Revolutionizing Retail Technology: The Journey of Micros-Retail

Micros-Retail is a division of Micros Systems, Inc., which develops POS and enterprise information system software for retail and hospitality industries. In 2003, Micros Systems acquired Datavantage, followed by the acquisition of CommercialWare in 2006. Micros Systems renamed Micros-Retail, giving a new name to a leading provider of retail technology for the specialty and general merchandise retail industry.

In 2007, Micros-Retail acquired eOne Group, an e-commerce provider. That same year, Micros-Retail acquired RedSky IT, which is based in the UK. Then in January 2008, the company completed its collection with the acquisition of e-commerce provider Fry, Inc.

With a wide array of service platforms, Micros-Retail found itself with a wide array of clients. Today, the company works with Tier 1 and Tier 2 retailers, with annual revenues ranging from $500 million to $1 billion-plus, and Tier 3 retailers, with annual revenues below $500 million.

The company’s overall service offering can be broken down into three categories: transactional, core information systems, and analytics. And although each category is tackled according to the expertise of each acquired company, to its clients, Micros-Retail stands as one cohesive company.

“Our clients know we are Micros-Retail, and we want to build that brand and value proposition so they see a cohesive organization,” said Faruk Abdullah, director of strategy. “But we are not completely ignoring the fact that we still are a collection of strong companies, some of which have brand loyalty that we don’t want to ignore.”

Tailored adaptability

From a transactional system point of view, Micros-Retail offers e-commerce products such OCP (open commerce platform) and EONE; POS products such as Xstore; and order management services such as CWDirect and CWSerenade.

In the core information systems category, the company has a CRM product called Relate, an order broker product called Locate, and a product information management system called Product Information Manager. On the analytics side, Micros-Retail offers a loss prevention product called XBR and a sales audit product called Balance.

The three product categories are fairly cut and dried, but when it comes to tailoring its services for its customers, Micros-Retail prefers to keep an open mind. To begin the client process, Micros-Retail analyzes the client’s business to understand the specific business strategy and priorities of the retailer it’s working with, including budgetary and timing limitations. It then crafts a solution to deliver on that need.

“There are some standardized functionalities and processes we want to follow because it just makes things faster for both us and our client base,” said Abdullah. “But we don’t want to be rigid and say ‘It’s only this way.’ We’ve built an organization that allows for adaptability, and we tailor our offerings accordingly.”

Category trends also come into play with how Micros-Retail tailors its products. Many retailers view the upended economy as an opportunity to enhance their e-commerce channels, but their investments are what Abdullah calls thoughtful: rather than not investing at all during challenging economic times, retailers are focusing on ways to develop cross-channel capabilities to build revenue and remain competitive. Other retailers are trying to delay a large investment or invest piece by piece rather than tackling a major project right away.

“POS investments are very important projects,” said Abdullah. “Some retailers have made incremental upgrades to create value before making the necessary investment in a full POS project.”

The economy has challenged Micros-Retail to some degree, but its diversity of products and services enabled the company to weather the worst of it. “We have a very strong product portfolio along with large range of services, including implementation, managed services, comprehensive website design, and business consulting,” Abdullah said.

“That diversity of products and services helped us stay steady through the economic downturn and gave us an opportunity to reinforce our strategy and move forward.”

Holistic platform

A retail-only focus differentiates Micros-Retail from other major players in the service industry, but the company’s one-platform approach to a multi-channel and cross-channel customer base elevates it above the rest.

Abdullah said there are many reasons why the one-platform approach is important. On one hand, no matter if a customer is centered on brick-and-mortar stores, call centers, the web, or all three, they can use the same technology to satisfy their technology needs. On the other hand, Micros-Retail offers retailers one platform to consolidate and centralize all systems, coordinate information, and redistribute it with a greater purpose.

“Our holistic platform coordinates all transactional information and offers analytic capabilities,” sad Abdullah. “Regardless of how you approach it, it’s all about addressing pertinent cross-channel use-cases and understanding the business of our retail clients.”

For any given client scenario, there can be as few as five or as many as 30 use-cases revolving around research, purchase, returns, etc. So if a customer calls a contact center person to arrange for a product to be picked up at a store and then needs to return the product to a different store, Micros-Retail services can coordinate the information.

The goal is for the systems to work seamlessly both from the retailer and the consumer points of view, yet also help retailers build out their businesses. “By addressing complicated cross-channel use-cases that already exist, our products have the capacity to handle others that we haven’t seen yet,” Abdullah said. “Our team can address these complexities, so when they see other cross-channel use-cases, it won’t be impossible to figure out a seamless solution.”

Creative innovation

As a division of Micros Systems, a global powerhouse, Micros-Retail is leveraging Micros’ global infrastructure to expand internationally. Although it isn’t leaving behind its focus on building a strong domestic foothold, Abdullah said many current retail clients have international aspirations, and Micros-Retail is ready to keep pace.

Having an international presence will also enable Micros-Retail to further expand international platform. “The vision is to be a truly global solution provider for retail,” he said. “We also want to continue diversifying our product and services portfolio, finding new products and services to add to the transactional, informational, and analytic capabilities we already have.”

Expanding its international presence also keeps Micros-Retail on the cutting edge. And with a behind-the-scenes culture that promotes creativity and innovation, staying engaged with a global market only enhances the company’s potential.

“We certainly want to stay engaged with features that are the norm in our current client markets, but we also intend to come up with innovative solutions that address unique business problems for future clients,” Abdullah said. “To be most effective, we will maintain a like-minded culture.”