We are happy to announce that the new Commerce and ERP Platform Releases, 3.0RR14Q3 and 3.0PR14Q3, are already available in QAA (QA Approved) status. Detailed release information can be found in our wiki: 3.0RR14Q3 (Commerce) and 3.0PR14Q3 (ERP).
These two releases come with a new set of capabilities that enhance the previous releases. Highlights:
Commerce Platform (3.0RR14Q3)
Security and Audit
- Now it is possible to control and authorize specific devices to connect to a specific POS Terminal thus increasing security in the use of physical devices
- A new audit functionality allows to log all receipts printed by the Hardware Manager in a file for auditing purposes
POS HW and Peripherals
- Enhanced drawer management with the ability to detect the drawer status and the option of opening the drawer directly from cash management
- Capacity to print PDF reports/files from POS through the HW manager
- Direct USB support to the HW manager, allowing peripherals to be connected through USB with Openbravo’s Web POS
- Improved hardware documentation and specification of the recommended hardware configuration for Web POS and peripherals
- Mobile capabilities have been enhanced by allowing to run Web POS in Chrome in full screen mode on Android devices. Before this, it was only possible using native Android devices.
ERP Platform (3.0PR14Q3)
- New Core Development Platform features help to further increase the platform flexibility and extendibility. In this case new improvements in the generation of parameter windows or the capacity to manage HQL based tables are included in this new release
- Improvements in unit testing are also provided for developers with a new infrastructure to write JUnit tests for Request objects that will make it easier to test REST web services and other data sources.
- Financials new features have been also included such as the ability to browse open balances for AR and AP in the General Ledger or an improved invoice payment report.
- And we have continued our effort in the area of system performance with different improvements that will help to provide higher performance and system responsiveness
During the next few days we have planned for additional materials that will help to better understand the benefits of all these new capabilities. Stay tuned!
We encourage you to start reviewing all these new features and use our social channels to share your thoughts with us on what we are doing and how you think we can make Openbravo solutions even better!
Categories: Company News, English, ERP General Updates, Other, Retail General Updates | Leave a comment
As the new value proposition and many new features roll in it is extremely important that our partners are familiar with those and that the developers are ready to implement and customize this powerful solution. Completing the two new Commerce Functional and Technical courses will allow the partner’s team to successfully estimate and deliver complex retail projects.
Functional Training Update
The functional training has been around for a while, covering the retail specific functionality included in the Openbravo Commerce Platform distribution. This course is targeted at existing Openbravo Certified Solution Consultants already familiar with the core business processes of the Openbravo ERP Platform.
The Openbravo Commerce Platform has received this year many updates to the platform as well as the functionality. However, we would like to highlight a few of them which are now also included in the functional training update:
Broader daily store operations support with a new functionality to open/close stores, and manage terminals that extend our current cash-up functionality (Session management module)
Enhanced security and operational control through a new set of approvals for different actions that help increase the quality of operations and minimize fraudulent activities
Higher merchandise agility with advanced discounts like combos or best deal cases and discounts at a ticket level that extend our powerful promotions engine
Higher solution performance with enhanced offline support that improves usability in poor connectivity scenarios with offline support to cash-up, cash-management and supervisor approvals
Faster implementation and higher business agility with new tools for easy creation of new terminals and stores and a POS training tool that makes it easier to deploy the system to end users
As the content of this course has expanded we also felt it deserved a new format with more interaction and more support to the student:
checkpoints graded by an Openbravo instructor to let the students know how they are doing
2nd level support in case the student gets stuck or has doubts
Check out the Course Guide for more details and enroll your team members working with the retail industry! The course is enrollable to everyone, partners should enroll through the partner portal and third parties through the webpage.
The New Technical Training
Implementing the retail backoffice and the frontend WebPOS is no walk in the park given the many variables and specifics of the individual retailers. Mastering the Openbravo Commerce Platform and its modular customization capabilities is a must for any implementation and development team which was our guideline in designing this new course.
This new Commerce Platform Technical Training is a self-study course targeted at Openbravo Certified Developers that:
are already experts in Openbravo ERP Platform development, AND
Here are a few highlights of the course:
Roughly 30 hours of student’s time is required to complete it within the 30-day access period given.
To provide a strong learning experience the course includes exercises, checkpoints and 2nd level support (an instructor that grades the checkpoints and resolves doubts and questions)
Resources are available in English only
The topics covered by the course are as follows:
Setting up the Eclipse development environment
New buttons and dialogs to display custom information
New payment types and payment gateways
Adding business logic through hooks
Implementing custom discount types
The hardware manager
Find more details about this new technical training within the Course Guide.
