NetSuite Acquires Retail Anywhere – Get Ready for More Cloud Acquisitions

Posted by Admin on January 14, 2013 under ERP Software, Retail Software | Be the First to Comment

Last week, Netsuite announced the acquisition of Retail Anywhere – a Point-of-Sale software solution. This acquisition enables Netsuite to fill the POS functional gap in their product offering. The selection of Retail Anywhere makes sense because it was developed on Netsuite’s cloud development platform SuiteCloud. This means that they are essentially taking an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) solution that was previously available to customers on the Netsuite platform and bringing the functionality in-house for development and support. It is not really an earth-shattering acquisition, but a nice pickup for Netsuite.

One of the biggest challenges that cloud software vendors like Netsuite has right now is both broadening and deepening their functionality to compete on more equal footing functionally with the full featured on-premises software vendors that have been adding functionality for decades. For the most part, cloud vendors have been developing the functionality in-house which is the slower and cleaner approach. But on occasion we have seen acquisitions – for example Netsuite acquired Openair in 2008 and Quickarrow in 2009 to expand their offering in the project accounting market.

With vertical market cloud software solutions gaining traction in the market, we expect to see more of these vendors get acquired over the next few years. These acquisitions will come from two ways – cloud ERP vendors looking to widen their functional footprint, and traditional on-premises vendors looking to more quickly enter the cloud.

SAGE

Posted by Admin on June 9, 2011 under CRM Software, ERP Software, Government Software, Non-Profit Software, Retail Software | Be the First to Comment

SAGE is a major ERP global player and one of the largest ERP vendors in the world. While it is a major player, SAGE has struggled with marketing their products and brand and is not as well known in the US. They have also struggled with product direction and focus as they have many different products both in the US and Europe. The SAGE software products are mostly sold through a Value Added Reseller channel, although they do sell direct depending on the product and situation. In the past they have taken more of a regional approach – with certain products focused on the North American market and other products in Europe. They are squarely focused on the mid to lower market for software solutions.

SAGE has acquired many software solutions over the years – including State of the Art in the US in 1998 (MAS 90 and MAS 500). Here is a partial listing of the products that SAGE sells in the US. You will probably recognize the names and may be surprised that they are owned by SAGE:

X3 (Formerly Adonix) – ERP
Accpac – ERP
MAS 90 – ERP
MAS 500 – ERP
Timberline – Construction/Property Management
MIP – Non-Profit
Peachtree – Small Office Accounting
ABRA – HR
BEST FAS – Fixed Assets
Saleslogix – CRM
Many others…

One product that has reached a couple of Short List’s recently in our software selection projects is the SAGE X3 product. This is a multi-national manufacturing focused software solution and is the former Adonix product that was acquired by SAGE in 2005. Adonix was originally developed in France and offers a robust accounting/manufacturing solution. It is interesting to note that the CEO of SAGE is Guy Berruyer who led the French SAGE operation. They also recently installed Pascal Houillon as the CEO of SAGE North America – who also came from the French operation. We think these moves point to a future emphasis on the X3 product at SAGE, and may even lead to X3 becoming the flagship product for SAGE on a worldwide basis.

Microsoft Dynamics AX – Retail

Posted by on February 15, 2010 under Retail Software | Be the First to Comment

As we mentioned in our last post, Microsoft will be focusing retail software development efforts on the Microsoft Dynamics AX platform with a product that will be in general release 3Q 2010. This product was built using code developed by LS Retail, an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) with the goal of providing a completely integrated retail software solution directly from Microsoft. It is important to note that LS Retail continues as a stand-alone ISV that develops a retail software solution add-on for both Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics NAV. This means that from this point forward, development for LS Retail’s Dynamics AX retail software add-on will diverge from the development of the new Microsoft Dynamics AX Retail product.

Basically, Microsoft used LS Retail’s AX retail add-on solution to jump start the development of a “Microsoft” retail software solution. This means that they did not have to start developing a retail system from scratch as the LS Retail product is already based on the Dynamics AX toolset, which is actually a pretty smart move if they want to come to market with a solution quickly. Plus, I am sure that LS Retail was paid a tidy sum to allow Microsoft to use their code for the project, so it is probably a win-win for both sides. The biggest danger to LS Retail would be that Microsoft’s retail product eventually makes their product obsolete, but they must have assessed that in their analysis.

So you can see that while the Microsoft Dynamics AX Retail product is currently in Beta testing with 3 installations, it actually has a much more stable background because of all of the installations that LS Retail has with the software. The main question would be how much modification has been done to the LS Retail code and what additional features were added by Microsoft development? I would imagine that for right now, there are only minor changes to the software and that it is fairly stable as far as beta software goes. However it will be very interesting to see where Microsoft takes the product from here.

