Analysis: Manhattan buys Global Bay assets

Manhattan Associates took a leap into the front of the store with its purchase of Global Bay’s assets from VeriFone. It puts an exclamation point on the statement, 'The store is now an active part of the supply chain' and moves the once sleepy WMS vendor into competition with some pretty heavy hitters.

All that's well and good, but what does it mean for you? The first words that come to mind are "interesting new options"” and "a chance to have one less throat to choke".

Let's take a look at the back story. Global Bay was co-founded by Sandeep Bhanote and Nimit Sabharwal. Its initial retail offering was mobile point of sale (PoS). Kevin Swanwick, former EVP of sales and marketing for CRS Retail Systems joined the company in 2009 to help launch its retail practice.

In 2011, VeriFone bought Global Bay. Its stated intent at that time was to add on store inventory management to the suite and of course, tightly integrate with VeriFone's secure mobile payment technologies. You can find a capsule statement of VeriFone's vision here on YouTube.

But a funny thing happened on the way to software domination. After the Target data breach, the payment space got spicy, and EMV began to take centre stage. It most definitely is all-consuming for a company like VeriFone.

As reported by Reuters' David Randall, stock analysts upgraded their outlook for VeriFone after the breach. And none of that was about software, or enabling mobile commerce. It was all about the avalanche of new terminals that will be heading into the retail space in the coming two to three years.

In that context, it makes perfect sense for VeriFone to re-focus on its core business, and divest itself of the software assets it purchased. Hardware may not be sexy, but the EMV implementation will be a three year gravy train. Enter Manhattan Associates to buy the software. These kinds of opportunities really don't come along every day, and Manhattan grabbed it.

Along with the suite of applications developed both before and during the VeriFone era, Kevin Swanwick has joined Manhattan Associates. He brings a lifetime of retail PoS experience to Manhattan [full disclosure: Kevin and I worked together during his time at CRS when I was a retail IT director, and we also obtained our Bachelor's degrees from the same university].

Global Bay brings Manhattan a stable of retail clients including Coach, Tory Burch, VF Corp, Pacific Sunwear and the Hudson Group (owners of Hudson News and operators of several other airport shops). We expect to see Manhattan integrate it tightly with its Store Fulfilment and Distributed Order Management modules. We also expect to see it become a full-service PoS, enabling cash transactions and other standard PoS modules.

The PoS market is moving forward, and in some ways, it's moving in two different directions. There's the 'store as an active node in the supply chain' model, and also the 'single customer interaction platform across all channels' model. One does not preclude the other, but core competencies will differ. At this moment, the list of tech vendors that support both is short. Manhattan has the funds and wherewithal to move the Global Bay product forward.

Overall, this deal is great news for retailers and it puts an exclamation point on the start of a new era in retailing.

This article originally appeared as 'Manhattan buys Global Bay assets: what it means for you' on the RSR Research website. It is reproduced with the organisation's permission.