IBM and Epicor jointly release an offering that centrally manages and supports POS.
IBM and enterprise solutions vendor
Epicor Software are collaborating on an integrated retail system management
product for specialty and department store retailers.
Announced June 30, the partnership includes an application for managing POS
(point of sale) hardware and software via the IBM
RMA (remote management agent).
"Not only will it provide energy savings and a lower total cost of
ownership, but the ability to communicate information directly back to the
application provides a more intelligent dashboard to control what's going on in
the store," said Greg Donnelly, vice president of sales for Epicor's
retail unit. "The hardware has never sent binary communications back to
the software to help retailers manage the store better until now. It gives you
an understanding of where problems exist and what may become a problem so you
can be proactive in solving it."
Donnelly said the joint POS management
solution is a step toward artificial intelligence, and the store data it can
collect in real time could be used to enhance the capabilities of other Epicor
solutions, such as e-learning, CRM, sales
auditing, labor management and loss prevention.
"Bisynchronous communication will add value to our applications,"
Donnelly said. "It will grow into more down the road."
Juhi Jotwani, vice president of marketing and strategy for IBM
Retail Store Solutions, said the partnership provides retailers with one common
tool for consolidating different data views.
"We're investing to differentiate our hardware and our capabilities,"
Jotwani said. "It makes sense to seamlessly integrate hardware with
software and services. It's an area that has left a lot to be desired until
She said because retail stores are often distributed while the IT staff is
not, the ability to remotely configure and monitor in-store hardware and
applications is critical.
"You can remotely push out software and distribute it while the store
is closed through a central console," she said. "You could do it
while sitting on vacation in Hawaii.
Also, retailers often don't know what machines are in what stores, and you can
perform a systems inventory for the entire set of stores from a corporate
Greg Buzek, president and founder of IHL Consulting Group, said IBM
has previously offered remote POS management
capabilities using its own terminals and software.
"It's an interesting thing IBM is
doing," he said. "By opening [remote POS
management] up to partners, IBM is giving
its partners a big opportunity. In the long term, this will help IBM
sell more services."
Buzek also said remote POS management can
help retailers greatly reduce operational costs.
Epicor will provide the joint solution as both a managed application and an
application that can run on a retailer's own servers.
Dan Berthiaume covers the retail space for eWEEK. For
more industry news, check out eWEEK.com's Retail Site.