Another interesting thing to note is that Microsoft has been positioning the AX product more to the higher end of the market in what we call the Tier 2 and even up to the Tier 1 companies and competing against the likes of Oracle, Lawson, JD Edwards (Oracle), and even SAP on occasion. (See SoftResources Tier Chart at www.softresources.com/software-market-overview) The Microsoft RMS product (which is Microsoft’s current multi-store retail solution with many installations) is focused more on smaller retailers in the tier 4 and tier 3 market. Microsoft claims that Dynamics AX Retail will be able to scale from tier 4  all the way up to tier 1 companies. We will see if they can make the pricing work at both ends of the scale and if they can make it simple enough for the small companies to not be overwhelmed, yet sophisticated enough to handle large retailers complex requirements. Traditionally software vendors have had a hard time making a “one-size-fits-all” solution.

Here is a quick look at the Microsoft booth at the NRF show 2010 with some of my impressions from the floor of the show. It also includes an interview with the Microsoft ERP Marketing Director Guy Weismantal regarding the strategy for Dynamics AX Retail. Guy describes the plan for general release in summer 2010. When he mentions IP, he means the “Intellectual Property” or code they bought from LS Retail to create the Dynamics AX Retail software.

Microsoft POS Software Roadmap – What about RMS?

Posted by on February 9, 2010 under Retail Software | Be the First to Comment

As I visited the Microsoft booth at National Retail Federation I was impressed with the surface computer they had on display and the really cool wall display that could be used in future retail stores. What I didn’t see was anything about Microsoft RMS. I looked and asked about the product, but they had no RMS representation at all. Instead, they had a very large display of Microsoft Dynamics AX Retail. What is going on with Microsoft’s retail strategy?

After further investigation and a conversation with representatives from Microsoft, here is my understanding of the Microsoft POS Roadmap. Please note that this is just my interpretation of their roadmap, so I am not speaking directly for Microsoft on this, but I think I have a good idea about the direction they are headed.

There are 3 retail software products now offered by Microsoft – Microsoft POS 2009; Retail Management System (RMS); and Dynamics AX for Retail.

Microsoft POS 2009 - This product was built from the ground up using the .NET architecture and was released in 3Q 2009. POS 2009 is focused on the low end of the market with retailers that have a SINGLE STORE ONLY. The POS system has no HQ solution and would have to integrate to a financial system on the back end. It was built to compete with Quickbooks and small end POS solutions (of which there are many) on the market.

Microsoft RMS – This is the system that Microsoft acquired a number of years ago and actually has a large number of installations. It handles multi-store environments and is more scalable than POS 2009. However the product does not have an accounting back office and must link to a separate accounting system like Dynamics GP or Sage MAS 500. The system also lacks some of the more advanced retail features like Open to Buy. Microsoft has decided that this product will have a few more years of upgrades and enhancements and will then stop development of new features for the software sometime in the 2012-2014 time period. Microsoft will then begin the process of moving RMS users to the new Dynamics AX Retail product. Microsoft will continue to support the product for years after that because of the large install base, but there is definitely a limit to the lifespan of this product.

Microsoft Dynamics AX Retail – This is where Microsoft is putting their future in the retail industry. Dynamics AX is the former Damgaard Axapta product that was acquired by Microsoft in the 2000-2001 timeframe. It is a very functional ERP software solution that is very flexible. Like many of the other ERP software solutions sold by Microsoft (GP, NAV, SL) there are a number of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) companies that have developed add-ons to the AX product. One of these is LS Retail and they developed a retail add-on to the AX product. In order to develop a core retail solution within AX, Microsoft bought the retail code from LS Retail and has made further modifications and branded the software Dynamics AX Retail. Microsoft is just getting this product off the ground and has 3 beta installs in process. They see this product as a scalable product for retailers with 1 store on up to very large retail chains, that offers full functionality including the back office financials. 

I will be talking more about Microsoft and their strategy soon…

Gemmar/JD Associates Update – NRF 2010

Posted by on February 2, 2010 under Retail Software | Be the First to Comment

Gemmar which is a mid-market apparel focused retail software solution based out of Canada has recently signed an agreement to sell the product in the US through a reseller JD Associates. The following is the latest information from Gemmar:

Gemmar System’s International Retail 1 retail management solution targets mid-market Apparel retailers as it’s primary focus of business. Headquartered out of Montreal, Quebec, it has a
customer base of over 200 retail chains of which approximately 75% are Apparel retailers. Around 20% of all clients have a U.S. base of operations. The Retail 1 Suite provides coverage for multi-channel sales activities including catalog and Web store fronts. Gemmar has been around for over 26 years and leverages the Microsoft Technology stack including Web Services.

