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Channel & Distribution

Retail Does Not Want Off the Rack IT

Digitization has taken hold of the retail trade. With increasing specialization the retail trade expects providers to supply customized IT solutions.

06 Mar. 2017

The digital transformation is not only taking place in industry. The retail trade is also faced with enormous challenges: The latest online shop solutions are just as in demand as their connection with stationary business such as, for example, networked kiosk systems, mobile point of sale solutions, or digital signage solutions at the point of sale.

And this means a corresponding rise in expenditures: EHI Retail Institute determined that the IT budgets of German retail trade companies increased to 1.24 percent of net sales from 2013 to 2015. Forty percent of the retailers surveyed in 2015 assumed that expenditures will continue to increase. According to the latest findings of the corporate consulting company Capgemini, the retail trade will actually spend “significantly more money on IT projects in 2017 than in 2016. "Products specific to the retail and wholesale trade such as cash systems and data entry devices have to be modernized as well," ascertains the information and telecommunications trade journal CRN. Increasing automation of supply chain management plays an important role here. In addition, retailers need software solutions that are harmonized for their specific ERP and CRM requirements.

MKS AG (Hall 15, F75) from Friedrichshafen is a provider able to customize ERP solutions for the special requirements of the retail trade. Company head Michael Kempf recently indicated to CRN that specialization on the part of customers continues to increase. "In the course of new technologies, such as, for example, cloud solutions or more complexity in ticket management, requirements have clearly increased and customers from the retail trade require suitable vertical solutions in this regard," says Kempf. He attributes a special role to his company when it comes to support for the retail trade: "Today's customer sees us also as a corporate consulting company. Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly important to also provide knowledge regarding process optimization. From data immigration concepts to connecting third-party software, expert knowledge must be available in order to support the customer in the best possible manner."

The distributor Acmeo (Hall 15, Stand F76) specializes in cloud solutions. The company developed its principal concern, i.e., software solutions for computer retailers, into the Acmeo Systemhaus Software business division. "In the meantime, nine employees work as part of this team and help computer retailers to enhance the productivity of their technicians, improve project management, prepare and follow up on sound offers more quickly, and to establish workflows for ITIL-based service processes," explained Acmeo department head Moritz Münzenmaier in CRN: "There are a lot of IT service providers and retailers who work with solutions that only provide suboptimal support for their day-to-day business. Often the solutions are simply outdated and do not offer any state-of-the-art interfaces, let alone modern database systems," notes Münzenmaier. For its ERP solutions, Acmeo relies on "System One," the software developed on the basis of "SAP Business One" from Neumeier AG. Thus an easily implemented complete solution is developed that, among other things, provides for item imports, ticket systems, CRM customer management, leasing management, as well as forms and evaluations.

In Planet Reseller at CeBIT (Hall 14/15) all of the current challenges of the channel are brought up for detailed discussion. Above all, the transparent editorship of the trade journal CRN and the studios of CRN-TV present venues for numerous discussion rounds, product presentations, and interviews with leaders in the information and telecommunications industry. "More than forty managing directors, board members, and channel managers will take a seat on the red sofa in order to speak with CRN about current developments in the industry and their strategies on the market," advertises the magazine. Thus, the head of Microsoft Deutschland Sabine Bendiek will speak about the necessity for a German Microsoft cloud, while Christian Lamprechter, Country Manager Germany at Intel points out the potential of millions of networked devices for the channel. Martina Koederitz, Management Chairwoman at IBM Deutschland and Annette Maier, Vice President Germany at VMware will also attend.

A central topic of interest at CRN-TV is security. "After all, the threat for German companies continues to increase and thus rapidly drives the demand for IT security solutions," ascertains the news source. Thus, CRN wants to talk with security and sales experts from Eset, G DATA, Kaspersky, Rohde & Schwarz Cybersecurity, and Sophos about current risks, sophisticated security concepts, and the unique possibilities for computer retailers and IT service providers on this contested market.

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