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Data is a terrible thing to waste and, unfortunately, that is exactly what retailers are doing with a resource of inestimable worth. The present state of analytics in retail is, in a nutshell, underutilized.

Retailers are in a fierce battle to win the hearts and wallets of shoppers. Competition is fiercer than ever and customers are more demanding.  So, summing up, customer analytics holds out as the last major IT frontier to conquer in retail. That’s why we have decided to put together an infographic to guide those who want to take advantage of the full potential that analytics have to offer in the retail industry.

The infographic is aimed to provide an overview, from how to embrace the change of customer shopping experience to how to choose the right platform that better adapt to you specific business needs. Check it out and tell us what you think. Haven’t you conquered customer analytics yet?

Categories: English, Retail | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Since the beginning of this year, we have seen  how retail CIOs agree that security and digital innovation are top priorities for 2015, probably due to the recent data breaches and the growing need to deliver  unified, seamless and differentiated customer experiences.

According to the 2015 National Retail Federation, managing data security is the most urgent focus area for retail CIOs, and it’s followed by omnichannel initiatives as the second key priority. This is to respond  to the need of winning, serving and retaining customers by providing a seamless experience across touch points. We will talk more about data security in a forthcoming post and let me today focus on the second priority.

To better understand where we are, and where we came from, let me show you the following picture, which illustrates concepts you will probably be familiar with, but let me explain them once again. I insist, as many retailers still struggle and numbers show; according to RIS, $45 million are lost in sales for every billion dollars in revenue because of lack of cross-channel integration.

.Omnichannel-crop

Photo Courtesy: National Retail Federation “Mobile Retail Initiative” 2011

Looking at the picture, the first step of this evolution would be The Legacy, where retailers and customers can only interact with one touchpoint in a single-channel scenario. If you are a retailer reading this,  you probably overcame that stage a long time ago.

The second is the Multi-channel scenario or we could also call it The Reality. It offers more touchpoints, but still acting independently. Here the retailer’s knowledge and operations exist in technical and functional silos. Therefore they often struggle with consistency regarding the messages sent through each as they may not be aligned. We still detect many retailers in this step of the chain, but decreasing as there are more innovating and embracing change towards more integrated channels. Let’s go on.

The third is cross-channel and often represents the Aspiration, which means that customers can access different channels to interact with the brand, and retailers finally have a single view of the customer but keep operating in functional silos.

In the fourth pillar of this evolution we find the Nirvana with Omni-Channel, where customers experience a brand, not a channel within a brand. In Omnichannel retailers leverage this single view of the customer in coordinated and strategic ways.

And that’s the key really, because customers are social and mobile shoppers, they may choose different channels, different decision journeys, but there is always a single brand and a single view of it.

And this should really be the key for omnichannel retailers: customers should be the center of their strategies, having the rest of the components as satellites around it: product, fulfillment & returns, campaigns, channels, loyalty programs, inventory and technology. But don´t get me wrong, part of the Omnichannel strategy is giving each of these components 100% of your attention. Only in that way will the customer experience be seamless through all the components.

This said, let me share with you this quote from Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart stores: “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

Finally, empower your employees with tools that will help them excel in their daily store operation; invest in mobile technology (it is the first touch-point used by customers to interact with your brand), improve your product merchandising and its management through systems that help you to be efficient and fast. And provide the correct training for your staff.TrainingMode Openbravo

Let me finish today’s blogpost by mentioning the way Openbravo envisions its product future, and this could not be in any other way than listening to its customers. In fact, they are the ones who motivate the product roadmap and its priorities, based on their needs, which are really driven by market needs. And this is how we close the loop. If you are more interested, listen to this webinar, given by our CTO Ismael Ciordia and Product Director Maarten Tromp. And please let us know what you think, we would love to hear about your experience!

