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SKYPAD: Connecting Global Retailers and Suppliers with an Innovative SaaS Platform

Founded with a mission to solve complex business problems utilizing the perfect combination of hardware, software and exceptional technical expertise, Sky IT Group evolved to be recognized as the trailblazer in retail industry since its inception in November 2000. During its initial phase, although with a small team, the organization focused on business intelligence solutions to retail and wholesale industries. As a result of a strong industry understanding combined with exceptional data science and analytics expertise, the company has created a SaaS platform – SKYPAD – that serves as the engine for sell-through data distribution, collection and reporting between the retailers and wholesalers.
Sky IT Group prides itself not only an amazing and superior technology but also with a very determined, talented and knowledgeable teams of professionals with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for innovation. Bringing together industry experts and technology wizards have proven to be a perfect combination for the company’s success. Sky IT Group’s biggest asset has been and always will be the committed teams of professionals who work tirelessly on building, developing, deploying and supporting its ever growing client base.
The edition The Companies with Most Disruptive Retail Solutions 2019 envisions admiring tireless efforts of such pioneers and takes pride to feature Sky IT Group as its cover.
In an interview with Insights Success, Jay Hakami the Founder, President, and CEO of Sky IT Group shared insightful information about the organization, its flagship products, vision and many more.
Below are the highlights of the interview between Insights Success and Jay Hakami:
Give a brief overview of Sky IT Group, its uniqueness, and vision. 
Sky IT Group – headquartered in NYC – was founded in 2000 with a clear mission to solve complex business challenges with information technology solutions. We targeted the retail and wholesale apparel, footwear, and beauty/cosmetics industries. This focus led to the development of two complementary SaaS solutions: a) SKYPAD for Wholesale, which provides suppliers with insights into their product sales performance across all of their retail partners, as well as their company-owned retail channels, and b) SKYPAD for Retail, which provides multi-vendor retailers with a cost-effective platform to distribute sell-through data to their vendor community with a “best practices” reporting views.
What are the cutting edge services/solutions offered by Sky IT Group? 
SKYPAD for Wholesale today collects sell-through data from more than 200 retailers representing well over 10,000 stores around the world servicing 800+ global luxury suppliers/brands. SKYPAD is a unique engine built to collect data from any retailer, in any format, and organize it in a way that allows users to analyze the “what, when, where” of their product performance across all of their sales channels. SKYPAD offers the ability to report by any combination of store location, product attributes and time dimension.
SKYPAD for Retail serves as a vehicle for multi-vendor retailers to standardize sell-through data distribution and grant their merchants access to the same reporting provided to the suppliers/brands, while fostering open collaboration between sellers and buyers.
What are your strategies to understand the customer needs? 
SKYPAD is constantly evolving based on our customers’ input. We continue to spend significant time with our suppliers/brands customers and retailers to understand their needs, and we modify the data capturing process and reporting based on their business requirements. In addition, we provide training to our existing customers – at no charge – so new and additional users can take advantage of the SKYPAD platform. Out of these sessions, we can identify ways to enhance the core SKYPAD offerings.
What are the challenges faced while catering to the customer needs and how Sky IT Group is serving to tackle them? 
The SKYPAD platform has unlimited reporting capabilities yet each customer prefers viewing their data in ways that are specific to their business decisions. Therefore, we have developed an ad-hoc reporting view that allows each user to easily create their unique, user-defined reports.
Describe the experiences, achievements or lessons learned that have shaped the journey of the company. 