We look forward to seeing your team members in the courses and providing customers with the excellent service around the Openbravo Commerce Platform. Do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com with any doubts or questions.
Rok Lenardic, Openbravo Education Manager
Categories: English, Retail, Retail General Updates | Leave a comment
In my last posts I tried to explain how we at Openbravo understand and approach the top 3 IT investment priorities for retailers: Mobility, Cloud and Cross-Channel. The three of them are key elements in the design of our Commerce Platform. Having already explained their benefits and challenges today I would like to introduce 6 other key technical characteristics that any retailer must also take into account when evaluating a Commerce Platform.
Adaptability. Higher competition demands differentiation so retailers need a platform that is able to efficiently adapt to very specific and unique requirements that provide a competitive advantage. Loyalty programs, custom pricing and special inventory replenishment procedures are just some examples that can require the system to be adapted. In fact it is known that a lot of retailers have very customized legacy systems and they consider it impossible to move to a new system due to the complexity it represents. A very interesting article I found some days ago illustrates this situation perfectly.
Maintainability. The ability to efficiently adapt to specific requirements is very important, but it is even more important to be able to easily adopt new common functionalities delivered by your vendor. So the platform should provide a straightforward process to upgrade your system to newer versions of the software without any painful migration process. And adaptability should not ever conflict with Maintainability. The solution to avoid that conflict is modularity. Adaptation should be done through modules that guarantee that the customization is isolated so the system can be updated frequently and smoothly. Both together Adaptability and Maintainability provide real agility to survive in this fast changing reality.
Scalability. The market changes very rapidly and so do retailers. They demand platforms than can adapted to any stage of growth. Supporting a growing number of assortments, products and transactions and having the ability to increase the number of stores or terminals very quickly as well, without impacting the platform performance are a must to achieve higher business agility.
Security. Ensuring secured system access but most importantly accurate operational control to avoid any fraudulent activity at the point of sale or in the online transactions is a must for retailers. This includes the capacity to configure how users can use the system or perform concrete actions as well as detailed tracking of executed actions.
Interoperability. One of the biggest concerns when adopting a new solution is the capacity to continue using existing systems in other areas that allow the leveraging of prior investments. More complex supply chains also demand the capacity to easily integrate with customers and suppliers´ systems. And with a growing number of new retail technologies it is mandatory that the platform provides proper tools that allow you to leverage them (new payment methods, digital signage, social media integration, location based marketing…).
Usability. With one of the highest turnover rates and facing frequent stationary situations that require you to constantly adapt to the available staff capacity, retailers and especially brick-and-mortar retailers need systems that can be used with minimum training and can empower employees for better customer service. Point of sale solutions that allow you to process new sales in minutes or tools that allow people to get trained rapidly.
What do you think? As a retailer, would you consider them to be important factors to choose your commerce platform? How do you rate your current platform on these characteristics? I am really interested in your feedback.
Categories: English, Industry Trends, Retail | 2 comments
Let me share with you these materials corresponding to the webinar I conducted this week about the Openbravo Commerce Platform.
This webinar is a great opportunity for all of you to know our vision about the Retail industry and its challenges, the main conclusions of our recent retail study about IT systems priorities with the demonstration of the key role of the physical stores during the coming years despite of the online retail growth and to experience the solution through a live demo.
During the demo I presented some of the key Commerce Platform features both functional and technical, such as user interface capabilities to increase staff productivity, business intelligence capabilities to achieve higher business agility or merchandise and supply chain management capabilities to progress in cross-channel amongst others.
See how retailers can be benefited and especially the physical stores by adopting a stylish full web and mobile POS that combined with a powerful backoffice component allows to easily manage multiple discount types and pricing policies (BOGO, packs, combos, scaled prices…), verified returns, product variants and product characteristics, flexible security policies with supervisor approvals at POS, accurate control of the store and terminals opening and closing procedures or mobile warehouse operations to improve both the store inventory and the whole supply chain management accuracy, amongst other functionalities.
Please let me know your opinions, questions or suggestions for future product webinars or videos.
Categories: By industry, By solution, Industry Trends, Other, Retail, Retail General Updates | Leave a comment
This blog post belongs to a series of somewhat informal conversations with key partners to talk about their real experiences with us and how they have developed their markets successfully.
Andrea Feraco, Openbravo business unit director at Extra (http://www.extrasrl.it/), Gold Partner and Official Localizer of Openbravo in Italy, talks to Xavi Anaya, Channel Business Manager at Openbravo for EU and USA.