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Openbravo is globally well-known for its open source ERP system. We have been able to move relatively fast into this crowded arena thanks to some of the characteristics of the Openbravo technology platform: the modularity and metadata-driven development of our native cloud systems enable us to  add new functionalities while maintaining robust software and a consistent user interface and experience. The nature of open source software has, in parallel, given our global partners the power to add localization modules or industry-specific functionalities. So, where other companies took decades to present complete and global ERP functionalities, Openbravo walked that road faster, much faster. This was an eye-opener…

Any ERP software in today’s market offers the functionality to manage traditional business dynamics. Traditional business models convert raw material into a finished nexus of forcesproduct and sell them, or purchase them in large quantities and distribute them through their networks. We owe many of our global clients to these business models, like Johnson Controls, SAIC, Esmech and many others. The functionalities that these businesses need are stable and widely available in different flavors. However, a few years ago it became clear that the Openbravo solutions were extremely well-positioned for business environments with a much higher level of dynamics and more uncertainties, for businesses that required agility from the software that manages their processes. The eye-opener that I mentioned before confirmed that to us. And the most dynamic business model that currently exists is retail. But, why is retail such a dynamic business environment?

The answer to this question lies in the conjuncture of a handful of unstoppable forces in our society, named by Gartner as the Nexus of Forces.  What is important here is that these are individual forces and each of them is a result of certain needs in our society. Still, the processes of change that these four forces together trigger, enable and accelerate are enormous and are provoking an ever expanding ripple effect on our economies and more specifically, in the world of retail. The beauty is that we don’t know yet how exactly they will play out 2 years from now, or in 5 or in 10 years. The fact is that this is evolving, leaves us today with many uncertainties about the future in retail. What everybody does know however, is that the dissemination of modern IT is a  precondition for dynamic economic growth and future viability. And all should agree that a future-ready, flexible and modular IT system is a crucial component to meet these preconditions. RoadmapThe Openbravo Commerce Suite, with the state-of-the-art POS system, our WebPOS, complies with these preconditions. It is a natural extension of the Openbravo Business Suite that, further to the broad business functionality, offers many specific retail functionalities. And with that, we can say that today the Openbravo Commerce suite is the preferred solution in this hyper dynamic environment of retail.

But being the preferred solution is not enough for Openbravo. It is our aim that the Openbravo Commerce Suite is to be recognized as the front-runner for mid-size and large retailers. From an in-store solution for one or multiple sites, up to a full end-to-end multi-channel and multi-site retail business solution, in a single product and architecture. So we have designed our strategic product roadmap according to our Retail First strategy­­­­. This strategic roadmap will be presented on June 30th in various sessions and will include features like:

  • Truly out-of-the-box Cross Channel functionalities
  • Certified integrations with T1 corporate systems
  • End-user transparent full offline operating capabilities

Do you want to know more about it? And learn why leading global retailers such as Decathlon, La Europea, BUT, Homes-UP have chosen the Openbravo Commerce suite?

Please join us at these webinars:

1st session, in English      June 30th, @ 11:30 CET

2nd session, in Spanish     June 30th, @ 16:30 CET

3rd session, in English      June 30th, @ 18:00 CET

Categories: Company News, English, ERP General Updates, Retail, Retail General Updates | Tags: , | Leave a comment

We did it. We are proud to say that more than 1000 people are already following our webinars and videos in BrightTalk!

Audience BrighTalk ChannelFor those who don’t know, BrightTalk is a platform where professionals can learn and share their knowledge with the world’s brightest experts through videos and webinars. In our case, in just a few months we have achieved a base of more than 1000 subscribers who follow our activity via this channel.

And what’s more, our channel has had a very positive impact since it was launched. It seems that, more and more, the subscribers value our insights, into both, the retail industry (watch “Retail POS Trends in Today’s Omnichannel Reality” as an example),  and the ERP enviroment (watch “The First ERP Adapting to Your Business Needs“, as an example).

Regarding the audience, we have confirmed that our community has a larger proportion of “followers” by referrals than its peer group. That means that, on average, a greater number of people, who follow similar channels, have found it interesting to stay tuned in to what we do in ours.

But, what is the location of these 1000 subscribers?GeographicIn the above image, we can observe that, unlike other similar channels, the majority of the subscribers are located in India (rather than USA), followed by the USA (rather than UK) and Mexico and UK in a tie (rather than Italy), markets where Openbravo has shown its immersion with great case studies.

