Ecommerce pros are looking for omnichannel order management system (OMS) vendors that can become strategic partners and offer tools that give insights into best practice and optimisation, according to Forrester.

The Forrester Wave: Omnichannel Order Management, Q3 2016 identified IBM and Manhattan Associates as the leaders in the OMS market. Oracle, Radial, SAP Hybris, Kibo, NetSuite, and Aptos offer competitive options; and Singpost-owned Jagged Peak qualifies as a solid contender in this space.

The vendors that lead the pack offer full-functioned, easy-to-use operational tools, packaged with robust reporting and analytics to maximise profitable omnichannel programs, according to Forrester.

The role of OMS has pivoted significantly — rather than shuttling orders to legacy systems such as warehouse management systems and enterprise resource planning systems, it now must orchestrate order fulfillment scenarios that allow customers to receive items more quickly and wherever they choose,” write authors Brendan Witcher and Adam Silverman.

The report notes that vendors must tackle the challenge of continually innovating fast enough to keep up with their clients’ changing needs. Omnichannel merchants rely on their order management systems to orchestrate complex order processing scenarios, such as click and collect and ship from store, from the point of capture through the supply chain to the point of fulfillment.

OMS solves the omnichannel deficiencies of traditional commerce systems. Traditionally ecommerce and POS systems have served their respective channels with little focus on supporting cross-channel inventory, order, and return processes. Whereas modern OMS is the central repository for inventory and order.

“The omnichannel OMS consolidates — often in real time — the available inventory from disparate WMS, POS, and ERP systems into a single, enterprise view across selling channels. With that singular view, the merchant can determine if a product should be made available for sale — and if so, when and how it can be fulfilled,” the report says.

Forrester Wave OMS

Using past Forrester research, user need assessment, vendor and expert interviews the report compares the top nine OMS providers. Among the findings for each provider:

IBM’s Order Management system powers many Fortune 100 organisations across a wide variety of industries, with extensive features for enterprise clients. According to Forrester, client reference calls revealed that IBM is seen as a leading innovator and excels at communicating its vision and planned enhancements to clients.

Manhattan Associates’ solution has proven scalable to meet the needs of top-tier retail clients. Endless-aisle and store-fulfillment capabilities are a key differentiation, further bolstered by its global Bay acquisition in 2014.

Oracle serves both enterprise and midmarket players with a respectable omnichannel OMS solution. “Oracle brings to the table some best-of-breed capabilities with respect to APIs, integration, inventory segmentation, and the ability to take remedial actions. However, the product overall lacks maturity within parts of the tools,” Forrester said.

Radial’s solution excels in store fulfillment, offering best of breed for most capabilities. However, as part of the divestiture from eBay Enterprise, Radial lost the strong endless-aisle and clienteling capabilities. Client references noted their satisfaction with the OMS itself but felt that Radial approached the market as a solution provider, rather than as a full strategic partner.

SAP Hybris comes bundled with its eCommerce platform, and thus is a good candidate for B2C and B2B hybris commerce platform customers who value a close integration with the commerce application. The OMS is highly customisable — however, the out-of-the-box SAP Hybris OMS is not developed enough to qualify as a leader.

Kibo’s solution — available since January this year — can be a good fit for midmarket retailers or enterprise retailers seeking to roll out cost-effective ship-from-store or store-pickup capabilities.

NetSuite’s order management solution is a good fit for midmarket clients that have complex online fulfillment scenarios such as drop-ship relationships and multiple web distribution centres, but it is not currently best in class for those retailers that want to launch significant omnichannel fulfillment programs in stores, says Forrester.

Aptos’s exclusively cloud-based solution targets midmarket B2B and B2C companies and provides a commerce suite along with distributed order management capabilities for retail and brands.

Jagged Peak offers a capable mid-market full-service commerce solution, including a standalone OMS for luxury and branded manufacturers. The acquisition by Singapore Post in late 2015 gives Jagged Peak more exposure to international markets and more support for services to its US clients.

The challengers

Forrester’s report also highlighted other vendors worthy of consideration, noting the OMS market is becoming more diverse as ecommerce and POS vendors move into the fulfillment space. In some cases, the vendors mentioned below were not eligible for the wave report because they have not matured enough to meet criteria such as total annual OMS revenue of $US15 million.

Forrester said online businesses may consider an OMS solution from Demandware, recently acquired by Salesforce. Forrester noted, “it is too early to tell if this acquisition will have a material impact on the investment in Demandware’s OMS solution going forward.” However, Forrester analyst Adam Silverman has published a more recent blog post on the implications of the acquisition here.

Magento is another ecommerce platform which is working on its OMS offering after it was spun out from eBay last year. Forrester also acknowledged Freestyle Solutions OMS, a cloud-based order and inventory management system, and Order Dynamics, which provides a SaaS OMS for midmarket and enterprise-level multichannel retailers.

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