Wednesday, March 25, 2020

RETAIL AT SPEED: An Expansive Model for Unified Commerce

The retail business has always been tough, but customer expectations and new technologies are changing the relationships between buyers and sellers, forever and at an increasingly rapid rate. In particular, and for example, Amazon has put technology first with easy online access, “one click” buying, a huge inventory plus 3rd party marketplace, same day delivery, and “grab and go” cashierless checkout.

While there is no foreseeable end to this technology disruption, there are a few solutions that provide a framework for continuous change. The ability for a retailer to execute change is the newest, most effective competitive advantage.

To understand change, you need to understand what you already have in place and how it is, or should be, connected. The way to do this, to ensure everyone in every department understands, is to create models of the business, customer interactions, operations, and technology.

Once created, these business models let you design, understand, and test your business strategy and assumptions. What’s more, this business model helps everyone in the company see where they fit and how their operations consume or contribute to a given capability or output such as inventory management, customer service or unified commerce.

At Thematix, we have been certified as Business Architects and believe our “business-first” approach provides the greatest value to both process and technology innovation. Business-first means understanding how value is created and what is required to create it; this goes far beyond an organization chart of duties and responsibilities and helps illuminates the “why” you are in business.

It is easier to understand how the business delivers value, now and in the future, by identifying specific capabilities that the business needs: this is the “what” you do. An example is “unified commerce” which is the capability of giving customers a singular buying experience regardless of the store, mobile, web, or other channel. Unified Commerce has consequences for the business that are both deep and wide.  It crosses and integrates virtually every aspect of the company including inventory, logistics, user interactions, payment, and display to name a few otherwise independent capabilities.

The good news is that many of capabilities on which Unified Commerce relies upon have been documented and shared in multiple models, schema, and RFP templates via the Object Management Group Retail Group ( and via our proprietary models thanks to our associate Richard Halter.

The chart below shows multiple models, schema, and RFP’s
There are 8 high level components including
-       Blueprints – including Mobile, Social and KPIs
-       Design Documents – including drawing and models for Privacy and Security
-       Technical Reports – Customer Characteristics, Transaction schemas, and Payment integration
-       Best Practices – Location, SOA, and microservices and more
-       Interface standards – POSlog schema, Video analytics, and 27 more
-       Device Interfaces – UnifiedPOS, and more
-       Data Models – Operational and Warehouse Data Models
-       Request for Proposal templates – many are free as detailed in the article.

Thank you for reading this far. This is the second of 4 articles about Unified Commerce. The first one -- Retail at Speed: Unified Commerce is Here Don’t Get Left Behind – provides foundation concepts and details about the value of Unified Commerce.

In a future post – Part 3 of 4 -- we will examine the role that business architecture plays in providing a comprehensive blueprint for the entire enterprise in its transition to Unified Commerce.  It is business architecture that ensures that the entire business acts as a cohesive system, and not just the IT department.  In the end, this is because Unified Commerce is not fundamentally about technology; it is about business strategy.

