Magazine Article | December 13, 2013

Mobile, Omni-Channel At The Crossroads Of Opportunity

Matt Pillar

By Matt Pillar, chief editor

A veteran retail solutions integrator says mobile and omni-channel are so intertwined, you can’t determine where one ends and one begins. You should be prepared to sell both.

Paul Civils doesn’t waste too much time trying to distinguish whether it’s much-hyped mobile technology or ostensibly indispensible omni-channel solutions that will ultimately drive his company’s growth in retail and hospitality. He says if you’re trying to pin the tail on that donkey, it’s indicative that you’re approaching your customers all wrong.

Civils ought to know. He’s SVP and GM at solutions integration powerhouse Kyrus (formerly Agilysys RSG), where he’s been developing technology solutions for retailers since 1998. “We see mobile and omni-channel solutions in the same vein, and we’re seeing growth there,” says Civils. “That growth is a result of retailers understanding that their mobile and omni-channel development are directed by the consumer. More specifically, success selling these solutions often depends on the retailer’s acceptance that without these technologies, they can’t keep up with consumers,” he explains. Civils says his customers’ response to that simple question — Are you keeping up with your consumers? — serves as an early indication of Kyrus’ potential for a mobile or omni-channel solution sale. “Retailers are sincerely concerned that consumers have mobile access to better information than their sales associates. Addressing that concern isn’t as simple as deploying mobile devices,” says Civils. In fact, addressing that concern opens up a whole economy of opportunity for solutions providers, including mobile hardware, network infrastructure and security, device management, and often back office enterprise systems like POS and e-commerce. As a result, he says the mobile/omni-channel sale is never canned and usually results in bigger spoils than anyone anticipated.