This video shows the evolution quite well since they once decided to actively seek a world-class Opensource ERP Platform. Andrea explains how they found an opportunity in the SME market through a reliable and yet affordable solution.
Today the situation has evolved and Andrea explains the importance of the Openbravo Extra business. Potential customers actually demand Openbravo solutions which makes the sales process quite a bit simpler.
Clear roadmaps, new modules, better solutions, web based, subscription model, affordable, easy to deploy, usability, Opensource, java, cost of integration, global but localized are some of the words used by Andrea in this short video… nothing to add.
Finally about the partner program, Andrea highlights the chances to easily collaborate with other partners (they do so in Spain, UK or Bulgaria), access to international projects, the importance of training and the most important thing to me, that due to our great relationship they recommend other companies to start partnering with us. Thanks Andrea, thanks Extra.
See below the Italian version Xavi and Andrea took the time to record.
And a 3rd video below compiling the best outtakes… sorry guys I couldn’t help it
By the way, please, don’t forget our webinar on the 22nd of July in which Andrea will elaborate on his experience with Openbravo to show how to make a business profitable by having Openbravo in your portfolio. Click here to register!
Categories: Company News, English, Other | Leave a comment
Today I finish the blog post series I started 3 weeks ago discussing the 3 top IT investment priorities for retailers. After my previous posts talking about Mobility and Cloud, I’ll cover Cross-channel today.
Retailers no longer need evidence that cross-channel capabilities are critical for success. Consumers today expect a seamless shopping experience across all channels. Their expectations at this level include:
- Price and product information consistency across channels
- Consistent assortment across channels
- In-store, ability to book out-of-stock items and get them shipped home from another store
- Track order status from home and receive notices about any changes
- Buy online and pick up in the store or buy online and return in store, as typical cross-channel scenarios
However, this does not mean that all retailers are ready for this new reality and most of them have a long way to go to become true champions in this field. Retailers face several challenges to achieve full cross-channel operation:
- Lack of a Single Platform. A single platform would facilitate seamless cross-channel scenarios but the reality is that by the moment retailers´ transaction platform will be a hybrid of multiple channel specific platforms. It is the natural result if you take into account how they made their large prior IT investments. An interesting aspect to consider is whether in the future the primary transaction system will be POS or E-commerce. At the moment, only big retailers can afford to progress in this field and we are starting to hear about new Order Management Systems that are trying to orchestrate the fulfillment process across different channels to provide a seamless omnichannel experience. Home Depot new COMS (Customer Order Management System) is a good example.
- Lack of Embedded Visual Analytics. Retailers need actionable customer intelligence that allows them to react quickly to customer behavior changes or evaluate the efficiency of any go-to-market strategy. Retailers require visual and role-tailored decision-making tools that communicate key performance indicators in simple terms and allow you to drill down when immediate action is required. In fact, based on our study. 71% of retailers think that cross channel initiatives are still low due to the lack of proper actionable analytics
- Poor Merchandise Management Agility and Supply Chain Management Efficiency. Merchandise Management Agility and Supply Chain Management Efficiency are considered two of the most important building blocks for a successful cross-channel strategy.
With retailers facing fierce competition today it is critical for them to be agile when managing a huge number of products, assortments, promotions and discounts across all channels. The information is getting more and more complex in order to offer more personalized products but the need for data consistency remains the same. Flexible and solid platforms are required to allow you to adapt to very specific requirements and distribute information to all channels in the shortest time to ensure strong information consistency.
Cross-channel operation does have an impact as well on Supply Chain Management. Retailers need an accurate vision of their inventory at every location to minimize out of stock situations while minimizing the inventory costs. Detailed and real time visibility about the stock at each physical store and warehouse would for example allow to fulfill online orders from stores and this way to reduce distribution costs and provide better customer service since online orders can be actioned in a shorter time.
What do you think? As a retailer what is your cross-channel strategy? Are you ready for these new challenges?
Categories: English, Industry Trends, Retail | Leave a comment
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My last blogpost about Mobility was the first one of a series of three to explain Openbravo’s take on the main 3 IT priorities for retailers identified in this study. Today I am elaborating on the second one in the list: Cloud computing.
Cloud is a disruptive technology for all businesses in all industries, it is transforming how companies invest and manage their IT assets. This is especially relevant for retailers who need to embrace technology that will allow them to react faster and be more flexible to succeed in today’s super-empowered consumer age.
