Blog Article

The Big Ideas at Aptos Engage

May 21, 2019
   |   by 
Rick Boretsky

We were delighted with the recent Aptos Engage User Conference held in Orlando on April 29 – May 2.  We not only had a great time at the amusement park capital of the U.S., but the conference was filled with useful sessions, network opportunities, and access to Aptos leaders.

OMS was on everyone’s mind.  EOM, a central component of Aptos’ product roadmap , continues to be one of the most active points of discussion among retailers, and showed up in many sessions.  As Brian Kilcourse, managing partner of RSR Research, remarked in his excellent Aptos recap, Aptos is determined through its EOM suite to place the store in the center of omnichannel operations.

Indeed, in dozens of conversations with clients, it seemed that every client continues to grapple with omnichannel challenges.  This wasn’t just casual conversation.  There was a sense of urgency that OMS integration is critical to omnichannel success. The attendees realize that OMS is something bigger than their original scope, because OMS: 

• Touches customers in dozens of use cases; 

• Must deal with all the nuances of consumer transactions and fulfillment, and; 

• Must be synchronized across the enterprise.

Forrester’s Brendan Witcher put omnichannel in perspective in his great presentation on retail tech investments.  After pointing out that omnichannel is the top consumer facing issue for retailers, he observed that it “influences every stage of the customer shopping journey.” In 2018, for the first time across the entire retail industry, digital-influenced sales exceeded 50% of revenue according to Forrester. That’s why retailers are starting to see omnichannel and OMS integration as multi-year investments.  

To us, OMS is a big multi-year integration effort which is essential to an individual retailer’s survival.  That’s why RIBA has established an OMS Integration team to assist retailers in tying everything together.

Inspired by Aptos One. We can now see the huge potential for Aptos One, the company’s new retail platform.  Aptos One will ultimately grow as a replacement to the siloed, batch-oriented systems that have evolved from the brick and mortar era.  Its plumbing, as Noel Goggin referred to it, is designed to address the proliferation of touchpoints that are quickly becoming part of the retail experience.   Replacement and extension are two daunting challenges which almost always work against each other.  

Aptos One seems to be the perfect vehicle for addressing these conflicting needs, with its openness, flexibility, and scalability.  The teams working on Aptos One appear to be fully engaged with the early adopters in a common quest to get this far-sighted product out of the lab and into solving the industry’s most pressing needs.

We really appreciate the “partner-friendly” approach that is guiding the developers. The Aptos One platform is built for integration through Micro services – open, adaptable, and enduring.  We at RIBA are enthusiastic about mastering the underlying tools to empower our integration efforts.

The mid-sized retailer challenge.  We were particularly impressed with the presentations given by Forrester Research and Boston Consulting Group.  

The hard facts are that industry giants like Amazon and Walmart are spending billions every year on retail technology.  They are spending their dollars to incorporate a whole range of technologies into their business model.  Because of robotics, predictive analytics, product recommendation engines and mobility, they likely know far more about their customers than does the typical retailer.  And the scales threaten to tip more as innovation continues to drive consumer commerce.  

Yet, as Noel Goggin pointed out, the typical retailer is spending less than 2% of revenue on technology.  That means that a $1 billion retailer is spending $20 million a year against Walmart’s $14 billion.  Not good, not fair, but real.

Small and mid-sized retailers have only one choice in the face of this onslaught. They must look to technology vendors operating within an ecosystem, such as Aptos One, to package and deliver reasonably priced solutions to compete against the giants.  This is where Aptos is headed, and it’s a direction that we enthusiastically look forward to.

As the industry gradually and purposefully re-platforms, the competitive war between big and small will be fought on the system integration battlefields.  As we have said at RIBA for many years, it’s time for the retailer, solution vendors, SI’s and the whole community to give data integration the attention it deserves.

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