You are on page 1of 4

m

BUSINESS PROCESS AUTOMATION IN RETAIL


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

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


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. Increasingly, retailers with a closely connected supply
chain (such as Wal-Mart) have a strategic competitive advantage against those that don’t. 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).

Benefits
Effective, demand-driven replenishment; integration with legacy environments; full integration for
“BizTalk Server is definitely a
multiple channels; agility to implement and integrate emerging technologies like RFID and GDS/UCCnet
technology that will provide a lot
of value as we integrate more
functionality into the system.” Case Study
London Drugs, a leading Canadian retail chain serving customers across Alberta
—Ole Andersen, and British Columbia, had historically performed virtually all of its mission-critical
Manager, Strategic Innovation, processes—human resources, general ledger, inventory, and merchandising—on
London Drugs legacy applications that were running on an AS/400 computer. The company was missing business
opportunities because these applications were outdated, expensive to support, and didn’t offer the
flexibility necessary for creating a much-needed automated supply chain process. 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. London Drugs has now
linked its enterprise systems with automated supply chain handling and automatic replenishment and
order generation. The solution reduces manual processing and errors, lowers holding costs by speeding
inventory movement and reducing standing inventory, and increases revenue by ensuring more
dependable inventory stocking.

RE
TA
ILE
R

STORE MANAGER
WORKBENCH PORTAL/DASHBOARD
RETAILER
REPORTING
BAM SERVICES
$885 $85 $85 BUSINESS RULES
500.0.0
0
0
0 .00 0.0
0
BUSINESS RULE ENGINE META DATA

ORCHESTRATION B2B
POS POS POS ENGINE
SE
CU R

KIOSK
STORE
E NETWOR

DATA BUS ADAPTER ADAPTER ADAPTER

RFID READERS
INTERNET
K

SMART CART
AS/400 SAP DATA WAREHOUSE
XML AS2
PDA MULTICHANNEL FRAMEWORK

STORE STORE STORE


SUPPLIERS
E-COMMERCE SITE CALL CENTER CATALOG DISTRIBUTORS

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


SCENARIO: POINT OF SERVICE (POS)
Overview
Retailers are facing increasing competitive pressure to implement innovative in-store solutions (for example,
self-checkout, kiosks, RFID) that differentiate through an enhanced customer experience. However, due to
razor-thin margins, they also face a need to extend the value of legacy systems and minimize the technology
infrastructure investment required within the store. 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, all at a lower TCO.

Benefits
Real-time information flow across the critical systems that perform traditional transaction functions,
such as POS, inventory control, etc.; enhanced customer interactions, like self-checkout; efficient store
management with loss prevention, out-of-stock control, etc.

Case Study
Virgin Entertainment Group wanted to reduce the significant losses it was experiencing
due to employee theft in its music and entertainment stores, but that effort was hampered
by long lag times in data reporting that made it hard to identify suspicious activity. The
multichannel entertainment retailer automated its point-of-sale processes and enabled flexible data
access and information sharing across stores and systems in headquarters. This new solution enables
reporting that provides real-time data monitoring, suspicious activity alerts, and long-term trend analysis
to help the loss prevention team at Virgin Entertainment Group identify and prevent employee theft.
This has improved reporting capabilities and has boosted fraud detection by 50 percent.

SCENARIO: MULTICHANNEL INTEGRATION


Overview “Our close partnership with
Today’s retailers are under pressure to provide a more seamless customer experience across multiple Microsoft helped us implement a
channels (store, Web, call center, etc.). Burdened by aging legacy systems and processes, their current scalable and robust commerce site.”
retail channel silos and fragmented customer interactions result in a high cost of sales and service,
poor employee productivity, limited flexibility, duplication in maintenance of processes and systems, —Carmella Cassetta,
and, ultimately, presentation of an undifferentiated value proposition to customers. Multichannel Vice President, Engineering
integration solutions from Microsoft enable retailers to achieve a competitive advantage in today’s and Product Development
customer economy. By providing a unification of the customer experience across channels, the Barnesandnoble.com.
Microsoft solutions enable retailers to attract and retain customers and meet customers’ expectations
whenever, wherever, and however the customer chooses.

Benefits
Increased customer acquisition and retention; improved customer analytics; improved direct marketing
efforts; new revenue streams through effective cross-sell and upsell strategies; reduced cycle time
between order and delivery; lower fulfillment costs; real-time inventory visibility

Case Study
With more than 1,000 superstores, Barnes & Noble has a significant retail
presence across the United States, selling almost 445 million books per
year. The company had the challenge of linking its disparate operations (store, Internet, publishing)
into a smoothly functioning infrastructure. Barnes & Noble implemented a new multichannel process
automation solution that enables customers to easily browse and purchase books across either in-
store or Internet-based channels, and allows the company to manage distribution and fulfillment in
an integrated fashion. The solution has provided improved insight into customer shopping behavior,
improved customer satisfaction, greater efficiency, and improved scalability and reliability.
MICROSOFT SOLUTIONS FOR RETAIL The Cactus GDS Accelerator lowers administration costs by practically
eliminating the need for rekeying information and documents,
BUSINESS PROCESS AUTOMATION resulting in fewer errors and invoice disputes—all of which reduces
product introduction and promotion lead time. It improves logistics
by enhancing the rate of accurate orders, which results in fewer return
Sysrepublic Real Time Integrator: Enabling shipments, fewer emergency orders, and more efficient short-term
Real-Time Action on Store Events planning to help avoid issues such as back-ordering.
Sysrepublic Real Time Integrator for Microsoft® BizTalk® Server provides
a robust and scalable real-time integration backbone that links events Cactus GDS Accelerator provides a cost-effective way to quickly
in the store with headquarters operations. It enables retail customers connect to multiple data pools (like 1SYNC and the WWRE) to manage
to integrate legacy, current, and future applications and systems communications with trading partners and integrate real-time data
together in an efficient manner. Real Time Integrator provides a flexible through product information management (PIM). This lays the
framework that operates alongside your current technology systems groundwork for future RFID initiatives with minimal investment and
and can be readily extended and changed as your business changes. impact on existing systems, processes, and infrastructures.
Out-of-the-box POS Adapters provide access to your multivendor POS
Integrated components include BizTalk Server, SQL Server, Windows
transactions as they occur, and also provide visibility into this critical
Server, SharePoint Portal Server, Microsoft Commerce Server, and
business information. This enables the analysis of immediate store
Microsoft Office InfoPath.
performance metrics and provides a foundation for implementing
real-time analytical applications (including out-of-stock analysis, labor
monitoring, fraud detection, inventory management, etc.). For more information on these solutions
and the set of Microsoft business process
Integrated components include Microsoft BizTalk Server, SQL Server™,
Windows Server™, SharePoint® Portal Server, and Microsoft Office automation technologies, please visit
InfoPath®. www.microsoft.com/biztalk.

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.

The information contained in this document represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues discussed as of the date of publication.
Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft
cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.

This document is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS DOCUMENT.

© 2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Microsoft, BizTalk, InfoPath, SharePoint, the Windows logo, Windows Server, and Windows Server System
are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and
products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Microsoft Corporation • One Microsoft Way • Redmond, WA 98052-6399 • USA


Microsoft Canada Inc. • 320 Matheson Blvd. West • Mississauga, ON L5R 3R1 • Canada
0106 Part No. 098-104547