Sky IT Group was formed in 2000 to provide business intelligence and data warehousing to the retail and wholesale industries. At the time, there was very limited “retail intelligence”, insights, and data sharing between retailers and their suppliers. This was the problem that the SKYPAD platform has come to address. In 2008, SKYPAD started as a literal back-of-napkin sketch that became a PowerPoint presentation. Contemporary designer brand Theory and mid-market brand development group Chaus U.S.A. were among the first presented to and remain subscribers to this day. SKYPAD’s features and benefits have grown along with its client base, expanding first domestically then globally. Today, it provides data from 10,000+ stores on six continents to 2,500+ users at 800+ brands, being used by 72% of the global luxury fashion brands to make sound business decisions based on facts. Our current user community includes global luxury brands such as; LVMH, Kering, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Brunello Cuccinelli and a host of others. Major retailers currently utilizing the SKYPAD Platform for data distribution include Saks Fifth Ave, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and more.
What according to you could be the potential future of the retail industry and how does Sky IT Group envision sustaining its competency? 
Today, forward-looking retailers are willing to share data with their suppliers more than ever before. However, with their legacy systems, this becomes a tedious, timeconsuming task and ends up being handled by the retail buyers in a very inconsistent, manual way. Meanwhile, the suppliers/brands need timely and accurate insight into product sales across all their sales channels. For informed decision-making and planning, they must know which styles, colors, and sizes are selling well and which are not by chain, store locations, as well as by span of time. SKYPAD has effectively addressed both challenges by providing retailers with a platform to facilitate the data distribution to their suppliers at no cost to them. The suppliers/brands have found SKYPAD to be their “best practices” dashboard, presenting a complete reporting of their merchandise sales performance across all the retail customers, company-owned stores, and web sales.
Where does Sky IT Group see itself in the long run and what are its future goals? 
We believe we are still at the beginning of our journey. We consider SKYPAD as the “engine” between every retailer and their suppliers/brands. It certainly benefits the retailers as they reduce costs, and better serves the suppliers by standardizing their data sharing through one entity. The suppliers/brands can see their product sales performance on SKYPAD in a timely, consistent, accurate, and secure manner to improve their decision making. Both retailers and suppliers/brands can interact by looking at the same views on SKYPAD and therefore, enhance collaboration and have a meaningful discussion based on facts. We are continuously innovating and adding functionality and solutions that not only optimize the user experience but address market changes and business needs.
Motivating Client Admirations 
“We are continuously looking at ways in which we can drive productivity, enhance collaboration, and strengthen business insights. The data that SKYPAD’s platform delivers will enable our merchants to connect with our vendor partners more efficiently, helping us to better meet our ultimate goal of delivering our customers an unparalleled shopping experience.”-Tracy Margolies, Chief Merchant, Saks Fifth Avenue.
“Our industry structure and dynamics continue to change at an accelerating pace. We strongly believe that with the use of tools like SKYPAD we can enable greater collaboration between our teams and our brands, with better insights and faster execution.” – Nathan Johnson, Senior Vice President, Merchandise Planning, Neiman Marcus Group.
“SKYPAD is a great partner for Theory. They are a trusted resource for brands, giving them the ability to monitor sales performance and aggregate data across selling platforms considering multiple variables and performance indicators.” – Andrew Rosen, Founder and CEO of Theory and Helmut Lang
“To collect data from so many different data sources accurately not only saves us significant time and money, it provides us accurate insights into trends early in the season so we can take action to maximize selling and profitability with our retail partners.” – Jason Epstein, Senior Vice President of Operations at Alice + Olivia
About the Leader 
Jay Hakami is Founder, President, and CEO of Sky IT Group is an 18-year IT solutions provider, headquartered in NYC. Mr. Hakami’s 30+ years of successful executive leadership roles have always focused on in-depth understanding of business challenges and solving them with the deployment of creative and practical IT solutions.
Prior to founding Sky IT Group, for a period of 10 years, Mr. Hakami served as Senior Vice President and large system integrator with the overall responsibility of operations, marketing, sales, and services delivery of ERP and business intelligence solutions for the apparel manufacturing and distribution industries.
In 2000 Mr. Hakami founded Sky IT Group. During the first few years, the business focus was on business intelligence and data warehouse projects specifically for the fashion industry. All of which led to the development of SKYPAD, the industry staple for sell-through data sharing between retailers and their suppliers/brands.