As our study has revealed, 68% of retail executives plan to adopt cloud technologies into their business strategies and operations. With higher confidence in business benefits and an increasingly proven security, it is not difficult to think that these numbers will continue to grow.
The financial advantages of the cloud, primarily the ability to move capital to operating expenses, may initially drive cloud adoption for many retailers, but there are more benefits and they are commonly related to IT efficiency, IT agility and business innovation.
For a more detailed explanation about its benefits and challenges let me share with you two very interesting documents, Leveraging the Cloud from RIS and Methods and Practices: Cloud in Retail from IDC. Based on these some benefits that can be mentioned:
- Higher business agility: the cloud provides IT departments with the ability to provision and deliver solutions faster which is very attractive to retailers facing common seasonal situations that require constant capacity adjustments. Faster time to market is also achieved making, for example, geographic expansion easier, without the expense of developing traditional IT infrastructure.
- Lower cost: the cloud provides more attractive pricing models compared with traditional offerings. Cost efficiency is also improved since cloud adoption allows to reduce idle time for IT assets
- Better integration capabilities: The cloud offers unique opportunities for integration given that the information is more easily accessible from other solutions and in a highly secure way.
- Leverage other technologies to further improve business outcomes: in combination with mobile, social, and analytics technologies, cloud platforms will continue to add agility, efficiency, and cost savings to projects while enabling options that are not otherwise viable.
What do you think? As a retailer, what is your experience with cloud technologies? Are you considering it for your IT strategy?
Categories: English, Industry Trends, Other | Leave a comment
At Openbravo we know about the importance of innovation. Innovation drives growth and allows us to provide state-of-the-art products to the market. This is especially important in Retail where a lot of technologies are flourishing and where technology flexibility and low cost become essential. Keeping this in mind we are starting a series of blogs today where we will regularly present some of the things we are evaluating in our labs to you. These won’t always be converted into new publicly available capabilities but we think it is important for you to know about them.
And today let me start with a cool use of Openbravo: Web POS, our POS included in the Openbravo Commerce Platform, with the popular card-size computer Raspberry Pi which potentially provides important benefits in some business scenarios as I’ll explain later.
The Openbravo Web POS is a web based application that requires a special component, the Hardware Manager, to interface with all the supported POS devices like receipt printers, customer displays, scales, … In a typical deployment environment the Openbravo Web POS runs on mobile devices like Android tablets or iPads and the POS devices are connected to a computer that runs the Hardware Manager. The following picture depicts an example of this scenario:
The requirements for the computer that runs the Hardware Manager are very low. And to demonstrate this we wanted to try it with one of the smallest computers, the popular card-sized computer Raspberry Pi.
Although it still can’t be considered an officially supported hardware, the use of a computer like this would potentially result in huge benefits in terms of reduced space and low cost. One of the most advanced models costs just 30 €. This could make it ideal in multiple retail scenarios but especially, for example, in reduced retail spaces like kiosks where both aspects become critical. Combining this solution with a tablet, you have a POS solution in a reduced space, which is very cheap, without losing any of the advanced capabilities offered by the Openbravo Web POS. The steps to follow are very simple, but you will need advanced technical skills to complete successfully the process. Let me guide you through the process.
Installing the operating system
The operating system I am going to use is Raspbian, a Debian derivate optimized to run on the Raspberry Pi. Raspbian also includes Oracle Java SE 7 for ARM needed to run the Hardware Manager. To download and install Raspbian, follow the installation guides provided by the Rasberry Pi Foundation that can be found in the Raspberry Pi Downloads page.
Installing the Hardware Manager
In this example I am using an Epson TM-T88V receipt printer and a development build of the Hardware Manager that includes USB support that makes it easier to configure and run USB receipt printers and customer displays. This functionality will be released in 3.0RR14Q3, but it will also work with the current 3.0RR14Q2.1 version.
Installing the Hardware Manager is done the same way you do in other systems, just copy the zip file to the Raspberry Pi and uncompress it to a local folder. To copy the zip file, the best way to do it is using the scp command. Set up ssh in your Raspberry Pi, and execute the command:
scp poshw-1.0.1800.zip firstname.lastname@example.org:/home/pi
To uncompress the zip file just copied, log in into your Raspberry Pi using ssh and execute the commands:
mkdir poshw-1.0.1800 unzip poshw-1.0.1800.zip poshw-1.0.1800/
To execute the Hardware Manager you do not need a monitor connected to the Raspberry Pi. But in this case you have to configure the Hardware Manager to run it in headless mode. Open the openbravohw.properties located in the poshw-1.0.1800/ folder and set the property application.ui to false. You can use nano to edit the configuration file.
