In the ever-changing world of retail with digital transformation having a major impact on how retailers manage inventory and deal with customers, research firm Gartner says more attention is being paid to “refinement” to offer “quality execution.
And in it’s latest “Magic Quadrant” report for retail assortment management applications, three firms with Triangle roots at the top of its rankings.
- SAS, which is based in Cary
- Oracle, which has a major presence in Morrisville
- IBM, which maintains a large data operation at its campus in RTP
The three were among eight companies in the top quadrant as “Leaders” as ranked by Gartner.
“Digital business transformation in the retail industry includes the usage of cloud, mobility, social engagement, algorithms and the Internet of Things (IoT),” Gartner says in the report.
“Taking advantage of the store base is critical for a digitalized retail experience that delights customers, but this requires a significant refinement of the assortments offered by channels and quality execution. Big data, combined with advanced analytics and algorithmic approaches, is required to create store-specific assortments that are aligned to specific customer behavior segments. As a result, this research places increased focus on advanced analytics capabilities.”
SAS, IBM and Oracle have strengths as well as “cautions,” according to Gartner’s assessment.
A look at each firm:
Product or Service: Gartner clients show a growing interest in public cloud options. This research places a heavy emphasis on the provision of multiple public cloud implementation partners. SAS supports AWS and Microsoft cloud implementations.
Offering (Product) Strategy: SAS provides all RAMA application capabilities, and as one of the Leaders from the inception of this Magic Quadrant, it is well-placed to provide a solution for retail. It leverages a long analytics history by utilizing all advanced analytics types as part of the solution. SAS incorporated the Viya platform to include analytics in its RAMA product to improve the cloud availability of analytics.
Sales Execution/Pricing: Although it is still at an acceptable level, SAS saw an 11% decline in this measure because references rated it less than average for pricing and contract flexibility.
Operations: SAS references indicated an implementation time that is slightly longer than average. In addition, they rated ease of integration using standard APIs and tools as less than average.
Offering (Product) Strategy: IBM now provides all the requirements identified for a RAMA solution, which is an improvement on its analysis from last year, and enables it to take its place among the Leaders for the provision of a complete solution.
Innovation: IBM remains among the top tier of vendors reviewed, and it is one of only five to utilize all advanced analytics capabilities in its RAMA solutions. In last year’s Magic Quadrant, Gartner observed that “there is an opportunity for more advancements in this area, including adding cognitive capabilities with Watson.” IBM has developed Watson Commerce Insights as a separate but complementary product, allowing for the incorporation of weather, social and other unstructured data into the analysis process.
Product or Service: Gartner clients show a growing interest in public cloud options. This research places a heavy emphasis on the provision of multiple public cloud implementation partners. At present, IBM supports on-premises and IBM cloud across all of its applications, while other public cloud options are available for some specific applications.
Product or Service: IBM does not offer a comprehensive set of merchandising core solutions, which is uncommon among the Leaders in the Magic Quadrant. It does, however, provide a good solution for clients that are content with their core merchandising solutions, but still want value-added capability to sit on top.
Product or Service: Gartner clients show a growing interest in public cloud options. This research places a heavy emphasis on the provision of multiple public cloud implementation partners. Oracle provides its own public cloud options (infrastructure as a service [IaaS], platform as a service [PaaS] and data as a service [DaaS] options) and also supports AWS, Google and Microsoft cloud implementations
Offering (Product) Strategy: Oracle has been the leader in providing all RAMA capabilities for several years. Its leadership in the Magic Quadrant also includes the use of all 13 advanced analytics types within its RAMA application.
Sales Execution/Pricing: References indicated no improvement in this measure year over year, rating Oracle below average for providing strong sales and deployment support as well as pricing and contract flexibility (pricing and terms). Gartner’s extensive retail client interactions support this finding.
Customer Experience: Oracle is challenged in some customer experience indicators related to this research, dropping from last year’s rating in this research. References rated it below average in key areas including strong technical support, meeting all expectations set during the sales process, providing quality end-user training, and ease of integration using standard APIs and tools. Oracle launched Retail Learning Subscription (RLS) as its go-forward strategy for all solution-related content in December and expects this to help correct this perception.
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