Stay tuned for more information. Contact us by phone, text or email from

Connect at
-       Richard Halter
-       Rob Kost
-       Larry Smith


Thursday, February 27, 2020

Retail at Speed: Unified Commerce is Here Don’t Get Left Behind

Retail at Speed: Unified Commerce is Here Don’t Get Left Behind

Everyone’s heard of this thing called Omnichannel where you can interact with your retailer whenever, wherever and however you prefer.  Omnichannel has been in the news quite a bit and is the foundation for BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In Store).  Now the industry is morphing into this thing called Unified Commerce.  Over the next few postings, I’m going to take you through the journey from the concept of Unified Commerce to the incorporation of a Unified Commerce Model in your store.
What’s the difference between Omnichannel and Unified Commerce?  Omnichannel is pretty much what it says, that is, it allows selling through almost any kind of channel to which a customer has access.  Be it a web site, a mobile application, or a physical store.  Unified Commerce extends omnichannel to the whole retail value stream.  This next generation of retail brings in new capabilities like where devices can order items using the Internet of Things devices,  adds artificial intelligence to help make mundane decisions like which milk to buy, then uses robots to execute the building of the shopping cart and delivering those items to you.
Figure 1 Unified Commerce Process Flow
This Unified Commerce model starts with a group of Internet of Things devices like Echo or a Refrigerator.  For example, the refrigerator can send a notice that milk is getting low.  In addition, a channel (website) can add an item such as bread to your shopping list.  Your shopping list can be communicated to the retailer either automatically by some business rule, i.e. send list when 3 days of milk is left or manually by you.  The list can be sent to one or more of your favorite retailers, for example whichever has the best deal for the day or if no best deal, then to the retailer at the top of your favorites list.  It could even do an inventory check to make sure the item is in stock before sending the list.
Once the shopping list arrives at the store, the store’s artificial intelligence creates a path to the items.  This path starts with the customer’s brand preference.  Next a check to see if that brand item is in stock and there is sufficient quantity available.  At which point, a route is built for the picking of those items.
This shopping list and route is then sent to the robot for actual picking. The robot follows this route, avoiding obstacles along the way, picking the items on the shopping list when it goes by them.  At the end of the route, the robot looks up your payment option and submits the total with the payment option to the payment processing system.  The payment processing system processes the payment with the bank.  When approved, the payment system splits off the taxes and sends them appropriate tax jurisdiction.
Once the payment is approved, your delivery method is evaluated.  If you wish to use a Drone, the items are packaged for delivery by this technique.  Or if you wish to have the order sent to your self-driving car, the parking location of your car is found.   Then the items are taken to that parking location.  Or maybe you want to use the retailer’s done delivery automobile to bring you the order.  At which point the drone automobile delivers your order.
This is the future Unified Commerce model. 
-  My next posting will cover “I want to convert to this model; how do I migrate to this Unified Commerce Model?” 
-  Once I know what a Unified Commerce Model is and I’ve figured out how to migrate, the next step is to figure out “How to make a Unified Commerce System work?”
-  I now have a great working Unified Commerce model; the next and final posting is about “How do I buy the Unified Commerce Services?
Final Note: Migrating from a Siloed enterprise model to a Unified Commerce model must be done carefully to avoid the potential complexity where the migration fails on its own weight.
I have created an iVURM model (interactive Virtual Unified Retail Model) to help you move from where you are to the future.
If you are interested in moving to a Unified Commerce Model or are interested in seeing the iVURM model or If you want to be added to my mail list, please let me know and I will send future postings. 
Richard Halter
(405) 376-1141

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Accelerate your RFPs

A Request for Proposal (RFP) is far more than a purchasing activity to get the best price, it’s the catalyst for focusing stakeholders on purpose and requirements.

The Association of Retail Technology Standards (ARTS), managed by the OMG Retail Domain Task Force (RDTF) offers 13 template RFPs to accelerate and focus your process and ultimate success.

  1. Master Agreement for Standard RFPs
  2. Business Intelligence
  3. Cloud Computing Solutions
  4. Distributed Order Management (DOM)
  5. LP Exception Reporting
  6. Master Data Management
  7. Payment Solutions for Retail
  8. Point of Service (POS)
  9. Price Optimization
  10. Signature Capture and Online/Offline Debit Solutions
  11. Video Analytics Solutions for Retail
  12. Warehouse Management Systems
  13. Workforce Management Software

Under Richard Halter’s leadership each of these RFPs were jointly created by Retail buyers and solution sellers, therefore each RFP reflects real world needs and available options.

In addition to the OMG Retail RFPs above, we have developed additional drafts for topics including eCommerce, ERP, Foodservice, HR, and Product Content Management. Stay tuned for additional details or email here.

Because each situation is unique, and each retail sector evolves differently, customization is needed. To bypass much of the complexity, Thematix can apply its expertise to assist you and accelerate your understanding of each RFP and the points of modification through 2 major activities:

1.     Business Architecture to better define requirements. Our analysis highlights existing capabilities and what is needed to reach a future state through the purchase of new products/services as defined in the RFP. This will further help expose any gaps which may be needed outside of the core RFP requirements.
2.     ARTS models and specifications to expose additional architectural structures and relationships, specifically we have expertise in:
-       UnifiedPOS™
-       Operational Data Model™ (ODM™)
-       Data Warehouse Model (DWM)
-       XML Schemas
-       Retail Business Process Models
-       The Business Process Model & Notation™ (BPMN™)
-       OMG Unified Modeling Language™ (UML®)
-       Data residency

By defining requirements using Business Architecture, you can inform and leverage the appropriate ARTS models, and accurately customize the RFP template.

You will benefit from the alignment of multiple constituents and achieve increase time to value.

Vendors will be able to understand and reply faster and more accurately since they are likely to be familiar with the standard RFP templates.

Our Retail at Speed Program will Accelerate your RFPs

Connect with us for more details and discussion on how we can move forward.

Larry Smith

Richard Halter

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 from 
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM (EST) / 9 AM - 10 PM (PST)

RETAIL AT SPEED: An Expansive Model for Unified Commerce The retail business has always been tough, but customer expectations and...