Accenture, Avanade and Microsoft Announce Multi-Channel Retail Initiative



    
    Advanced solutions for a more connected shopper experience demonstrated
    at National Retail Conference.
    

    REDMOND, Wash. and NEW YORK, Jan. 12 /CNW/ - Accenture and Microsoft
Corp. today announced an initiative to help retailers tackle the challenge of
linking consumers to emerging technology platforms such as social networking
and online communities.
    (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO)
    Under the multi-channel retail initiative, Accenture and Microsoft will
work with Avanade -- a global IT consultancy created by Accenture and
Microsoft -- to help retailers extend the shopping experience to an ever-
widening number of locations and devices, including the Web, mobile computing,
and even new ways to shop in stores.
    This will allow retailers to deliver a wide range of services and
products consistently across every channel in which consumers interact with
retailers.
    "Digital lifestyle and work style will continue to converge in today's
retail industry and, as a result, the connected consumer is increasingly in
control," said Brendan O'Meara, managing director, worldwide retail industry,
Microsoft. "Consumers are driven by value and convenience. Retailers need to
respond by providing shopping experiences that adapt to the changes in
consumer behavior -- by providing social, mobile and cross-channel shopping
choices. Through delivery of connected shopping experiences, retailers can add
tangible value while enhancing their brand and cementing customer loyalty
through these challenging economic times."
    The greater integration with the consumer will enable retailers to cut
costs and improve customer service by providing tighter integration between
the in-store or online shopping experience and line-of-business applications,
including inventory and order fulfillment, customer relationship management
and loyalty programs.
    The retail initiative between the alliance partners will take advantage
of:

    
    -  dedicated resources within all three organizations that help build
       and deliver successful and repeatable solutions; and
    -  cross-organizational teams within the organizations focused on
       strategy and technology for Web, e-commerce, and digital marketing.
    

    The initiative was announced at the National Retail Federation's (NRF)
98th Annual Convention & Expo at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New
York City. It combines the depth of Microsoft's commerce technologies,
Accenture's global reach and retail industry experience, and Avanade's
business technology expertise on the Microsoft platform.

    NRF Demonstration Highlights Capabilities

    A new offering, which will be based on the new release of Microsoft
Commerce Server 2009, will be unveiled at the convention and will demonstrate
the capabilities and importance of real-time integration between online and
in-store shopping experiences.
    "Retailers are continuing to evolve toward tightly integrated cross-
channel operations and will be making significant investments in technology,
infrastructure, and organization over the next two years to implement this
strategy. Challenges remain, however, as retailers grapple with fragmented
systems architecture, align organizational structures, and integrate
warehousing, merchandising, analytic, and business intelligence systems;
in-store kiosks; web stations; and mobile devices into their cross-channel
environments," according to Chris Fletcher of AMR Research in The State of
Cross-Channel Operations: 2008.
    The new multi-channel retail initiative expands merchandizing and
marketing capabilities to include enhanced product/content management and team
collaboration. The demo includes:

    
    -  A centralized web store portal for managing day-to-day marketing,
       merchandizing and content management tasks.
    -  Workflow to approve, audit and publish online product information.
    -  Features for consistent, targeted cross-sells, up-sells, pricing and
       product information across channels; mobile devices for reviewing
       product information online and SMS messaging for order confirmation.
    -  Cross-channel product location, price comparison and purchasing with a
       "Cross-Channel In-Store Pickup" feature that will enable an online
       product catalog to be dynamically synchronized with the POS product
       catalog and inventory, continuously updating the inventory counts and
       product catalogs between the web store and physical store locations.
    

    The demo also will show how merchandising and marketing professionals can
manage their online content and promotional campaigns in real-time.
    Microsoft offers an unparalleled set of capabilities to engage customers
in a digital discussion that removes operational silos, reduces complexities
and lowers cost. For retailers focused on executing multi-channel and
cross-channel strategies, Microsoft provides a powerful set of enabling
technologies and solutions. Microsoft's investment in digital advertising
platforms, consumer mobile devices, search, social networking and online
content helps retailers and consumer goods companies "connect the dots" in
their cross-channel strategies.
    "When choosing with whom to do business, customers are increasingly
making their choices based on convenience and consistency of experience in the
store or online," said Janet Hoffman, global managing director of Accenture's
retail practice. "Consumers expect their online and in-store interactions with
a retailer to be a seamless experience and this is driving the retail
industry's demand for next-generation solutions that incorporate all the ways
in which customers purchase from stores. We offer the Microsoft and Avanade
solution as our leading e-commerce solution to retailers globally."
    Joe VanWinkle, corporate vice president of market development at Avanade,
said, "Retailers are looking for every opportunity to attract and retain
customers in a highly competitive and economically challenged environment. We
believe offering multiple ways for consumers to interact with retail brands
across multiple platforms will meet what today's consumers require."

    About Accenture
    Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and
outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive
capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive
research on the world's most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with
clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With
more than 186,000 people serving clients in over 120 countries, the company
generated net revenues of US $23.39 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31,
2008. Its home page is http://www.accenture.com.

    About Microsoft
    Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq:   MSFT) is the worldwide leader in
software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their
full potential.

    About Avanade
    Avanade is a global IT consultancy dedicated to using the Microsoft
platform to help enterprises achieve profitable growth. Through proven
solutions that extend Microsoft technologies, Avanade helps enterprises
increase revenue, reduce costs and reinvest in innovation to gain competitive
advantage. Avanade consultants deliver value according to each customer's
requirements, timeline and budget by combining insight, innovation and the
talent of our global workforce. Avanade, which is majority owned by Accenture,
was founded in 2000 by Accenture and Microsoft Corporation. Avanade has more
than 8,000 professionals serving customers in 22 countries worldwide.
Additional information can be found at http://www.avanade.com.

    /NOTE TO EDITOR: If you are interested in viewing additional information
on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft's corporate information pages.
Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication,
but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and
analysts may contact Microsoft's Rapid Response Team or other appropriate
contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspas/





For further information:

For further information: pr.mspx; CONTACT: Chris McManus of Narrate PR
for Microsoft Corp., +1-718-832-9154, chrism@narratepr.com; or Matthew Samuel
of Accenture, +44 7717 866766, matt.samuel@accenture.com; Web Site:
http://www.microsoft.com; http://www.accenture.com; http://www.avanade.com


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