Order Management Systems Evolve for a New Multichannel World

Jul 01, 2011 9:30 PM  By

In the past 12 months, we’ve witnessed the beginning of a substantial shift in the way multichannel businesses operate. With a 15-year history, the ecommerce channel is beginning to mature and will now have to accommodate more contemporary innovations.

Social media in its many guises has become a solid platform for both communicating with and promoting to customers, as well as for supporting transactions, primarily on Facebook (“f-commerce”). There are even predictions that f-commerce will eventually replace ecommerce for many merchants.

Mobile commerce has been launched in at least three different modes — with smartphones that display and sell merchandise, with websites tailored to smartphone browsers, and as a medium for promoting offers to customers.

Sales on third-party shopping sites continue to grow, while automating feeds to and from these sites becomes increasingly important.

Personalization of offers and web pages, though nothing new, continues to grow in importance as a reflection of a renewed focus on customer communications from the rise of social media.

Of course, the functionality to support personalization was already there, but it’s being used more aggressively now. The first three points, however, do require extensions to the software and, as a result, we have added a few lines to the comparison chart.

We did not ask about f-commerce this year, however, as it is still a bit too new for most vendors to support it, and there are about a half-dozen specialized programs expressly designed for this purpose. We’ll discuss those separately at a later date.

From a hardware perspective, Apple’s popular iPad has given tablet computers both panache and momentum. Your current ecommerce site may run just fine on it, since the iPad uses a modified version of Safari. If your website works in Apple’s browser on desktops, it’s probably fine on the iPad. But test it to be sure.

Some issues with the layout may arise if a JavaScript file misbehaves, for instance. And Flash graphics won’t run on anything Apple (without a techie hack). Most of all, make sure your shopping cart works properly in a tablet platform.

The eBay/PayPal juggernaut is also likely to continue to make significant inroads in the m-commerce field, while m-commerce itself matures with search and analytics tools coming onto the market specifically tailored for the mobile (and mobile/social) environment.

Of course, PCI and PA-DSS standards are a perennially important issue. For the moment, they are in a holding pattern, with nothing new to report.

The key point to remember here is that while PCI standards secure credit card data from thieves both outside and inside the company, they are just a minimum baseline from which a broader set of data security measures should be extrapolated. You don’t really want your customers’ email addresses to be breached, for instance, do you?

Before you sign for software

On another note entirely, be sure to check three things before signing a vendor’s contract for an order management and fulfillment solution: 1) get positive proof that a “flexible report writer” will really let users produce the reports they need (reporting problems remains one of the biggest complaints from management), 2) be sure that there is up-to-date documentation for the system version you will be using, and 3) take nothing for granted on functionality.

If a vendor claims to have a function you must have, make sure you see it demonstrated and talk to merchants who use it. There are still too many instances of “vaporware” in this business, unfortunately.

Finally, we must note that iCongo, an ecommerce platform that also includes call center, warehouse and fulfillment functionality, failed to respond to repeated requests to participate in this roundup. Sterling, purchased by IBM, also ignored repeated requests to update its profile.

The functional grades and ranks in the accompanying chart are based on the vendors’ own input (with rigid ground rules), giving you a chance to see where they believe their strengths lie.

Ernie Schell (ernie@schell.com) is director of consultancy Marketing Systems Analysis in Ventnor, NJ.

