast decisions; find new markets to exploit; and constantly improve their products, services, and operations. But retailers don’t have a switch to flip that turns them into supersmart, super-adaptable businesses. Hoping to find that switch, they often turn to technology, looking for some magic to help them navigate a changing business environment. However, technology by itself is not the solution. Any discussion about generating a positive impact for the business should first center on how to empower people with effective solutions that deliver results. A “connected retailer” not only leverages a flexible, economical technology platform that drives results, but also focuses primarily on its greatest asset: people empowered by the right solutions to act on the right information at the right time. To enable your organization’s people assets to extend their potential through the use of software, Microsoft delivers agile and adaptive solutions for business process automation (BPA). BPA solutions provide the tools, technologies, and infrastructure to automate complex business processes end to end in order to help increase competitive advantage and deliver tremendous value and visibility to your business, customers, and trading partners. This enables you to: • Increase personal and organizational productivity. By automating business policies and best practices, removing manual tasks, and eliminating error-prone reentry of information, BPA boosts individual and team efficiency, which enables retail organizations to deliver results faster and with greater predictability. • Make better decisions. By providing real-time insight into key business metrics and providing proactive alerts and notifications, BPA gives broader insight into essential business processes that are critical to your business (across both the store and headquarters) and provides real-time analytics that enable you to make better decisions faster. • Enhance operational excellence. Ensuring a continuous, high-quality customer experience requires support for missioncritical business processes with the utmost levels of reliability. BPA provides a rock-solid foundation that delivers the security, performance, scalability, and reliability demanded by the distributed, mission-critical systems of modern retail enterprises. Three key areas of retail business process innovation that can be transformed through business process automation are the “point of service,” “supply chain management,” and “multichannel integration” priority solution scenarios. These scenarios, or strategic areas of focus, are examined in more detail on the following pages.

For more information, please visit www.microsoft.com/biztalk

00 .00 $85 0. retailers with a closely connected supply chain (such as Wal-Mart) have a strategic competitive advantage against those that don’t. and increases revenue by ensuring more dependable inventory stocking. The solution reduces manual processing and errors. Benefits “BizTalk Server is definitely a technology that will provide a lot of value as we integrate more functionality into the system. Manager. and didn’t offer the flexibility necessary for creating a much-needed automated supply chain process. integration with legacy environments. lowers holding costs by speeding inventory movement and reducing standing inventory. The company was missing business opportunities because these applications were outdated. full integration for multiple channels.com/biztalk . expensive to support.microsoft. London Drugs implemented a new business process automation infrastructure based on best-of-breed enterprise resource planning and supply chain applications and real-time integration. and merchandising—on legacy applications that were running on an AS/400 computer. please visit www. demand-driven replenishment.0 0 BUSINESS RULE ENGINE ORCHESTRATION ENGINE E NETWOR CU R K SE BUSINESS RULES META DATA POS POS POS B2B KIOSK STORE DATA BUS ADAPTER ADAPTER ADAPTER INTERNET RFID READERS SMART CART AS/400 PDA SAP DATA WAREHOUSE XML AS2 MULTICHANNEL FRAMEWORK STORE STORE STORE E-COMMERCE SITE CALL CENTER CATALOG SUPPLIERS DISTRIBUTORS For more information. Supply chain management solutions from Microsoft deliver an integrated approach to merchandise management that allows retailers to deploy state-of-the-art technologies at a low total cost of ownership (TCO) to meet the increasingly demanding business needs of merchandise management and demand planning (using standards like UCCnet Global Data Synchronization and EDI/AS2). RE TA ILE R STORE MANAGER WORKBENCH RETAILER PORTAL/DASHBOARD BAM REPORTING SERVICES $85 850 0.” —Ole Andersen. general ledger. Increasingly. London Drugs Effective. inventory.SCENARIO: SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT Overview The majority of retail systems (67 percent) are home-grown legacy systems that are not equipped to enable efficient collaboration with business partners. Strategic Innovation. a leading Canadian retail chain serving customers across Alberta and British Columbia. agility to implement and integrate emerging technologies like RFID and GDS/UCCnet Case Study London Drugs.0 0 $85 0 . had historically performed virtually all of its mission-critical processes—human resources. London Drugs has now linked its enterprise systems with automated supply chain handling and automatic replenishment and order generation.

