Ernie Schell’s Guide to SaaS Provider and Systems

Nov 17, 2011 4:17 AM  By

Here’s a rundown of comprehensive order-management systems that serve the multichannel merchant arena with SaaS platforms. These are listed in alpha order within two categories: provider-hosted-only solutions and solutions with multiple hosting options.

Provider-hosted-only options:

CIO Direct: A completely Web-based system designed for the third-party fulfillment industry. System can be set up for fulfillment-only or full service (order-taking, credit-card processing, customer service and fulfillment). Full service includes modules for cross-docking, assembly, limited-edition tracking, consignment inventory, continuity, installment plans, drop-shipping, automated remote printing for multiple fulfillment centers, container receiving, collection handling, membership programs, gift-card management, offer management, fraud/credit filters, and warranty upsell and management.

CORESense On-Demand Retail Management Software: Includes modules for retail POS, e-commerce/m-commerce, order management, merchandising and CRM/marketing, and fulfillment from multiple warehouses. Also supports affiliate management, supply-chain management, digital-asset management, product configuration, eBay sales, Amazon seller integration, order lifecycle automation, EDI, search-engine optimization, role-based access control, customer loyalty programs and tax-exempt customers.

iCongo: Started as an e-commerce platform, but now offers order management, call center/customer service, warehouse management, distribution and fulfillment components, plus returns management and advanced shipping logic/functionality to support shipping from multiple warehouses and/or store locations. Also offers an “endless aisle/guided selling” module, plus marketing and merchandising components. Merchants can configure inventory silos, target customers by channel preference, share loyalty, gift-card and other data across channels, and fulfill and return orders from any designated location.

NetSuite: The largest provider of cloud-based order-management. NetSuite uses Oracle’s database to run comprehensive management-module sets for 10,000+ multichannel merchants of all sizes. Functionality spans all inventory management/fulfillment and CRM, plus professional services management, manufacturing, analytics and accounting. Counter-intuitively, they also support more user-focused customization than many other cloud providers.

OMX (Order Motion): Includes email and campaign management, continuity management/analytics, and order source analysis. OMX highlights critical information and trends in item, order and customer data within a merchant’s database and presents it in visual dashboard displays. Customizable widgets housed in the dashboards enable merchants to better manage role-based workflow, from marketing and merchandising tasks to accounting, customer service and warehousing.

On-Demand eCommerce Platform (Orderdynamics): Includes email marketing, content management, promotions management, “searchandizing,” personalization, affiliate and loyalty management, and management of multiple e-commerce platforms. A mobile commerce module provides a completely integrated m-commerce site (runs on the same platform, under HTML5), providing channel segmentation to launch mobile-only promos.

OpenMCR: This is an open-source system, i.e., programmable/customizable by users, who have full access to the source code. It is built on Compiere Professional, an open ERP solution, and features automated upgrade technology, multi-language support, workflow management, role-based security (at field level), comprehensive online help, and comprehensive audit controls in a fully services-oriented architecture.

Variable hosting options:

These solutions can be hosted in-house by the user, hosted by the vendor, or hosted in the cloud by a third-party SaaS provider. Due to the number of these options, and the varying ranges of functionalities each provides depending on the hosting scenario, it’s not feasible to detail these providers’ specifics. We recommend going to these solutions’ Web sites and follow up with the providers for more detailed information/questions.

Assist Commerce Suite, Assist Cornerstone Technologies

BusinessFlow, Mainstreet Commerce

Celerant Command Retail, Celerant Technology Group

Circle Commerce Manager, Circle Commerce Inc.

CWDirect and CWSerenade, Micros Retail

Directions, Peppler & Assocs.

Ecometry Commerce Suite, RedPrairie

InOrder, Morse Data Corp.

IslandPacific Direct, Island Pacific

Junction Solutions for Multichannel Retail, Junction Solutions, LLC

OmnicaMCR, Omnica Ltd.

OrderPower!, Computer Solutions Inc.

Ernie Schell (ernie@schell.com) is executive director of Marketing Systems Analysis (http://www.schell.com/msa/), which specializes in all aspects of third-party systems acquisition consulting for multichannel merchants.