staff installs/user base pa-dss prices
SOFTWARE Total staff Programmers Support staff Total supported installs Total installs on current version Number with fewer than 12 users Number with 12-24 users Number with 25-50 users Number with 51-100 users Number with more than 100 users Avg. orders per day Percentage of b-to-b users Percentage of b-to-c users Percentage that sell to both Percentage doing at least 15% retail Percentage that are primarily e-commerce Avg. number IT staff on site Hosted solution Have had compliance assessment Applied for formal PA-DSS listing PA-DSS compliant but not assessed Will have formal compliance by what date? Hosted solution, PCI compliance confirmed Software installed $15K-$25K Software installed $26K-$50K Software installed $51K-$100K Software installed $101K-$250K Software installed more than $250K Transaction-based fee pricing
Abison CCS 6 3 2 4 4 2 1 1 500 0% 10% 90% 80% 0% 1-2 O Y Y NA RV RV —% 54% —% 46% —% —% NA
ActiveSeries 34 8 11 1/92* 78 6 8 38 22 4 2-3,000 10 80 75 95 3 N NA N Y OS NA 10 25 45 20 NA
AssistCommerce Suite 19 7 7 65 7 2 12 30 14 7 2,000 25 75 80-90 20 15 2 O Y Y NA 2011 TBD 35 35 30 NA
BusinessFlow 15 12 3 75+ 75+ NA NA NA NA NA 100-15,000 20 80 30 20 80 NA O Y N Y NA NA 10 70 20 20¢ Celerant Command Retail 78 17 22 286 198 91 34 40 100 17 NA 90 5 5 100 3 2+ O Y Y NA NA NA X NA
CIO Direct 7 6 0 200+ All 80 20 NA 20 60 20 30 60 0 Y N N Y NA Y X 15¢-50¢
Circle Commerce Manager 30 15 8 50 43 2 10 12 23 3 500 NA 90 10 90 0 1 O Y N N 8/11 NA X NA
Commerce Management System 12 3 6 250 250 124 89 25 12 0 70-100 20 70 10 10 30 1 N Y Y NA NA NA 60 20 15 5 NA
CORESense 50 12 3 75 60 40 15 5 3 2 150-300 10 90 10 40 60 0-1 Y NA N Y OS Y 90 8 1 1 25¢
CWDirect 700 140 35 80 10 NA NA NA NA NA NA 5 80 15 75 40 2-5 O Y Y NA NA NA 0 0 0 15 30 50 5
CWSerenade 700 140 35 20 15 NA NA NA 10 9 5,000 0 80 20 50 50 2-5 O Y Y N NA NA X 5
Direct500 20 6 4 13 NA NA NA NA NA NA 500-2,500 77 23 50 75 40 2 N Y Y N NA NA X NA
Directions 6 4 4 78 6 3 15 50 10 50-500 30 70 25 10 50 0 O N N Y 8/11 6/11 30 50 20 NA
Ecometry Commerce Suite 1,996 642 187 225 134 6 36 59 69 55 10,000 15 70 15 35 15 1-2 O Y Y NA NA NA X NA
InOrder 28 9 14 38 38 10 10 13 5 0 2,500 25 55 20 65 75 1 O Y N Y 6/11 Y X NA
Island Pacific Direct 55 14 6 3 2 3 25 75 100 15 Y Y Y NA 6/10 Y X Y
Junction Solutions 200 50 12 70 14 1 2 10 27 30 100-40K 20 60 20 80 15 10 O Y Y Y 5/09 Y 20 80 NA
MACH3 14 9 5 48 14 7 12 17 8 6 1,500 34 66 73 24 39 0.5 N Y Y NA 5/11 NA 0 0 12 63 18 7 0
Magstar Total Retail 30 12 12 30 4 3 6 10 8 3 NA 0 70 30 90 5 1-4 N Y N NA NA NA X NA
Mailware 13 2 4 2,000+ 200 1,500 400 100 NA NA 500 35 50 15 25 75 1 N N N Y NA NA 30 40 20 10 NA
MOM 60 9 27 3,873 3,412 2,866 581 270 154 2 100 20 60 20 10 40 1 N Y Y NA L NA X NA
MOSP 35 5 6 95 24 15% 30% 25% 20% 10% 500 15 80 5 30 0 0-1 N Y P Y NA NA X N
NaturalOrder 10 4 4 34 30 5 10 13 4 2 3,000 50 20 30 2 5 1 N Y N Y TBD NA 0 5 20 50 20 5 NA
NetSuite 1,000+ 20 50 7,000+ All NA NA NA NA NA NA 25 75 40 85 75 0 Y NA NA NA NA Y X NA
Omnica MCR 15 8 4 3 10 1 1 7 4 1 2,000 33 66 50 66 15 2 O N N Y Y NA 15 85 NA
OMX (Order Motion) 20 5 3 250 250 50 50 75 50 25 100-300 2 98 5 10 88 0-2 Y Y Y NA 5/09 Y X X
OpenMCR 2 1 1 1 1 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA O N N Y 4Q11 NA X NA
Order Dynamics 25 10 8 50 50 10 40 100 25 50 25 NA 100 NA Y NA NA NA NA Y X NA
OrderPower! 14 10 2 55 15 12 13 13 12 5 2,000 10 25 20 60 0 0 O Y N Y NA NA X NA
Response 6 2 3 630+ 120+ 73+ 20+ 15+ 10 0 100-250+ 12 88 40 10 25 1 N Y Y NA 4/10 NA 61 14 13 12 0 0 NA
Stone Edge Order Manager 20 4 12 1,700 1,000 1,275 340 68 17 0 50-500 10 90 10 NA 90 0-3 N Y Y N NA NA X NA
TernoVelocity 10 6 4 25 17 5 10 5 4 1 1K-5K 15 55 30 20 15 0.5-1 N Y Y NA NA NA 17 33 33 17 NA
VuePoint 12 3 3 10 10 0 3 5 2 0 4,000 20 80 10 22 60 2 N N N Y NA NA AVG NA

