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Volume 10, Number 26 -- July 20, 2010

RTC Partners with Manthan to Sell BI to Retailers

Published: July 20, 2010

by Alex Woodie

Retail Technologies Corp. (RTC), a software developer and IBM business partner that serves U.S. retailers, recently announced a partnership with Manthan Systems, an Indian developer of business intelligence (BI) solutions geared specifically toward the retail industry. RTC has high expectations for Manthan's BI product, called ARC, especially among its customer base of small and medium-sized retailers that run JDA software on IBM i systems.

Manthan Systems' ARC is a suite of Java-based BI software that was designed to provide the reporting and analytic capabilities sought by retailers. The company, which is based in Bangalore and has a U.S. office in Chicago, Illinois, broke onto the BI scene around 2007, and has been involved in several large roll-outs at some big companies, including a chain of more than 300 Woolworth stores in Germany. It's also garnered some positive attention from analysts, as well as interest in companies that support the IT systems of retailers, like RTC.

ARC is broken down into four major components that provide specific functions in the areas of merchandising, finance, customers, and suppliers, while a fifth component implements a data warehouse. BI-specific capabilities include pre-built reports, dashboards, key performance indicators (KPIs), alerting, and report scheduling. Installation and configuration are much faster for ARC than for the larger and more well-known BI systems, the company says.

Manthan says its software not only provides data for its retail customers, but engages them in a decision-making process that allows them to answer key questions about their operations, such as: How are products selling in my store? Do I have the right mix of sizes, colors, and flavors? What is the right assortment of products I should carry? How are promotions affecting sales? Who are my customers? Are they loyal? Where are my shipments? How can I collaborate with my suppliers more effectively? How can I optimize sales and inventory?

RTC, which provides users of JDA's IBM i-based Merchandise Management System (MMS) and other JDA products with hardware, software, and hosting services, has high hopes for ARC.

Neil Banerjee, vice president of sales and marketing for Orlando, Florida-based RTC, called Manthan's ARC solution "the most comprehensive retail BI solution that we have seen."

"We believe that Manthan has truly delivered on the promise of BI with this next generation solution," Banerjee says in a press release. "The ARC solution successfully blends sophisticated advanced capabilities such as data mining, with an ease of use, low cost of ownership, and a quick implementation time frame that has not previously been possible."

RTC, which in addition to hosting MMS implementations for its customers sells add-on products, such as the MMSxTend suite, an i-based Power Systems communication systems called HTP-Link, and a point of sale (POS) system, is not alone in its JDA connections. In December, Manthan hired former JDA senior vice president and product chief Peter Charness to be president of U.S. operations.

The signing of Charness, along with $15 million in series B financing last year through Fidelity International's Indian affiliate, shows that Manthan (which refers to an Indian metaphor for the "eternal quest for excellence") is onto something potentially lucrative.

Manthan claims to have 40 customers for ARC, including Woolworths Germany, Haggen, Supermarkets (Pacific Northwest), Game Stores Group, Castorama, Ecco Sko, McDonald's, Loblaws, Prada, and Haggar Clothing Co. One ARC customer, Hartwig ‘Hardy’ Hopfenzitz, the CIO of Deutsche Woolworth (which runs the software on a combination of iSeries and pSeries servers), had this to say about the product: "ARC has completely taken away the DW-BI headache from my IT environment. I have no doubt in my mind that ARC would redefine the Retail BI space."

ARC has been validated on the IBM i platform and the DB2/400 database, which may garner it more interest from i (i5/OS, OS/400) customers. Manthan has a number of customers who run the ARC software natively on the i platform, a company spokesperson confirmed.

Pricing for ARC was not disclosed. For more information, see www.manthansystems.com or www.rtc-group.com.


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RTC Partners with Manthan to Sell BI to Retailers

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