With an eye on the retail boom in India, US-based technology giant IBM on Tuesday unveiled the Store Integration Framework (SIF), a first-of-a-kind and comprehensive solution built specifically for the retail sector.
“The solution is a middleware developed specifically for retail that integrates all of a retailer’s devices, applications and solutions to create intelligent and responsive stores,” said K.S. Raghunandan, director-solutions, IBM India/SA.
Middleware software sit between applications like, for instance, word processing programs that work on different operating systems like Unix, Windows, z/OS and so on.
The suite of solutions would help Indian retailers address key issues related to security, channel integration, and customer management, he said.
The suite includes solutions such as IBM Digital Video Surveillance (DVS) solution, the Integrated Multi-channel Retailing Solution and IBM AnyPlace Kiosks Solution, to help retailers leverage IT for greater competitive advantage, IBM said.
Retail firms invest close to 3-5 per cent of their total revenues towards IT and related infrastructure. “With increasing competition, companies need to and are actively looking for IT solutions that allow them to focus on strategic and innovative business models,” Raghunandan said.
The company is also talking to major retailers to implement solutions in their stores across the country. IBM said it would help companies reduce costs while providing superior technology.
“Indian retailers had doubled retail space during the last fiscal and given their aggressive expansion plans, we expect this to continue into 2008,” said Macquarie analysts in their latest report on Indian retail. “Cost pressures on the low base of retail space are likely to affect earnings for the next two years,” the report said.