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Amplify 2015: How Urban Outfitters Delivered Superior Experience


Urban Outfitters worked with Perficient to implement IBM Sterling multichannel fulfillment system and the result has been superior customer service. Jas Singh with Urban Outfitters and Subroto Majumdar with Perficient presented this case study titled “Ensuring Successful Order Management Implementation” at IBM Amplify today.

Urban Outiftters is an apparel retailer with annual revenue of $3.3b.  They own Anthropolgie, Urban Outfitters BHDLN, and other brands.  Urban has 238 stores, Anthropologie has 204 stories and each brand has its own commerce sites with multichannel, multi fulfillment and other complexities. Urban started seeing hyper growth with global expansion and led them to replace another order management system with IBM Sterling.

Urban started small and spent 5 years migrating capabilities out to each brand.  Some achievements they gained:

  • International orders implemented in 3 months
  • Disaster recovery implemented in 3 months
  • Upgrade from 8.5 to 9.2 with no downtime
  • Process over 50,000 orders per hour
  • Full inventory sync of 1.2 million Skus in 30 minutes

Urban prepared for the journey by creating a multi year roadmap, hired the right resources, had a strong IT and Business partnership, and created a go-getter culture with ownership and accountability for both employees and consultants.

Things they learned over 5 years:

  • Begin training before implementing
  • Clearly identify business and software requirements
  • Build change management procedures
  • Align process across departments and document baseline process
  • Define business objectives of implementation
  • Establish collaboration between IT and business

Jas talked about other best practices. He reminded the audience that the tool does more that just order management and you should plan on taking advantages of all the features over the long term. You need a layer of governance over the development team to make sure the big picture is taken into account. The team must make sure that customizations need to be made in a way to make future upgrades possible.  For developers make sure you use the services framework and reusable components.

Testing is also critical.  Testing must be thorough and take into account the long term. In the beginning you need a test strategy and determine what and how to test the system. Also consider who is going to test and when. Operations people should be able to develop test cases and exercise the tests.

Subroto talked about how Perficient helped Urban thought the implementation. Perficient started working with Urban in 2011 and the team has been tightly couple with the plan. With Perficients scale they were able to run parallel projects and used a multi-shore development model. Continuity of the team has been great because resources don’t have to learn Urban all the time.

Ruth Minj of Perficient talked about Perficient as a company. The reason Perficient has been successful is that we are flexible while being very responsive to Urban’s needs.

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Mark Polly

Mark Polly is Perficient's Chief Strategist for Customer Experience Platforms. He works to create great customer, partner, and employee experiences. Mark specializes in web content management, portal, search, CRM, marketing automation, customer service, collaboration, social networks, and more.

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