ABBREVIATIONS

R = Replicated database

X = See system summary

PT = Supported through partners

F = Future

UK = Users in the UK

OS = Out of scope; uses tokenization

* =ActiveSeries has 1 user in the U.S., 91 in the U.K.

AW = Through APIs and web services

S = Some

C = Custom

AVG = Average

I* = Requires “Integrator” module

PRT = Partial

L = Listed

O (P) = Optional (Preferred)

ST = See Text

D = Depends on no. of S/C

RV = Undergoing Reevaluation

W = Warehouse edition

SOFTWARE REVIEW ’11

ecommerce functionality modular rankings
SOFTWARE Integrated shopping cart Complete ecommerce module Shared database for call center and web Support for real-time web order import Support for SEO Individualized offers 3rd party shopping site feeds mComm version mComm app Display all SKU sizes/colors in OE Fulfillment functionality Support single inventory in multiple warehouses Integrated manifesting Supports non-U.S. addresses Supports multiple currencies Integrated accounting module % of users with few/minor modifications % of users with major modifications Order entry/ customer service Ecommerce Contact/campaign management Warehouse management Fulfillment Customer database management Merchandise planning/forecasting Marketing database/analytics Retail management/POS
Abison CCS Y Y R Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y N Y 0 —% A-1-1 A-1-1 B-2-1 B-1-1 B-2-1 D-3-0 A-1-1 A-2-1 C-NA-5
ActiveSeries Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N 5 A-1-1 A-1-1 B-2-1 A-1-1 A-1-1 A-2-4 B-2-1 A-1-3 E
AssistCommerce Suite Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y 60 A-1-1 A-1-4 A-1-1 B-2-1 A-1-1 C-2-5 A-2-1 B-2-3 D-3-5
BusinessFlow Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 70 A-1-NA A-1-NA A-1-NA B-2-NA B-2-NA B-2-NA A-1-NA B-2-NA E-3-NA
Celerant Command Retail Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 40 A-2-4 A-1-4 D-3-5 A-1-5 A-1-5 B-2 B-2 B-2 A-1-1
CIO Direct Y Y Y Y NA S Y NA NA Y Y Y Y Y N N 100 A-1-1 A-1-1 C-3-1 A-1-2 A-1-1 C-5-4 A-1-1 B-2-1 E
Circle Commerce Manager Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y N Y N Y 10 A-1-1 B-1-3 C-3-5 B-2-1 A-2-1 B-2-4 B-3-3 C-3-5 B-1-1
Commerce Management System Y Y Y Y Y Y Y ID Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y 85 A-1-1 A-1-2 A-1-1 B-2-3 A-1-1 C-3-5 A-2-2 A-2-3 B-2-3
CORESense Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N 70 30 A-1-1 A-1-1 B-2-2 B-2-1 A-1-1 C-3-1 A-1-1 B-2-1 A-2-4
CWDirect Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 75 10 A-1-1 A-1-1 C-2-2 B-2-1 A-1-1 C-3-2 A-2-1 A-2-1 A-1-1
CWSerenade Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 50 0 A-1-1 A-1-1 A-2-5 B-2-3 A-1-1 C-3-2 A-2-1 A-2-1 A-1-1
Direct500 Y Y Y Y Y Y N NA N Y Y N Y Y Y Y 75 25 A-1-NA A-1-NA B-2-NA A-1-NA A-1-NA A-2-NA B-2-NA A-2-NA C-2-NA
Directions Y Y Y Y Y Y Y C N Y Y Y Y Y N Y 10 30 A-1-1 A-1-3 B-2-1 A-2-1 A-1-1 B-2-2 A-1-1 B-2-2 B-2-5
Ecometry Commerce Suite Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 40 15 A-1-1 A-1-2 A-1-1 A-2-1 A-2-1 B-2-2 A-1-1 B-2-2 B-2-4
