Enterprise software vendor Infor has a long list of co-innovation endeavors with customers, but a partnership with Whole Foods Market announced today is probably one of its most intricate to date.
In conjunction with the official launch of CloudSuite Retail, Infor's industry-focused ERP platform for merchants, Infor says it has teamed up with the high-end, organic grocery chain to implement and iterate on the platform, with Whole Foods serving as a sort of test lab.
Looking at just CloudSuite Retail, the platform satisfies a litany of retail requirements, including software for item, inventory, cost and order management, as well as applications for replenishment, allocation and integrated planning.
As for Whole Foods, the grocer will open up its entire operations as a learning lab for Infor engineers and designers. Once fully implemented, Infor's software will work to revamp the grocer's merchandising and supply chain operations, while also allowing Infor to iron out any software kinks along the way.
The partnership is notable for both companies, but for Whole Foods especially. The grocery chain faces increased competition in the natural food space, with rivals ranging from big box chains to small niche startups. But Whole Foods has been somewhat ahead of the game on its technology commitments.
The grocery chain was an early adopter of grocery delivery via Instacart and mobile payments via Apple Pay. In terms of the nitty gritty of retail software, however, Whole Foods sees improvements to supply chain and merchandising as a catalyst for a more efficient, transparent and connected enterprise.
The big sell for Infor is that CloudSuite is essentially an all-inclusive set of technology, some of which is still scarcely implemented in the archaic hodgepodge of retail IT.
"In the 20 years since today's legacy retail solutions were created, technology and consumer behavior have changed significantly, turning the industry on its head and leaving retailers scrambling to patch together bolt-on applications just to keep pace," said Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor, in a statement.
What's more, Infor builds all of its CloudSuite offerings on Amazon Web Services, which gives Infor's cloud a healthy dose of credibility, reliability, speed and scale.
Infor says CloudSuite Retail will be available to other retailers starting sometime next year.