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How distributed is DOM?

The other day, I had someone requesting me on package comparison in the DOM space on “key” functionalities.  The so called “DOM”  or “distributed order management “ can  be misunderstood, generally because it can be confusing to demarcate the DOM process boundary! Interestingly, even package vendors interpret and draw their own boundaries, often overstate when it comes to DOM package functionality. 
The first and the foremost, people confuse DOM offering as the process that covers the entire functionality from customer (or partner) “Inquiry for the product or services” to “Cash” business process. However, what I have seen in the past, the product leaders in this space always focus on providing functionality that compliments the existing infrastructure that supports customer order lifecycle process.  Anyone implementing DOM will encounter the question - do I really need DOM?

why can’t I leverage my existing system or enhance it? However, the strategy should be to meet customer demand (and also make it future proof) from various order channels, efficiently making use of inventory and deliver the product in a most optimal way…DOM typically sits on top of existing ERP or legacy.  The best way to visualize DOM is to look at as the back end “engine” which orchestrates (terminology borrowed from the leading DOM products) order confirmation through order release to warehouse.
Now, even after the boundary is drawn (I restrict the DOM boundary to “order confirmation through release to warehouse”), there can be still lot of debate and confusion around what really is functionality that should be considered as “core” DOM functionality. To explain this better, I start thinking multi channel order capture and multi channel fulfillment process.  The true DOM solution covers at least 4-5 of the following functionalities –
1. Provide eCommerce / Order capture channels the right information - Inventory availability and “near-real time” update to order capture channels considering various fulfillment options for the customers and partners– examples:  DCs, stores, transfers, drop ship, Purchase orders, future inventory etc.  Single source of order and inventory irrespective of channel requesting the information. Ability to provide delivery date commitments.
2. Configurable business process and rules for order processing – Ex: configurable order scheduling rules, real time order tracking and status updates, order updates, multi step fulfillment and co-ordination. Ability to configure rules on dynamic matching of customer demands with the various supplies.
3. Proactive event management - Intelligent event management to monitor order lifecycle process and inventory positions
4. Strong integration capabilities - Provide mechanisms easily integrate with core ERP/Stock master/WMS to synchronize the latest inventory information. This enables true global picture and allows DOM engine to make intelligent decisions to fulfill the order based on the demand
5. Delivery options and service scheduling – Provide ability to Ship to home, pick up at store and scheduling the deliveries/services or combination. Flexibility in defining shipment consolidation rules and order release process.
6. Reverse logistics – Ability to handle even cross channel returns, exchanges etc
The advanced DOM covers more decorative functionalities in this space. Some of the examples are (not exhaustive list) – 1) Order management functionality available through handheld devices 2) Gift registry 3) physical/dynamic kits and product configurations  4) fraud handling 5) Channel specific order modification rules 6) ability to hard / soft allocate products 7) inventory segmentation   8) VAS, Gift handling etc 9) Back order handling and so on 10) Ability to handle multiple tender types – credit card, debit, gift card etc
As you can see, many of the above DOM functionalities may cover a certain part of the entire business process covering eCommerce, Order Management, Inventory, Warehouse management, Payment etc.  It can be confusing where it enters DOM and when it leaves! The DOM is quite distributed!! 



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