Articles written in Sadhana
Volume 30 Issue 2-3 April 2005 pp 159-177
It is a well-known fact that the retail industry always works on razorthin margins and the key to survival lies in optimization of resources both in space and time dimensions as well as maximization of customer satisfaction. Access to timely and even real-time information to a wide variety of channel and trading partners, sales personnel, line managers, store managers etc. is the key to achieving this. Web services technology holds out a lot of promise for the retail industry in this respect. It is a platform-neutral, easy to deploy set of standards for achieving business data and process integration, without going for proprietary point to point connections. It promises to connect the information providers and information consumers across a wide variety of platforms, devices and on an on-demand basis. Being based on service-oriented architecture (SOA) principles it can also form the enabling service interface layer for other emerging technologies like BAM, BPM, mobile and RFID. In this paper, we attempt to understand information-flow needs in the retail industry and also suggest a roadmap approach by which the retail enterprise could exploit the potential of web services at minimal risk.