IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 20 Nov 2007

Retail Assist partners with Board

Harvey Nichols

Retail-only solutions and service provider, Retail Assist, has concluded a partnership with software house, Board International, that will see Business Intelligence (BI) capabilities integrated within the company’s Merret supply chain solution and made available to other retail clients.

Explains Nigel Illingworth, Product Director at Retail Assist: “Business Intelligence is a critical function in today’s highly-measurable and accountable retail organisations. Whilst many of our Merret users have separate BI tools, there was a clear requirement for an integrated tool that could report on all elements of business: finance, stores and HR, in addition to the supply chain.”

Over a 3-month period, Retail Assist ‘beauty-paraded’ ten different BI solutions. With assistance from one of its largest clients, the company used a comprehensive weighted scoring system to evaluate the options. Board came out as the clear winner. The factors that convinced Retail Assist of Board’s suitability included richness of functionality, scalability, an inbuilt database which removes reliance upon Microsoft SQL, and Board’s commitment to developing the UK market.

Board International provides the industry’s only programming-free toolkit for development of Corporate Performance Management (CPM) and Business Intelligence (BI) applications. It has enabled more than 1,800 companies to integrate the support, control and management of core processes such as planning, budgeting, forecasting, monitoring, analysis and reporting into a single platform. Board is already well established in the retail sector and boasts clients such as Puma, Salomon, Miss Sixty, Mackays Stores and Charlotte Russe.

Integration of Board functionality within Merret is now taking place. All new Merret packaged MIS reporting will be performed via the Board system and existing reports will be transferred over time. The new capability will be branded as Merret BI and will provide a snapshot of business performance using metrics such as sales, stock, orders, margins, product mix, and variance to periods, plans and forecasts within a number of territories, channels and attribute views.

Continues Nigel Illingworth: “An integrated Business Intelligence capability of this degree of sophistication adds greatly to Merret’s competitive advantage. The arsenal of reports that we can offer extends to extracting data from the many applications that a retailer may be using. Merret BI can go beyond supply chain reporting to produce a universal view of the business.”

Concludes Alan Morris, Managing Director at Retail Assist: “Our aspirations are clear. By combining our retail expertise with Board’s functional expertise, we have an impressive offering that enables us to provide a ‘one stop shop’ when it comes to BI implementations and upgrades. We will also be able to demonstrate a clear dividing line between Merret and other supply chain solutions in relation to integrated MIS and BI reporting functionality.”

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