Last year Infor began rolling out cloud ERP software targeted to specific industry verticals, including solutions for the automotive, hospitality and aerospace/defense industries. Delivered through Amazon's Web Services platform, the software includes development tools, management tools and built-in analytics.
This week the company announced it is working with key retail partners, in particular Whole Foods Market, to create a cloud ERP suite for the retail industry. According to the two companies, Whole Foods Market will become a "working lab," with Infor development engineers and designers from Hook & Loop, Infor's internal design agency, collaborating with Whole Foods Market team members to identify key process improvements that can be addressed by the software.
The cloud suite will be "unlike anything currently on the market, better leveraging major technology advances to deliver much more value at lower cost," said Jason Buechel, executive vice president and CIO of Whole Foods Market, in a statement.
Infor, which earlier this year acquired supply chain and procurement specialist GT Nexus for $675 million, is also creating a dedicated retail business unit.
"Retailers have known for years their software has not kept up with the times, so by leveraging our industry relationships we are working to fix that and ensure Infor CloudSuite Retail is relevant for every user," said Corey Tollefson, SVP of Infor and head of the newly-created unit, in a statement.
According to Infor, key areas that will be addressed by CloudSuite Retail include: item management; inventory management; order management; promotion management; price and promotions; stock ledger and sales audit; replenishment and allocation; and integrated planning.
Infor expects CloudSuite Retail to be generally available in 2016. A key aim of the software is to help retailers unify their disparate systems and data stores, eliminating redundant data and business logic.
Boston Retail Partners calls this a "unified commerce" strategy, which it says "put[s] the customer experience first, breaking down the walls between internal channel silos and leveraging a single commerce platform." According to research it published last year, 93 percent of retailers said they planned to adopt a unified commerce model, and 39 percent were already implementing supply chain solutions to support it.
Ken Morris, a principal at Boston Retail Partners, told Enterprise Apps Today that real-time and contextual marketing efforts, customer-based pricing and product availability across all channels and locations are among the key features of a unified commerce strategy. "If I need a size 11 brown boot and you only have a size 10, you can tell me where that boot is and deliver it to my house, maybe the same day," he said.