As predicted, Microsoft Corporation chose Retail Realm’s 2014 “Microsoft Dynamics Retail Technology Conference” (Caesars Palace, Las Vegas) to lay out the company’s Vision and Road Map for its Retail sector product offer.
In front of a 250 strong audience of seasoned retail experts, Seth Patton (Global Industries Director, Microsoft Dynamics) and Ashvin Matthew (General Manager Microsoft Dynamics Retail & Commerce) emphasised how the growing expectations of a switched on and technology savvy consumer are driving Retailers to adopt an omni-channel mode of operations which, consequently, is shaping the path Microsoft itself must take. In an increasingly connected world where the decision to purchase no longer depends on the traditional visit to a brick and mortar store but other influences (internet searches, social media and social networking) and methods of acquisition (smart phones and a myriad of other devices) are fast gaining ground, retailers who ignore these trends do so at their peril. Microsoft plays a dual role in the retail arena: a) to enable retailers to transition and provide a seamless environment across all touch points and positively impact ROI and b) via their consumer products divisions, to give customers the personalised services/experiences they seek. The strategy for Microsoft Dynamics is to harness and roll up all the innovation and technology developed by and available to Microsoft, as a whole, and narrow them down into and for the benefit of retail.
Bearing all the above in mind, transitioning to more robust, advanced technologies which will permit a retailer to use a single retail platform from which to interact with customers across all available media, will not happen overnight. Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) is very much alive and will remain fully supported until 2021.
Meanwhile, since 2009, Microsoft has been going from strength to strength with AX, culminating in the recent launch of AX 2012 R3. Part of that development led to the creation of a sub-set of R3 in the shape of the newly released “Retail Essentials” (launched May 1, 2014) and destined, over the next year, to fully embrace the requirements of the SMB market. For an existing RMS customer with an active maintenance plan - Business Ready Enhancement Plan (BREP) and Business Ready Advantage Plan (BRAP) - a migration path to “Retail Essentials” will be available. Retailers making the transition will not only benefit from a modern POS (Store & Headquarters) system but, with V2 (scheduled for release at the end of 2014) will gain m-commerce, mobility, CRM and social media all on a single, integrated, modern retail platform. The benefits of “Retail Essentials” are self evident. Given that all elements stem from the AX code base, savings in time and money can be gained over other systems which would require integration of standalone applications. The entire system is also scalable, accommodating a retailer’s business growth and expansion across all sales environments whether telephone, online or physical shop premises, thus protecting the investment
Microsoft Dynamics is also currently working initially with Vantiv on a mobility solution to address the needs of the lower end of the retail SMB scale.
The “Retail Essentials” workshop presented by Jeff Blucher (Program Manager at Microsoft Corporation) proved to be the catalyst which brought about a tangible change in mind set. hose attendees, who had been somewhat sceptical, on arrival in Vegas, left the 3 day conference in positive mood after witnessing first hand and grasping the enormous potential on offer through Microsoft Dynamics’ “Retail Essentials”.
SOURCE: Microsoft Corporation