Running the Hardware Manager
On the Raspberry Pi you need to write permissions on the device file of the USB, so you can run the Hardware Manager as root or configure udev to give your user write permissions when the device is attached. You have more information about this topic in the usb4java FAQ page.
Connect the printer to the Raspberry Pi, go to the folder the Hardware Manager is installed in and execute it:
cd poshw-1.0.1800/ sudo sh start.sh
This is the output of running the Hardware Manager successfully on my Raspberry Pi:
Configuring the POS Terminal and testing the printer
Now you need to configure the POS terminal you want to use with the new Hardware Manager configured on the Raspberry Pi. Start Openbravo, go to the POS Terminal window, select the terminal to configure, and in the field Hardware URL write the URL address for the Hardware Manager running in the Raspberry Pi. In my example: http://raspberrypi.local:8090/printer.
Finally, login to the configured POS terminal and print some sample receipts.
In this example I used the Raspberry Pi connected to the store network using a wifi dongle. This option reduces the number of wires and makes it easier to place the receipt printer in the store.
And that is all. I hope you have enjoyed, as I have, playing with the Openbravo Web POS and the Raspberry Pi, a modern and powerful technical combination which minimizes hardware space and costs.
You can also make your own improvements using the Raspberry Pi and the Hardware Manager. For example, you can use a mobile receipt printer and power the Raspberry Pi with batteries. This way you can have wireless printing capabilities in your store easily.
See you in my next post!
Categories: English, Other, Retail, Retail General Updates, Retail Tech Updates | 1 comment
Last week our CEO posted an interesting article where he shared our vision about the huge opportunity we see in Retail with the Openbravo Commerce Platform. In this post he referred to a recently released study , which states that 82% of retailers were planning to increase their IT budget and 79% were planning to increase their stores´ IT budget.
According to this study Mobility, Cloud and Cross-Channel are within the top IT investment priorities for retailers. This is quite aligned with our vision and I wanted to elaborate on our take on these three capabilities through a series of 3 blog posts. Let us start with Mobility.
Mobile-enabled operation is a priority for retailers. Its impact on the enterprise is transformational. The many possible applications of mobility in retail are extensive and varied but retailers invest in mobility mainly to enhance the customer´s experience and to improve business efficiency.
This transformation impacts the whole organization, but the retail area that is most benefited from mobility is store operation.
As stated in a very interesting RIS article, mobile POS penetrates deeply into the critical realms of the shopping experience and customer satisfaction. Common retail functions like “save-the-sale” tools, upselling and cross-selling features, cross-channel capabilities or customer management features, when directly operated from a mobile device, are changing the way in which store associates service their customers. The interest in mobile POS is especially important for speciality hardgoods and softgoods retailers for whom an interactive assisted sale everywhere in the store makes all the difference. All these trends explain why both customers and sales associates consider the use of mobile solutions as a way to provide a better shopping experience and why the adoption of mobile POS has tripled according to our study.
Mobile POS provides higher agility as well especially if it is a Mobile Web POS which only requires a browser to be run as the Openbravo Web POS. Retailers can rapidly add and replace terminals, start processing sales or opening new stores. Mobile Web POS also provides independence from the mobile technology (iOS, Android and others) for more flexible deployment options in regards to the hardware to be used.
Store backoffice operations can also benefit from mobility. A clear example is the facility to manage the inventory more efficiently. Goods movements, goods receipts or inventory counts managed from mobile devices provide higher accuracy and help to process information in real time.
There are several aspects that must be properly considered by retailers in the definition of their enterprise mobility strategy to address the specific operational challenges they face, like security and cost of the infrastructure.
One decision retailers must take is the use either of consumer-grade or retail hardened devices. ROI and appearance arguments can be considered depending on the use these devices will have. Preferences on the vendor (Apple, Android or Windows) will also influence the final choice.
Adopting wide mobility will also require analysis of the capacity of the existing Wi-Fi infrastructure. This is especially important in the stores if retailers decide to provide free Wi-Fi access which is one of the strategies followed to embrace showrooming. However, this can be an expensive decision and some retailers like JC Penney already decided to eliminate free in-store Wi-Fi last year after having offered it previously.
Security is also another important and especially challenging concern with regards to BYOD policies and the growing adoption of consumer-owned devices within the enterprise which increases the importance of mobility management.
What do you think? I would love to hear from you to enrich our vision. As a retailer, what is your company strategy in regards to mobility?
Categories: English, Industry Trends, Other, Retail | Leave a comment