Get,Set,Go-Agile Implementation of Multi Channel Commerce Solution
Retailers across the globe have realized the importance of Multi Channel Commerce (MCC). They understand the benefits derived from a unified view of customer orders and inventory across different fulfillment types. In early 2000 Retailers used to have 3-5 year road map for MCC solution implementation. The prevalent model of implementation then was Waterfall. Retailer had the luxury of time and resources then to work on long term projects
In a dynamic and competitive economy prevalent in this age every Retailer looks forward to have the said MCC capability enabled in the shortest span of time. Retailers have to be agile in terms of business process to respond and adapt to these conditions. Retailers expect the same from the IT partners. Hence it is imperative that we find faster, flexible and adaptive way to implement MCC solution.
Embracing 'Agile methods' will be one of the right things to do in this era when business models are changing at rapid pace. Many IT projects are using Scrum - a form of "Agile Implementation" for delivering products to Business users. In the Enterprise applications area the acceptance of Scrum has been a lot slower. I think it is high time that implementation of Enterprise applications move towards a cent percent Scrum model.
I want to illustrate how Scrum can be used for implementing Multi Channel Commerce solution. In Scrum a core team of empowered people consisting of IT development team customers and business team work together. Major advantage of agile methodology is the projects become responsive to business needs, and the projects are of shorter duration.
We will look at different aspects of Scrum and how we can use it in enabling MCC capabilities for a Retailer.
Product Owner: Is a person who is in charge of "Product Back Log". Product back log is prioritized list of features required by the business users. Product Owner is the sole owner of "Product Back Log", and decides what are the features going into it and the priority of the same. To start with we can have the "Product back Log" as the feature list from Infosys DOM solution, a pre configured MCC solution base offered by Infosys. This can be pruned based on the business requirements.
Scrum Master: Is an important role that helps the team in prioritizing the work and removing the road blocks encountered by the team.
Sprint: In Scrum, project implementation is divided into set of Sprints. Each Sprint is independent unit which can be delivered to the business for use in a 4-5 week cycle. At the start of the project a workshop can be planned with Business users. The goal of this workshop will be to come with set of Sprints and the capabilities which each Sprint will deliver to the Business.
So for typical MCC implementation the Sprints can be divided into - Order capture, Order Validation, Fulfillment and so on. At the end of each Sprint business users are given solution which it can use.
I foresee following challenges for implementing MCC in Agile manner
1. To form a cross functional and close knit team.
2. To get a prioritized product back log
3. Decide on fixed duration of sprints.
Will Retailers and IT companies take up this challenge? I think Retailers who are most adaptative will thrive in the new economy. Get, Set, Go..embrace Scrum and achieve quick success.