Company: Gemmar Systems International, Inc.
Product: Retail 1
Year Founded: 1983
Ownership: Private
Target Market: 10 to 200 Stores, 1-20 POS per location. Sweet spot are chains with 30-80 stores.
Verticals: Apparel, General Retail, Sporting Goods (contact vendor for more verticals).
Total Customers: 200 (North America)
Technology: Windows 2007, Database: MS SQL Server 7.0
Hardware Requirements: Non proprietary. Contact vendor for additional hardware specifications.
Strengths/Notable Features: Retail-1 Merchant: Application suite including inventory management, merchandising and Open to Buy capabilities. Full layaway and special order capabilities, multi-level merchandise planning, style/color/size matrix. Business Intelligence with KPI supported in Analytics suite. CRM, AR Analysis. Order Management, Distribution, Warehouse, financials. Interface bridge to MS Dynamics GP. Assortment Planning is future module.
Sales Channel: Direct or via Partner (JD Associates)

We spoke with John Deery who is the owner of JD Associates (the US distributor of Gemmar) to get an update on what is happening with his organization. JD Associates actually sells 3 products – Microsoft RMS (100 installations), RetailPro, (600 installations) and they recently picked up Gemmar. They focus on apparel, footwear, and general retail stores.

ChainDrive NRF 2010 Update

Posted by on January 29, 2010 under Retail Software | Be the First to Comment

Multidev Technologies’ ChainDrive retail management software is a mid-market system with it’s origin for retailers in Apparel and has since branched out into Footwear, Jewelry, Sporting Goods and General Department Stores. In particular, they provide Open to Buy functionality in their suite, which is a main component for Apparel retailers and others who want to leverage merchandising planning for just in time inventory decisions. Although operations are based out of Montreal Quebec, ChainDrive has made inroads into the U.S. market which is their primary sales target.

Company: Multidev Technologies
Product: ChainDrive (for retail chains)
Year Founded: 1997 (ChainDrive product line developed after this time).
Ownership: Private
Target Market: Retailers with 10 – 300 locations, with sweet spot in the 60-70 store range.
Verticals: POS and back end financials for Apparel, Footwear, Sporting Goods, Jewelry and General Retail/Department Stores.
Total Customers: 120+ companies. Many are multi-site, multi-channel. Approximately half are Apparel retailers.
Technology: Borland Interbase SQL database.
Strengths/Notable Features: Has complete sruite of functionality including financial modules, but can interface to mainstream financials such as MS Dynamics GP or Oracle. Full analytics and performance reporting with KPI’s, graphical dashboard display. Modules/features include Mobile Marketing, CRM, Workforce Management, Operations, Accounting, Merchandising, Multi-dimensional Open to Buy (Planning), Style/Color/Size Matrix, Product Management, Store Budgeting, Warehouse, Wholesale Management and Point of Sale.
Sales Channel: Direct
Other: Also offers StoreDrive for single retail locations. Hardware is available for an all-in-one solution for small retailers.

We caught up with Mark Carter from ChainDrive at the NRF 2010 show and here is the video from that interview.

Epicor Retail – NRF 2010 Update

Posted by on January 28, 2010 under Retail Software | Be the First to Comment

Epicor has acquired many software products over the years and the retail solutions are no exception. The current Epicor Retail product is comprised of a combination of acquisitions, most notably NSB (acquired 2008) and CRS (acquired 2005). Epicor Retail product is based on the Microsoft .NET platform and they tout the Microsoft technology focus. 

Epicor Retail is a multi-channel software solution that is very strong in the Apparel/Specialty retail market and has a large number of installations. While Epicor can scale from small single store operations all the way up to large tier 1 retail chains, they fit better in the higher end of the market and compete with companies such as JDA, Celerant, Oracle, and others. They are using the Software as a Service model to be able to reach smaller retailers. Epicor implements direct and does not use 3rd party implementation partners.

Here are some facts about the Epicor Retail product:

