The following post has been written by Nikhil Kinikar, Nextenture’s CEO and founder.

For almost 20 years, I worked at Reflexis, the worldwide leader in workforce management software. I am proud to have been part of building a world-class solution that helps retailers maximize customer engagement.

In June of 2013, I founded Nextenture, a company I envisioned offering consulting and technical services surrounding the Reflexis suite and labor management solutions. This would both benefit Reflexis, as a company that could now focus on further developing revolutionary solutions, while giving me an opportunity to build a team dedicated to optimizing store operations and implementing workforce management products.

Today, Nextenture helps retailers that are engaged in transitioning their operations from good to great. We do this by implementing world-class business solutions and processes that promote customer service and empower store associates.

Nextenture’s motto is “because effective retail is a journey.” As someone who is proud of his company for enabling effective retail over the last five years, I’m happy to share our journey.

Our first ever full-time customer, Estee Lauder, saw great success with our partnership. Though we had implemented solutions for other companies before, Estee Lauder had become a client for both implementations and a new service we began to offer, Help Desk Pro, in 2015. I’m proud to say that Estee Lauder has been one of our company’s most gracious and biggest supporters, starting a line of customers that includes, Wawa, Walgreens, Barnes & Noble and many more.

Just like retail itself, Nextenture transformed. We continued to provide world-class implementation services for additional clients, with many of our contracted workers in India becoming full-time employees, giving our company a new international, 24/7 element. By late 2016, we also gained the first addition to Nextenture’s executive leadership: our product architect, Ken Cooke.

Ken emphasized a new point of direction for Nextenture’s future: hosting our own intellectual property. As a mobile developer, digital trainer and change management leader with experience at companies like Apple, Ken had input for the team was extremely crucial for developing two of our biggest additional services: the Discovery eLearning platform for Reflexis products and Next!: an appointment booking solution created for store associates and customers. At the start of 2017, Nextenture had its first ever demonstration of Discovery eLearning, while Next! also began development.

The Nextenture-Reflexis partnership has also remained as strong as ever over the last five years. After having success working with clients like Estee Lauder and CVS Pharmacy our reputation for having excellent implementations across the Reflexis suite began to speak for itself. In January of 2017, we officially became Reflexis’ official development partner, as well as the company’s preferred implementation partner.

Today, we boast 40 employees, with offices in MA, NY, OH and VA, with clients in seven countries. I couldn’t be prouder and more humbled on how far we have come in such a short period of time!

As our products turned from ideas into reality, we also realized that growing our company involved bringing on others with in-store experience. It also meant redefining the word “implementation.” Simply put, you can’t have implementation without strategy.

To fulfill our need for even more strategic expertise, Nextenture began to develop its executive team even further. We brought on Maygan Cianflone, our Executive Director of Services and a former Reflexis employee whose passion for retail and helping store teams made for an exceptional addition to our team. From my previous years of working with Maygan, I can say that I’m proud to see her grow and grateful for her contributions to the Nextenture team.

Our executive team improved with more additions: John Liebler, the former Divisional Vice President of store operations at Signet, and Libby Romfh, the former director of store operations at Barnes & Noble. Shortly following them came Jose Cortez, who worked both in store operations and finance leadership roles across retailers, including Party City, J. Crew and Barnes & Noble.

In John’s case, he also had valuable experience as a former sales associate, working his way up Signet’s organizational hierarchy, while Libby’s degree in change management also proved to be an essential fit for our business needs and Jose’s expertise with clients in Latin America added another element of depth to our team. Between the three of them came over 80 years of retail strategy experience, implementations and knowledge of workforce management.

By the end of 2017, we had an expanded team across Latin America, India and the United States. We boasted a greater presence at trade shows like Reflexions and NRF, and a more visible digital footprint. To date, we have biweekly blog posts, client testimonials and product explainer videos, as well as the third iteration of our website. 2017 was our greatest year as a company yet!

As next year approaches, we know that there will be changes, planned and unexpected. But if effective retail is a journey, the few bumps in the road that we inevitably encounter will ultimately be tests of if we truly understand effective retail.

We wouldn’t be here today without those who have been part of the Nextenture family, bettering and helping us through the years. Nextenture is grateful for both its business partners and clients who have been with and trusted us in our collective journey to better retail, change lives and give back to an industry that we have been passionate about for decades.

If there’s anything to be taken from five years, it’s that for Nextenture, the journey never ends.

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