In an interview with Insights Success, Thierry RACINAIS, Founder and CEO of SPI Software briefly mentions some of the challenges the organization has faced and strategies it has incorporated to ensure its standing in the market. So, let’s have a look at what the leader has to say about the organization.
Give a brief overview of SPI Software, its solutions and services?
From the outset, SPI Software have provided solutions to furniture retailers, dealers and manufacturers that cover the entire sales process of their customers. Today, that means inspiring a potential consumer with beautiful graphics during initial discovery, configuring their furniture kitchen together with them using the full richness of product catalogues and closing the sale, and then on to the actual delivery and installation of the kitchen in the consumer’s home.
By leveraging all the data we’ve collected together, we can support them on business analysis, activity and performance, help them improve operational business practices both online and in-store. Quite a performance, given the complexity of some kitchens, today!
How do you diversify CRM solutions so that it will benefit your customers?
We diversify everything we do in CRM, according to furniture business profiles! Kitchen designers, sales reps, installers, after-sales service all need their own diversification of CRM. The Storemanager.online CRM component provides that by directly integrating into all areas of the sales funnel, aggregating customer data & preferences, product details and pricing, end to end from discovery to delivery. Starting with a gorgeous customer discovery phase (using inspirational applications) and flowing across the entire sales process (including the quotation, from the initial consumer project design). Beyond CRM, Storemanager.online also includes a complete back-office management system, including purchasing, inventory and logistics. We understand that CRM diversification is the key to mastering the customer lifecycle.
Describe the experiences, achievements or lessons learnt that have shaped the journey of SPI Software.
A key transformation has been the emergence of mobility, with the arrival of the iPhone. We all just suddenly “got it” that we could have access to the right information anywhere and at any time, whatever the support. We were no longer tethered to our desktop PCs! This totally changed the way we saw and used the Internet and allowed us to develop a totally new set of Web based applications. Our vast experience as a major ERP provider in the furniture industry, allowed us to offer a complete online experience to users from the very beginning, and to drastically reduce the ramp-up time required to create & deploy new features, letting us spend more time on all the ergonomics and usability aspects of Storemanager.online.
How does the company contribute towards making the industry better?
SPI Software has been serving the furniture industry and business for over 25 years now, developing innovative solutions that help the key actors in the industry become more efficient at their daily tasks, using the fantastic potential of the Internet and related technologies such as Big Data and Machine Learning, SPI Software is now driven by exploiting the increasing importance of data and in raising customer awareness of the immense value of that data. We are currently the #1 partner to the furniture business in collecting rich consumer content and managing retailer’s data.
Give a detailed explanation regarding the Founder/CEO/Management’s influence towards the industry and the company?
It’s an influence which has always been driven by innovation, applying people orientated management to developing and retaining our ‘key knowledge’ resources, whilst nurturing new resources for new technologies.
We began SPI Software right back in 1992 with a simple idea: PCs will become the new standard for business management. With Thierry Racinais, a young business undergrad and a bit of a techno-geek meeting up with Jean- Marc Lacombe, a production engineer and passionate furniture designer both coming together to join forces and develop a vertical ERP solution for the Furniture Industry, based on the then new, emerging Windows platform, rather than the more classic AS/400 or Unix world. With that, SPI Software was born, and the two partners are still running the company more than 25 years later! Even today, their driving ambition is to bring new technologies and fresh ideas to the Furniture Business! In today’s world, that means Cloud based solutions, with ubiquitous mobile access, leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as Big Data and Machine Learning to allow our customers the best user experience possible.
Where does SPI Software see itself in the long run and/or what are its furniture goals?
SPI Software research is focusing on 2 fundamental pillars:
- Graphical Inspiration and Configuration applications
- Enhancing CRM Platforms
We’re looking to improve graphical configuration capabilities in even the most complex environments in areas such as Closets, Wardrobes, Kitchens and Bathrooms, to bring the consumer a level of integration previously unknown of graphical discovery using new algorithms based on machine learning technology. All the initial feedback from our customers confirms that this would be a major evolution.
We’ll be delivering these innovations through an enhanced solutions portfolio with brand new mobile apps, for handling technical sales support functions, such as inventory, delivery, installation, post-sales service, all connected through the same cloud-based platform: Storemanager.online!
All these elements will enable us to provide our customers with a comprehensive set of data, allow them a constantly richer level of understanding of their consumer and offer better products and services!
Considering the rising number of CRM solutions providers, how does SPI Software stand out from its competitors?
StoreManager.online is more than a CRM, it is a CRM combined with an advanced point of sales solution that integrates all the information needed to transform a contact into a successful furniture sale. As a companion to graphical solutions used to design the project (e.g. kitchen project) StoreManager.online centralizes all the information and data related to a store or to a network of stores. Retailers’ management teams can access directly their dealer’s data to help them improve their activity and business. Users roles and rights management are at the heart of our system, together with a powerful organization profile management, to ensure a complete scalability of our services, from an independent dealership to a complex multinational retailer or franchise organization.