IBM and SAP have sealed a global deal to offer retailers industry-customised software.
The firms claim this will allow retailers to make more efficient use of existing applications while reducing IT infrastructure costs and supporting new technologies such as radio frequency identification.
The deal centres on creating systems based on the companies' existing retail offerings, such as SAP for Retail, SAP NetWeaver, IBM Store Integration Framework and IBM WebSphere.
The effort is also set to include development of products and services for merchandise management, point of sale data management, web-based workforce deployment, merchandise and assortment planning and advanced forecast and replenishment.
Christian Nivoix, general manager of IBM's worldwide distribution sector, said in a statement: "Retailers are at a strategic crossroads in their business.
"The retailers who will thrive are those who choose to become an on-demand business by integrating technology and new business processes to maximise growth, operational efficiency and customer service."
"Consumers today expect superb quality, selection and service; therefore retailers must strategically align business processes and enable technology to efficiently deliver on these demands," added Leo Apotheker, member of SAP's executive board.
In addition to combining their retail product lines, IBM and SAP said they would share consulting knowledge and enhance offerings in areas of business process analysis and best practices.
The collaboration may expand to include supply chain, human resources, store operations, customer relationship management, finance and evolving technologies.
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