InOrder Y Y Y Y Y Y Y NA N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 85 15 A-1-1 A-2-2 B-2-2 A-1-2 A-1-1 A-1-1 A-2-1 B-2-3 B-2-4
Island Pacific Direct N Y Y Y N N N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 100 0 A-1-1 B-2-4 A-2-2 A-1-1 A-1-1 A-1-3 B-2-2 B-2-2 A-2-4
Junction Solutions Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 80 20 A-1-1 A-1-4 A-2-1 B-2-1 A-2-1 B-2-2 A-2-1 B-1-3 A-1-5
MACH3 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y 80 20 A-1-1 B-2-1 B-2-2 A-1-1 A-1-1 B-2-2 A-1-1 A-2-1 A-2-4
Magstar Total Retail N N Y Y N N N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 20 10 A-2-1 C-2-4 B-2-2 A-1-2 B-1-1 B-1-1 A-1-3 A-1-4 A-2-1
Mailware Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N Y Y Y Y Y Y N 90 10 A-1-1 A-1-4 A-1-2 A-2-2 A-1-1 B-2-4 A-2-1 B-2-2 C-2-4
MOM Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N Y Y Y Y Y Y N 15 5 A-1-1 A-1-4 A-2-3 B-2-3 A-1-1 B-2-3 A-2-1 B-1-2 B-2-5
MOSP Y Y Y Y N N Y N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 75 25 A-1-1 A-2-3 A-1-1 A-2-1 A-1-1 B-2-1 A-1-1 B-2-1 B-3-4
NaturalOrder Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y O Y Y Y Y Y Y 90 10 A-1-1 B-2-5 B-2-1 A-2-1 B-2-1 C-2-2 A-1-1 A-1-1 C-3-5
NetSuite Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 60 40 A-1-1 A-1-1 A-2-3 A-1-1 A-2-1 B-2-4 A-1-1 B-2-3 D-3-5
Omnica MCR Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 80 20 A-1-1 A-1-4 A-2-2 A-1-3 A-1-3 A-2-3 B-2-1 B-2-3 B-2-5
OMX (Order Motion) N N Y Y N N N N N Y Y N N Y Y N 85 15 A-1-1 A-2-1 A-1-2 B-2-2 A-1-1 A-1-2 A-2-2 B-2-3 B-2-3
OpenMCR Y Y Y Y N Y Y N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y NA 100 A-1-NA B-3-NA B-1-NA A-1-NA A-2-NA B-2-NA A-2-NA B-1-NA B-2-NA
Order Dynamics Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N 50 50 A-1-2 A-1-1 A-2-2 D-3-4 A-2-2 B-1-1 A-2-1 A-1-1 E-3-5
OrderPower! Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y 80 20 A-1-1 A-1-NA A-2-NA A-2-NA A-1-NA B-2-NA A-1-NA B-2-NA E
Response Y Y Y Y Y Y Y PT PT O Y Y Y Y N Y 40 60 A-1-1 B-1-2 A-1-5 B-2-1 A-2-1 C-2-4 A-1-1 B-2-1 C-2-4
Stone Edge Order Manager N N Y N N N N N N N Y N Y N N N 95 5 A-2-1 A-1-1 D-NA-4 A-1-5W A-1-4 C-2-5 C-2-4 E B-1-5
TernoVelocity Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y F Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 60 30 A-1-1 A-1-3 B-2-5 B-2-3 A-2-1 B-2-3 A-1-1 A-1-2 A-2-4
VuePoint Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y F Y 95 5 A-1-5 A-1-5 B-2-5 A-2-5 A-2-5 B-2-5 B-2-5 B-2-5 A-1-5

ABBREVIATIONS

C = Can be customized

F = Future

PT = Supported through partners

R = Replicated database

S = Some

O (P) = Optional (Preferred)

RANK

1 = We are a market leader here

2 = We are competitive

3 = Support basic functionality only

% installed base using this

1 = >90%

2 = 75%-89%

3 = 50%-74%

4 = 25%-49%

5 = <25%

KEY: Grade – Rank – % user base

GRADE

A = This is a major strength of our application suite

B = Above average in functionality and feature set

C = We offer and support this in our application suite

D = This is a minor element in our application suite

E = We do not support this in our application suite