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Pet supply company furthers multichannel strategy by moving to cloud

Pet Supplies Plus needed to consolidate a handful of legacy systems and move to the cloud to better serve its customers in a multichannel fashion.

As companies grow, they often face inevitable choices, where they need to take time to make software upgrades to...

get to the next level. Back-office system upgrades often nudge their way into the growth equation.

That was the fate of Pet Supplies Plus, based in Livonia, Mich. The company sells pet food, toys and supplies and has grown to more than 300 stores throughout the northeastern U.S. since its launch in 1988. And the company needed to consolidate its retail management and inventory systems to better serve its customers in a multichannel fashion and get better real-time visibility into availability of products.

Miles TedderMiles Tedder

CIO Miles Tedder said that the company's goal was to take its handful of custom and legacy databases that contain inventory, ERP and customer information and replace its point-of-sale system with Microsoft Dynamics AX, an ERP system. The company wants to be able to service customers wherever they are -- online, in physical stores, or those using both digital and physical channels. "We needed an appropriate foundation to support future omnichannel capabilities," Tedder said.

Tedder sat down with SearchCRM in advance of Microsoft Convergence 2015 to talk about his company's deployment of Dynamics, code-named Project Astro, its plans to implement Office 365 and why going to the cloud became a no-brainer for the company.

What did you use before you decided to move to Microsoft Dynamics?

Miles Tedder: We were using Sage for financials, an internally developed legacy system for merchandising, ScanMaster as the POS, and the combination is being replaced with Microsoft Dynamics for Retail.

What pain points were you trying to address?

Tedder: The most prevalent ones were having to maintain multiple databases and the inability to maintain timely, relevant synchronization across applications. We also considered future security requirements, like PCI [the payment card industry standard for data].

How can moving to Dynamics help?

Tedder: We believe Dynamics will provide a better platform to manage inventory and productivity to increase -- we call customers neighbors -- neighbor awareness and product availability at our stores. We will be also be using Microsoft's Azure and moving to Office 365.

Why did you choose Dynamics in the cloud?

Tedder: It boils down to creating a cost-effective, simplified IT infrastructure that should be the foundation to better leverage future e-commerce: order online, pick up in store, ship to a customer's home: the proverbial omnichannel [strategy]. And we needed this platform in place first.

Why did you choose Dynamics?

Tedder: Our goal has been to simplify the applications portfolio so that as we grow [beyond] the$1 billion mark, the applications we support can be scalable into the billions of dollars. The goal is to have one version of the truth, that single repository of record, in a multichannel world.

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If you have chosen Microsoft Dynamics, what were the driving factors?
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Microsoft is making some interesting moves in the enterprise space, especially in the integration of things like Dynamics and office 365 with Azure-based servers.
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