IBM Retail Integration Framework

by Deepak Sharma on Saturday, January 12, 2008

Last week IBM released IBM Retail Integration Framework, an enterprise software architecture designed to help retailers accelerate the implementation of new customer focused strategies.

the new framework, which is based on a service oriented architecture (SOA) strategy, could help retailers rapidly introduce new product assortments and provide a unique multi-channel customer experience whether a consumer is shopping online, in a store, at a kiosk or through any other sales channel including mobile devices.

Retail companies are increasingly turning to solutions based on SOA to enable them to integrate fragmented applications and processes and increase reuse across their enterprise. IBM's Retail Integration Framework combines more than 50 years of experience with thousands of retail clients and award-winning middleware to deliver a retail blueprint that can accelerate the deployment of agile business processes. The new framework features retail-specific components, templates and patterns to improve the integration of business processes including new product introduction, cross-channel selling, point of sale (POS) integration, store-to-enterprise integration and retailing business intelligence.

Since the Framework is SOA based, it allows smooth integration with existing applications and allows retailers to enjoy some new approaches integrating with new technologies.

IBM's Retail Integration Framework is designed to benefit both the consumer and the retailer. For example, through IBM's relationship with Nortel to create communications-enabled applications, a consumer can receive information from a retailer on upcoming sales or the status of an order via email, instant messaging, voicemail or virtually any other preferred method of communication. From the retailer's perspective, the information contained in the customer's alert is connected to the company's store operations, POS applications and radio frequency (RFID) inventory solutions and surveillance systems. If the consumer decides to make an additional purchase or cancel an order, the retailer is able to securely and accurately execute the request and ensure that all of the related information is instantly and consistently updated across the entire company and with its trading partners such as banks and overnight shipping services.