The list of our top 5 most watched videos and attended webinars is also remarkable, highlighting the interest in for POS systems, ERP trends and loyalty management:

  • Retail POS Trends in Today’s Omnichannel Reality (Watch it)
  • The First ERP Adapting to Your Business Needs (Watch it)
  • ERP and Commerce Platform: Keys to a Profitable Practice (Watch it)
  • Grow Your Business Around a Truly Modular ERP Platform (Watch it)
  • Loyalty Management: More than Earning and Spending (Watch it)

Finally, I’d like to highlight the good ratings obtained by our webinars, with an average rate of 4.5 out of a maximum of 5. No doubt about it, this is something to be proud of, but it also leaves us room for  improvement margin to keep working on the quality of our content :)

With that being said, I encourage you to join this increasingly big community in BrightTalk and of course, if you have any insights about our content, you can leave a comment with your feedback.

Categories: Company News, English, Other | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Subscribe Mouse ConceptA subscription business model is characterized by a product or service that is paid for by the customer or consumer on a continuous, periodic basis. It includes ongoing access to content, products or services for the duration of the subscription agreement.

Selling subscriptions is nothing new. In fact as I recently read in a very interesting interesting article, it has been around for centuries. But the subscription business model has become mainstream in recent years. Interest in subscription management is being spurred on by the need to serve a new customer type that demands a totally new experience in how products and services are acquired and consumed and the proliferation of mobile devices that encourage the consumption of applications, movies, publications, data and related digital content.

Companies from different industries, even selling physical products or services, are all adapting their business models to encourage the growth of premium subscription services. Dropbox or Salesforce.com are clear examples of successful SaaS companies using a subscription model. The Honest Company that was expected to bring in $150 million in revenue in 2014 or the Dollar Shave Club are two impressive examples.

For customers, subscriptions mean convenience, since they remove the thinking out of a purchase decision and usually having a flat rate, subscriptions help customers stay within their budget, always. For companies, subscriptions offer an opportunity to build strong, long-term relationships with their customers as well as increase the predictability and profitability of their revenue.

The main challenge for these companies is to ensure customer loyalty and control churn. To achieve that, companies must continuously provide higher value to customers while competing effectively with other existing players. This means to manage more complex and dynamic pricing and billing models that allow them to adapt more efficiently to the highly demanding consumer.

Companies are then trying to adapt their business solutions to manage the business processes required by a subscription model. A task a lot of companies are struggling with, since they own legacy solutions that are not well-suited to support the new requirements. Not strange then to see why according to MGI Research, companies will invest between 0,5% to 1,5% as a percentage of total revenue in modern billing solutions during the coming years, resulting in a market size in 2021 for these solutions of about $8.2B.

Some of the most important capabilities offered by these solutions include:

  • Support to multiple business models that result in a combination of subscriptions, limited time offers, perpetual ownership, prepay/pay down, post-pay/usage base billing or one-time transactions, that can be defined in multiple currencies and together with a powerful promotions and discounts engine to gain higher market share
  • Easily manage accounts, contracts and subscriptions, with rapid creation of new contracts and full control over the subscription life cycle, from sign-up till cancellation.
  • Adapt to complex billing scenarios allowing flexible billing periods that include weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually, and preparing companies for metered billing, while enabling a better automated process for invoicing, collections and dunning
  • Support specific product and services revenue recognition models and facilitate final integration with accounting

There are plenty of available solutions today that try to cover these needs, with leading companies like Zuora or Aria, but also many others like Metratech, Recurly, Chargebee or Fusebill.

At Openbravo, we help companies with our Subscription and Recurring Billing Solution. A comprehensive out-of-the-box functionality from pricing definition to automatic revenue recognition and accounting, which is very easy to use and extend and which is highly interoperable with legacy systems and channels. Built on top of a highly scalable web architecture and the option to be deployed both On Cloud or On Premise.

If you want to know more, check out our Subscription Management and Recurring Billing solution and attend our next webinar, to find out about its key capabilities and why it was recently chosen by a software and technology giant, after competing against other leading solutions like Zuora.

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Retail POS - BarberistsWe are experiencing a new consumer omnichannel age where innovation is no longer a nice-to-have in any sales channel, but a must-have. This innovation must be especially leading in physical stores, where sales will count for over 95% of total sales worldwide in coming years. Therefore, POS solutions need to evolve and lead this transformation. They are no longer just cashiers but the real store brain and executing arm, responsible for delivering the promise of seamless omnichannel shopping experiences that we were talking about in our last blog post; we are trying to stress that stores will not continue playing the same role and it is precisely doing the same as before that will kill them in the future.