like self-checkout. due to razor-thin margins. the Microsoft solutions enable retailers to attract and retain customers and meet customers’ expectations whenever. Point-of-service solutions from Microsoft enable the next generation of in-store retail innovation by enabling retailers to take advantage of new technologies that provide better customer connection through a point-of-service offering. such as POS. their current retail channel silos and fragmented customer interactions result in a high cost of sales and service. . The company had the challenge of linking its disparate operations (store. By providing a unification of the customer experience across channels. enhanced customer interactions. selling almost 445 million books per year. lower fulfillment costs. reduced cycle time between order and delivery. wherever. all at a lower TCO. This new solution enables reporting that provides real-time data monitoring. However. but that effort was hampered by long lag times in data reporting that made it hard to identify suspicious activity. greater efficiency. presentation of an undifferentiated value proposition to customers. Web.” —Carmella Cassetta. and long-term trend analysis to help the loss prevention team at Virgin Entertainment Group identify and prevent employee theft. Vice President. Multichannel integration solutions from Microsoft enable retailers to achieve a competitive advantage in today’s customer economy. and improved scalability and reliability. Internet. efficient store management with loss prevention. improved direct marketing efforts. limited flexibility. “Our close partnership with Microsoft helped us implement a scalable and robust commerce site. etc. publishing) into a smoothly functioning infrastructure. This has improved reporting capabilities and has boosted fraud detection by 50 percent. real-time inventory visibility Case Study With more than 1. Barnes & Noble has a significant retail presence across the United States. The multichannel entertainment retailer automated its point-of-sale processes and enabled flexible data access and information sharing across stores and systems in headquarters. poor employee productivity. Barnes & Noble implemented a new multichannel process automation solution that enables customers to easily browse and purchase books across either instore or Internet-based channels. Benefits Increased customer acquisition and retention. kiosks. and.SCENARIO: POINT OF SERVICE (POS) Overview Retailers are facing increasing competitive pressure to implement innovative in-store solutions (for example. SCENARIO: MULTICHANNEL INTEGRATION Overview Today’s retailers are under pressure to provide a more seamless customer experience across multiple channels (store. they also face a need to extend the value of legacy systems and minimize the technology infrastructure investment required within the store. self-checkout.. etc. Benefits Real-time information flow across the critical systems that perform traditional transaction functions.000 superstores. ultimately. call center. Engineering and Product Development Barnesandnoble. duplication in maintenance of processes and systems.com. RFID) that differentiate through an enhanced customer experience. new revenue streams through effective cross-sell and upsell strategies. improved customer satisfaction. Burdened by aging legacy systems and processes. and allows the company to manage distribution and fulfillment in an integrated fashion.). improved customer analytics. and however the customer chooses. suspicious activity alerts. inventory control. out-of-stock control. Case Study Virgin Entertainment Group wanted to reduce the significant losses it was experiencing due to employee theft in its music and entertainment stores. etc. The solution has provided improved insight into customer shopping behavior.

and Microsoft Office InfoPath. which results in fewer return shipments. fewer emergency orders. Integrated components include Microsoft BizTalk Server. SQL Server™. BizTalk. Windows Server. SharePoint.com/biztalk. SQL Server. The Cactus GDS Accelerator lowers administration costs by practically eliminating the need for rekeying information and documents. • 320 Matheson Blvd. West • Mississauga. and future applications and systems together in an efficient manner. EXPRESS OR IMPLIED. For more information on these solutions and the set of Microsoft business process automation technologies. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES. please visit www. Cactus GDS Accelerator provides a cost-effective way to quickly connect to multiple data pools (like 1SYNC and the WWRE) to manage communications with trading partners and integrate real-time data through product information management (PIM). Windows Server™. Out-of-the-box POS Adapters provide access to your multivendor POS transactions as they occur. Microsoft Corporation • One Microsoft Way • Redmond.microsoft. The information contained in this document represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Cactus Global Data Synchronization (GDS) Accelerator: Enabling Efficient Supply Chains The Cactus GDS Accelerator leverages the robust integration capabilities of BizTalk Server and overlays data pool–specific configurations and functionality to provide a global data synchronization solution for reducing the costs and business impact associated with trading-partner integration for retail and manufacturing supply chains. current. it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft. the Windows logo. and Microsoft Office InfoPath®. Windows Server. Microsoft. Real Time Integrator provides a flexible framework that operates alongside your current technology systems and can be readily extended and changed as your business changes. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions.MICROSOFT SOLUTIONS FOR RETAIL BUSINESS PROCESS AUTOMATION Sysrepublic Real Time Integrator: Enabling Real-Time Action on Store Events Sysrepublic Real Time Integrator for Microsoft® BizTalk® Server provides a robust and scalable real-time integration backbone that links events in the store with headquarters operations. and also provide visibility into this critical business information. and infrastructures. and Windows Server System are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. processes. Integrated components include BizTalk Server. IN THIS DOCUMENT. and more efficient short-term planning to help avoid issues such as back-ordering. All rights reserved. fraud detection. etc. ON L5R 3R1 • Canada 0106 Part No. It enables retail customers to integrate legacy. InfoPath. This lays the groundwork for future RFID initiatives with minimal investment and impact on existing systems. It improves logistics by enhancing the rate of accurate orders. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. labor monitoring. This document is for informational purposes only. SharePoint® Portal Server. 098-104547 . This enables the analysis of immediate store performance metrics and provides a foundation for implementing real-time analytical applications (including out-of-stock analysis. resulting in fewer errors and invoice disputes—all of which reduces product introduction and promotion lead time.). © 2006 Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft Commerce Server. WA 98052-6399 • USA Microsoft Canada Inc. and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication. inventory management. SharePoint Portal Server.

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