IBM Sterling's open ecosystem will accelerate retailers' growth and digital transformation initiatives

IBM Sterling™ Supply Chain platform will help quickly solve returns, omnichannel and logistics channels to improve customer experience.

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IBM announced that enhanced solution capabilities are being developed in collaboration with other providers for the IBM Sterling™ Supply Chain platform to help quickly solve returns, omnichannel and logistics channels to improve customer experience. 

In a study by IBM Institute for Business Value, 84% of consumers note the need for a quick, frictionless shopping experience. The expected improvement to front and back office omnichannel connectivity, optimizing and orchestrating returns can help drive greater logistics insights and fulfillment enablement that will help retailers remove needless friction and anticipate increased customer engagement and profitability.

"The retail industry is poised for a renaissance as companies move away from siloed and legacy applications towards scalable, enterprise-tuned platforms that can holistically address customer-facing and supply chain operations challenges," says Jeanette Barlow, VP, offering management and strategy, IBM Sterling. "This shift is likely compounding the industry's need to quickly innovate across traditional functional domains and deliver new capabilities that span operations and even third party supply chain partners. To create the seamless and personalized experience customers expect and provide a true first-mover advantage, companies should modernize supply chains on top of open platforms that can harness technologies such as AI, blockchain, IoT, and hybrid cloud. Our relationships in this space can help our clients to make this shift more quickly."

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IBM Services and Bluewolf is developing a connector that will integrate the IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite with Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud. The enterprise-grade, platform-to-platform integration can help retailers deliver consistent and personalized shopping moments by blending the online and offline shopping experience.

"By integrating with IBM Sterling through the MuleSoft Connector, retailers can deliver omnichannel customer experiences to help reduce operational costs," says Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, EVP Industry Go-To-Market, Salesforce. "Salesforce is excited to collaborate with IBM to help enable a scalable, efficient, profitable and trusted way to unify digital and physical store operations."

Meanwhile, Publicis Sapient is extending its relation with IBM by piloting the IBM Sterling Developer Hub with support and resources provided by the new "Powered by IBM Sterling" program. Having built a skilled order management practice, the company will bring additional supply chain chain solutions to the market using the IBM Sterling Supply Chain Platform. The solution is designed to help retailers simplify consumer returns orchestration while bringing products into available-to-promise inventory at the desired location. 

"The complexities of the retail industry are fundamentally driving a shift towards being able to quickly tailor solutions specific to the enterprise's unique supply chain," says Chris Davey, Chief Strategist, Publicis Sapient. "Being able to incorporate third-party applications and data into innovative supply chain capabilities provides our clients with a potential competitive advantage, while bolstering our supply chain practice's capabilities

In addition, project44 will help retailers, manufacturers and distributors transform the customer experience and automate inefficiencies across the entire supply chain. The company will integrate its extensive and fast-growing global carrier network with the IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite to help clients obtain more accurate shipment ETAs, identify vital up and down stream impacts to their inventory and orders, and quickly respond to relevant supply chain events. 

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"This relationship between project44 and IBM Sterling Supply Chain Insights combines the most precise transportation data and AI to unlock the value of supply chain visibility in an entirely new way," says Will Hansmann, Chief Technology Officer, project44. "Together, we can enable companies to take advantage of a transparent, scalable and connected supply chain solution that can help deliver predictive and actionable results in step with their rapidly evolving business needs." 

Working with IBM to realize the retail store of the future, Flooid, now offers a seamless omnichannel experience across store and online sales channels. The Flooid platform, which was recently rebranded from PCMS, enables retailers to transact across channels and devices, such as registers, kiosks, self-scanners, mobile devices and ecommerce, helping them innovate and differentiate their customer shopping experience. 

"IBM Sterling and Flooid have a long history of collaboration and highly complementary offerings to help retail clients create a single platform for customer experience and order fulfillment inside the store. This can empower store associates to provide customers with the services and choices they want," said Tony Houldsworth, Global CEO, Flooid. "Flooid's highly specialized platform provides a seamless connection to the basket, which is a key component of successful store and digital transformation."