We believe that stores must transform themselves and become smart, interactive destinations for customer interaction and engagement. Before they were the final stage of many buying journeys, today they have a major  influence on the final buying decision, whatever the final channel is (where the item is finally purchased) either the store, another store or online.

For brick-and-mortar retailers it is critical then to adopt new generation POS solutions that will enable stores to act as fulfilment centers to drive revenue and to ensure a seamless customer experience. This will also require a big change in retailers´ store operations, and as Gartner states, the executional excellence in the store will be the key multichannel differentiator. This transformation will not happen immediately as it will require top management support, vision, and eventually, a company investment.

On the other hand, new generation POS will also help in boosting sales. How? You can download our ebook for the complete rationale, but let me summarize  the main concepts here for you.

Enterprise-wide inventory visibility allows store associates to rapidly check system-wide available stock, locate an item and make it available for delivery or pickup, or to fulfill an order generated in another store or through the online channel. It can also reduce markdown costs and inventory write-off by enabling mislocated items to be sold, either online or in other stores.

Without a doubt, mobility has become one of the driving forces leading the omnichannel transformation in stores. The adoption of mobile POS solutions has a positive impact on the brand image as it provides the opportunity to deliver new in-store shopping experiences for both associates and customers.

According to Business Insider, beacons are considered one of the most important technologies in retail since the mobile card reader, and will see triple-digit growth rates over the next few years. Location-based app notifications powered by beacons increase user engagement in apps and drive more in-store sales. For this reason, retailers are increasingly looking to beacons to enhance the in-store shopping experience while simultaneously bridging their physical and online experiences. We will talk more about beacons soon… just stay tuned!

Clienteling is the set of business processes retailers use to increase customer lifetime value through the delivery of a personalized shopping experience. It means having a single view of the customer, with data like customer profile, summary of activity across all channels, purchasing history, etc. As a result, Clienteling helps to increase cross-selling and up-selling possibilities and provides powerful save-the-sale tools that will all help to increase sales. And a step further we find Loyalty Programs that aim to create lasting and profitable relationships by rewarding customers for their loyalty.

Retailers today rely on tools that provide actionable insights into each process around the shopping experience and that provide them with in-depth knowledge about customers. This includes detailed visibility across different channels, promotions success rate, detailed follow up of all related supply chain management activities, etc. At the stores, managers require detailed information about sales per associate, per hour, best selling products, total discounts, payments, etc. Easy access to this kind of information in near real time will facilitate a greater understanding of how well a store is performing and can make a huge difference in meeting sales targets. New generation POS solutions provide powerful embedded analytics capabilities that will allow store managers to get a clear picture of the store performance in near real time.
Technology is dramatically changing the way retailers do business and interact with their customers.  Therefore, they must be ready to embrace change and innovation as a way to stay competitive, while being ready to serve increasingly demanding consumers. POS solutions have evolved from being a simple machine to being the real brain in the stores, responsible for delivering the promise of a seamless store shopping experience, a must in today’s omnichannel retail landscape.

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Shopping habits are changing, so we need to have an idea of what a modern shopper is and some of their behaviour in-store. Regarding to it, there are some buzzwords that you may have heard about; “Showrooming” and “Webrooming.” Buzzwords can be tough to keep up with. Especially if you’re in retail and can’t spend hours figuring out what each word means, how it affects your business, and what you can do about it.
To put it simple:
  • Showrooming is when you’re standing in a store, and you pull out your smartphone to see if you can get a better price online.
  • On the contrary, Weebrooming is when you’re searching online, check what item you like and go to the store to pick it up.
Instead of focusing on buzzwords like those, retailers need to take a hard look at their retail and marketing and see what they can do to create a cohesive, consistent customer experience across channels.
With that being said, we have prepared an infographic that could come in handy to those straggling with the new shopping habits of customers in retail:

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Retail OmnichannelRetailers today face many challenges that software vendors need to address efficiently, for example the so-called seamless shopping experience across all retail channels. We will be diving into it in this week´s webinar. But let me give you five cents…

We can talk about a change in the way consumers interact with brands that is basically reflected by more and better informed customers and by more integrated channels. On the one hand, customers have a better knowledge of all brands and products, thanks to the easy access to all information accessible everywhere at anytime. But more importantly: they are willing to judge and be influenced by the environment and to constantly interact with brands. Market analysis suggests that 80% of consumers trust more in the opinion of their circle of trust (family & friends), than the information provided by the brand itself. Due to their wide knowledge, they are more demanding customers than before, and their interest is not related to economic perks, but aspects like the quality of service, the brand, value identification or other intangible elements.

