JDA Software and IBM have today announced a co-initiative that the businesses say will help organisations process and fulfil product orders more efficiently.

In a joint statement made at JDA's Focus Connect conference in Barcelona, the companies said the partnership will enable retailers to develop an "integrated omnichannel supply chain" to provide more flexible fulfilment options to their customers.

JDA and IBM promise to deliver this service by combining the former's Intelligent Fulfillment and Labor Productivity solutions with the latter's Commerce and Order Management tools, which they say will allow users to adjust inventory and resource allocations in real time. Delivered on premise or in the cloud via SoftLayer, an IBM company, the solution is expected to be available as part of IBM's 110 SaaS applications by late spring 2015.

With Verdict Research suggesting that the value of click & collect sales is expected to grow by 82% between 2014 and 2019 to £6.5 billion, Wayne Usie, senior vice president of retail at JDA argued that the new initiative comes at the right time for an industry where fulfilment choice is key.

Meanwhile, a consumer survey released this month by eDigitalResearch and IMRG shows that shoppers online retail expectations are evolving, too, with the majority of people questioned for the research assuming that e-tail orders would arrive on time for Christmas 2014 if placed up to 17 December. Almost a third of online shoppers expect to be able to place an order up until Saturday 20 December and still receive their goods in time for the festivities.

"Retailers need to become much more sophisticated and intelligent about how they source product for omnichannel fulfilment," Usie explained.

"Today there is far too much guess work, too many static policies, and no intelligence applied to the process. This landmark initiative [between IBM and JDA] cracks the code on intelligent sourcing, simultaneously allowing our customers to factor in supply chain planning and execution status, planned events like promotions and markdowns, and labour availability at the point of sale to maximise profits and customer satisfaction."

Spencer Izard, head of European Retail Insights at research group IDC, told Essential Retail that the partnership – which is not exclusive – was "a strong move by JDA" and "a solid first step" for the supply chain business, providing other opportunities for IBM/JDA engagements with Tier 1 retailers.

He commented: "JDA has taken what I believe to be a strong and pragmatic stance by publicly saying that it understands the technology markets it is strong in and how that supports an omnichannel strategy but that it also understand retailers want to hear how one core element of omnichannel, i.e. supply chain and fulfilment, requires other complimentary technologies to provide an end-to-end omnichannel retail operation."

"JDA is strong in the lower tier levels of retailers where IBM is faced with more competition and less dominance in relation to commerce and order management style platforms.

"So to this end I believe JDA should broaden their partnership arrangements with other vendors who have similar style commerce and order management offerings but that are competitive across the tiers below Tier 1."

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