Epicor Retail’s Retail Management Solution is designed for multi-channel, multi-store retailers in the mid to large size market. Epicor Retail is a division of Epicor Software Corporation which provides ERP solutions to a variety of verticals. Epicor’s Retail Management solution has it’s roots in the retail solutions formerly known as NSB (acquired 2008), and CRS (acquired 2005), acquisitions by Epicor Software Corporation. The Suite is comprised of Store, Merchandising, and Sales Audit products, which may be combined for a total solution. Epicor also supports back end financials, CRM and other product offerings by the parent company.
Company: Epicor Retail (Division of Epicor Software Corporation)
Product(s): Store 6.3, Merchandising 5.0 and SA 5.0. Other functionality is available.
Year Founded: 1984
Ownership: Public, NASDAQ – EPIC
Target Market: Retailers with 5 – 3500 locations.
Verticals: Apparel, Specialty and Department Stores.
Total Customers: 400+ retailers, with multiple locations.
Technology: MS SQL Server 2005 and SQL Express databases on Windows Server 2003 or 2008.
Hardware Requirements: Non-proprietary. See vendor for list of compatible hardware for POS.
Strengths/Notable Features: Store Solution: Usage metrics, POS, Inventory Management, Time and Attendance, Promo Events Manager, Returns Management, Enterprise Store Services, and Data Exchange. Merchandising: Enterprise Data Management, Product Management, Price Management, PO Management, Inventory, Stock Ledger, Invoice Matching, Allocation, Replenishment and Merchandise Analytics. Sales Audit suite also available. Other capabilities include Distribution, Fulfilment (Enterprise Selling module), Customer Relationship Management, Customer Service, Business Intelligence, and Dashboard with KPI’s. Web store functionality is coming in a future release.
3rd Party: Depends on the scope.
Sales Channel: Direct
We caught up with Todd Carlson (Director – Strategic Accounts) at the NRF 2010 show in NY in the attached video. We need to clarify that the SaaS solution is not a separate software product, but is just a different delivery method for Epicor Retail to serve smaller organizations.

Radiant Counterpoint Update

Posted by on January 27, 2010 under Retail Software | Be the First to Comment

We visited the Radiant Counterpoint booth at the NRF show and spoke with Andee Williamson who is the Senior Product Marketing Manager at Radiant. The following provides a high-level overview of the software product and where Counterpoint fits in the retail market.

Radiant’s Counterpoint retail management solution targets the small to mid-market retailer in a variety of verticals. It is a well rounded solution that covers more than Point of Sale, and supports multi-channel activities. Apparel customers make up a large percentage of their install base. Two versions are offered; one is Version 7 (legacy Synchronics Counterpoint) which operates on a Pervasive SQL database and offers strong Merchandising capabilities for Apparel retailers. Each version has features unique to that release that may not be in both versions of the product. Be sure to review the features/benefits of each release with Radiant to get the best fit to your needs.

Company: Radiant Systems – Retail Division
Product: Counterpoint SQL, Version 8.x (Formerly Synchronics Counterpoint, acquired in 2006)
Year Founded: Radiant – 1985. Synchronics/Counterpoint: 1983
Ownership: Public, NASDAQ – RADS
Target Market: Retailers with 10 – 50 locations is sweet spot. Approximately 85% of customers are 10 users or less.
Verticals: POS and back end financials for Apparel, General Retail, Sporting Goods, Garden, Gifts, Wholesale.
Total Customers: Approx. 6,578; 2,000+ are multi-site.
Technology: Windows 2007, XP or higher. Linux supported. Database: MS SQL Server
Hardware Requirements: Not proprietary; touch screen available.
Strengths/Notable Features: Merchandising Analysis, Dashboard and Analytics. Fully PCI Compliant. Supports multi-channel store/web/catalog. Modules include Inventory, PO to Vendors, Customer Tracking, Point of Sale, Special Orders, Style/Color/Size Matrix, Order Management, Fulfillment, Timecard, Customer Loyalty, Gift Certificate tracking, integrated eCommerce (hosted by Radiant).
3rd Party: Partner with 3rd party for Open to Buy capability.
Sales Channel: Value Added Reseller

In the following video clip, Andee talks about how Counterpoint is focused on 10-50 store retail chains and some of the new dashboard reporting capabilities of the software. It is also important to note that Counterpoint is sold through a network of Value Added Resellers (VARs) so you will need to select a reseller that is a fit for your organization. For more information on selecting a Value Added Reseller, please visit www.softresources.com/implementation-vendor-VAR-selection.

National Retail Federation (NRF) 2010 Show

Posted by on under Retail Software | Be the First to Comment

The start of the new year brings the annual NRF tradeshow in New York. With over 14,000 attendees and 500 vendors this is a pretty big event for the retail industry. The attendance at this show is actually quite good considering the decline in tradeshow attendance across the board. Many of the formerly great tradeshows have really cut back or have simply disappeared. Tradeshows have had a really difficult time since the decline in business travel after 9/11 and the rise of the internet. Of course the vendors exhibiting at the show will always complain that there are never enough leads coming their way no matter how big the show!

We decided to do something different at NRF this year to kick off the Software Evaluation Blog. In addition to getting an update from the retail software vendors to refresh our information for retail software selection clients, we decided to try out some video blogging of some of the major retail software vendors. Although they are definitely very sales oriented, we thought it would add some color to the vendor information that we collected, so that if you are looking for a retail solution, you can get a better feel for the product. Obviously we could not include every software vendor at the show, but you will see some of the major vendors represented. Please note that we do not endorse any of the vendors highlighted on this blog, and the information presented was gathered and interpreted by SoftResources so please do not rely on this information for decision making purposes for your software selection project – contact the software vendor directly.