On the other hand, thanks to technology, customers now interact almost transparently. For them there is only one channel, which is the one in which  they are interacting with the brand at that specific moment, therefore their expectations about the shopping experience are extremely high, no matter which channel is used.

This is without a doubt a big challenge for retailers, not only from the marketing and communication perspective, but also from a logistics and organizational one, and they need to efficiently respond to these customers. Today’s new consumers demand high convenience, speed and personalizations in all their interactions with the retailer, regardless of the channel. Convenience in how to pay, collect or return products. Speed in delivery. Personalization to feel unique as customers.

We can point out some key trends in this new paradigm: the cross-channel phenomenon, mobile technologies as a key enabler, and physical stores still being the most important touch point with customers.

Openbravo Commerce Suite is a great choice for midsize to large retailers that seek to transform their physical stores channel and to embrace change through a continuous innovation process. The value is delivered through great in-store shopping experiences; through full flexibility to address different adoption scenarios, from a store solution for multiple locations to the entire retail business with one single product and architecture. And it is built on top of a future-proof technology platform, with a truly modular architecture that allows you to manage change better, innovate more and faster.

It provides a state-of-the-art store management solution, with a modern responsive web and mobile POS solution, very easy to use and deploy, thanks to being a web solution that only requires a browser to be run on each terminal.

Openbravo continuously delivers new functionalities, as well as enhancing the existing one. For example, Q2 has just been released with a whole bunch of new cool features, like  the long-awaited loyalty management, discount coupons with automatic code generation, margin indicators to prevent selling under product cost at the point of sale, improved tools for fraud prevention, like the addition of new approvals, payments hierarchy, etc.
Don’t miss this week´s webinar where we are talking about the key challenges and trends retailers face today, and how the Openbravo Commerce Suite addresses these needs though its value proposition with a quick view of freshly released Q2 new features. Just register here and hope to see you there!

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DeployBusinesswoman Running On Line Fashion Business With POSment

Traditional stand-alone POS systems need specific hardware, or at least a specific operating system and require an installation process. Any update requires the terminal to be online, but the POS system must be stopped. Retailers seldom welcome a call from their IT support staff. No shop managers like to stop selling for 20 minutes for an IT upgrade.

When a terminal breaks down, the POS system must be installed on the new hardware and the local database must be restored, or regenerated. This process can take up to one day, providing spare hardware is available.

The story is very different with a Web-based POS. The Openbravo WebPOS requires no physical installation; the server distributes the upgrades automatically, and it takes only a few minutes to activate a new terminal. When a piece of hardware breaks down, a shop assistant can grab any smartphone, tablet or computer lying around and restart sales in a few minutes. The consumer may even not notice any delay.

Operational disruptions

Per one hundred terminals, 20 minute upgrades can account for four days of technician work, and sales that cannot be processed. Without remote access, if a technician needs to go shop by shop, the cost increases a hundred fold.

Out of a hundred terminals, one or two will break down per month. Big retailers have automated the installation of their POS system, but it may take 1 or 2 days to ship the new equipment to the shop.

Web-based POS upgrades are available from the deployment server, and create no downtime in shops. There is no installation in a shop, just 1 or 2 minutes of activation.

Training

A traditional client-server POS system, or character mode POS, has limited space and components. Relying on codes, it is often difficult for new employees to get used to them.

A well designed Web-based POS makes use of touch-friendly components. The Openbravo WebPOS gives immediate access to the most common features. Fully graphic and responsive, it is intuitive and easy to use. Only advanced features are available in menus. Training is eventually not necessary. Shop assistants are operational in less than an hour. A training mode makes the system itself the trainer.

First level support

Stand-alone POS systems use synchronisation to centralise sales data, stocks, customers, and to update product and promotion information. Synchronisation is aFirst level support bulk process, which means a day’s worth of sales and other updates. For different reasons, this process fails from time to time. Very often because of an unstable connection. A bulk synchronization does not suffer from interruptions.

