Capgemini chooses TIE EDI platform exclusively for retailers

May 30, 2012  |  Digitalisation

“In the retail trade, the biggest sin is to say ‘no’ to customers” Speaking is Frank Huiskes, Global CTO Infractructure Transformation Services at Capgemini, the worldwide leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing. Capgemini’s headquarters is in Paris, from where it directs activities in more than thirty countries.

Originally French, the multinational now employs 100,000 people worldwide, mostly in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Capgemini has nine offices in the Netherlands, including two in Amsterdam.

From Retail Solutions to Outsourcing Solutions

Until recently, Frank and Tobias operated out of Capgemini Retail Solutions, which was taken over almost 3 years ago and focuses specifically on (large) retail customers. “We’ve worked in this area for more than 10 years,” says Frank. “In other words, from the time that the retail trade started to outsource messaging. Over the years it has grown into the network we know today: CAPnet, our own VPN with three dedicated data centres and fast fibre-optic connections that convey international messages from 2,200 locations for large retailers in a dozen countries.

At the beginning of 2011, Retail Solutions became part of Outsourcing Solutions, marking a logical step for Capgemini in the direction of horizontal integration. “However, the focus continues to be on retail,” says Frank. “80-85% of the outsourcing concerns general business services while 15-20% differentiates retailers from other commercial companies.

Differences in EDI dynamics

Tobias Titus explains the differences in dynamics and thus in IT approach. “With retail we’re looking at a 24/7 business, which means that it differs radically from many other businesses. The bakery operates during the night and the morning; the distribution centre is geared to this and even in the weekend there is always somewhere open or operating somewhere. This doesn’t usually happen in big government institutions, which tend to keep regular office hours. You might say that the retail trade is closed from mid-November to the New Year. At that time you stay away from the IT systems – no planned maintenance – and everything has to continue working perfectly.

Main messaging broker

In Capgemini’s retail approach, all retail messaging is via a main messaging broker based on TIE Kinetix. “We always attach great importance to reliability”, says Frank Huiskes. “Based on our experience with TIE Kinetix, we chose the TIE Kinetix Messaging Portal to replace our messaging system. It allows us to integrate business processes and manage them optimally. Our clients have a great deal of EDI traffic with their suppliers, and a huge amount of messages go over the TIE system – many millions of messages a year such as orders, packing slip files and invoices. Apart from reliability and high performance, everything revolves around saving costs, of course. That’s the bottom line. Our clients think that is important and so do we.

TIE, the plug into the outside world

Big ERP applications and everything sent out in the form of EDI goes via TIE messaging. “You might call TIE our plug into the outside world,” says Tobias. “Most internal retail systems and processes are also linked to it. That says a lot about the requirements that have to be set for availability and reliability.These are critical applications between the checkout and the back-office systems at head office. TIE fits this perfectly because, in the retail trade, the biggest sin to say ‘no’ to customers!”

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