In that case, one day´s worth of sales data from one terminal is not consolidated. New products are not available in the POS system, stock is unavailable, and new customers are missing.

A Web-based POS uses constant synchronization. When the shop internet connectivity is down, a few sales are stored, together with their customer records. Sales, stock updates, and customers are synchronised when the shop comes back online. Sending transactions one by one is reliable even with unstable connections.

For every hundred terminals, 2 to 5 synchronisations may fail on any given day. A member of technical support staff spends half to a full day fixing this problem. With the Openbravo Commerce Suite, retailers have access to real-time sales and stock information from all their shops, with a few minutes delay in case of connection issues. Besides that, a hundred terminals will create 2 to 5 individual sales to recycle per week. These will require half an hour to fix and recycle.

The benefits of Web-based POS software scale upwards with the number of terminals. An efficient technical support team can manage more shops. and the availability of services in shops increases. Retailers can further take advantage of all the real-time information, for stock optimisation, and real-time pricing and promotion adjustment.

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IT requirementsWhen we talk about IT Requirements, we generally refer to the specification of characteristics and conditions of a new or altered IT product or IT process. And we take these specifications in order to communicate them to those involved in either the input to, generation of, or outcome from the creative and creation process. As such, the result of this activity is a document.

Are you analytical?

In order to create a useful document, it should be written in a language that is understandable to all the stakeholders. And the stakeholders of an IT requirement document are varied: It typically consists of these integrants:

  • People representing the business. They add knowledge about the process and/or product.
  • People representing IT: They know how to transform a function into software.
  • People representing management: They calculate the pros and cons and decide the go/no-go areas.

Before writing something down, the product or process knowledge taken from the business representative should be analyzed and organized in a logical order so that its purpose is clear and unambiguous to the other stakeholders. We see here the analytical characteristic that is required to create IT requirements.

Can you imagine?

Writing down requirements, and IT requirements are not an exception (on the contrary) is full of  potholes. The writer must imagine all potential future usage, even if it is far-fetched or simply not intended. Murphy’s law “Anything that can go wrong – will go wrong” is applicable here! So the (next) most important aspect of the document is how well all potential scenarios have been transferred to text.

And in order to do that, the writer of the document should be able to imagine the world from the perspective of the future end user (business representative) and translate this view to the document. Here we need a characteristic called Imagination.

Do you empathize?

But with imagination alone we will not get anywhere. The full and unconditional cooperation of the business representative must be obtained and it often happens that the process of “IT Requirements” is perceived as a threat to her position and the interviewer must empathize with this. So the (next) most important characteristic is empathy.

How common is your sense?

Now, there areThink you are Cut-Out to create IT Requirements - common sense zillions of methods for IT systems design, each come with their own set of visual -language in the form of diagrams and –if they want to be commercial- they come with a set of acronyms (IT people just love acronyms), PowerPoints and books. They are meant to be read and understood by intelligent people, and consequently written in that way… And this could very well be funest for a future bright career in making IT Requirements! Not that a complete lack of methodology is beneficial, of course it is not and basics must be understood. But this methodology should be consumed with sense, if possible with common sense. Strangely, common sense -the least common of all senses- is never part of these methods and in my opinion it should be. It helps to increase the humility level in bright minds and it helps to see the real world where there is a risk to wander away –on a one-way ticket- into the virtual world of endless possibilities. Common sense is highly undervalued and a must-have characteristic.

Do you dig business?

The last but not least of the five characteristics that are welcome when creating IT Requirements without any doubt is a business sense. Let’s face it, the sole purpose of the new or changed product or process is derived from a business reason: Whether it is to comply with a legal requirement, to enhance an internal efficiency or to facilitate future business decisions: the bottom line is business related. And the fact is that to be an artist you would need a different set of characteristics than to be a policeman. And so it is for making IT Requirements: the fifth sense is the business sense.

So, if you think that you master at least 4 of the 5 above-mentioned characteristics, you might want to give it a try. And also feel free to drop me a line, you never know what the future has in mind for you.

Categories: English, ERP General Updates, Other | Tags: , , | 1 comment

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