How My Matrix Accident Created a Planned Software Design


Written by Afshin Alikhani

It was March 1996, and I was seated on board a United flight from Los Angeles to London. Hours earlier I had signed an agreement with a software company called Sales Management Systems to distribute their QuickSell 2000 in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). QuickSell was a beautiful point-of-sale system for its time; it was stable, elegantly simple and adaptable to most retail requirements.


As the airline made various onboarding announcements, passengers rolled through the aisles finding their seat. I noticed sitting next to me was a wiry-looking man in his early fifties dressed in a matching pair of jean jacket and pants. He introduced himself as Bobby, and after a few minutes of conversation, he said he managed the EMEA distribution of a popular U.S. jeans brand.


My sales instinct told me this was an opportunity to see if any of Bobby’s retail clients might be interested in the QuickSell software. I briefly introduced my company and pitched him the key features and benefits of QuickSell.

“So, do you think your retailers would be interested in QuickSell 2000?” I asked him.

He answered with a question: “Does it support Matrix items at the point-of-sale?”

I was disappointed with my answer. “No, it does not.”


Twenty years later that experience still follows me – and it prompted one of my first action items when Retail Realm started working with Microsoft on Dynamics AX. Our development team made sure to add matrix support and availability to our new software integration designed to maximize Dynamics AX in retail: mAX Essentials.


‘Matrix’ Defined

The Matrix functionality in mAX Essentials is especially important to the fashion industry, as much of their inventory is Matrix items. A matrix ‘style’ is a grouping of matrix items; each matrix item has its own assigned attributes like: Size, Color, Fit, Season, Manufacturer, Supplier, Brand, etc. The Matrix functionality enables retailers to view two of these attributes as a grid, while the remaining attributes can be a filter reducing the selection results.



How Dynamics Users Benefit from mAX Essentials

In addressing the Matrix view and availability in Dynamics AX, Retail Realm has also introduced operational improvements – the most important of which is local availability at the store without having to rely on Dynamics’ real-time call to AX to see local availability.


This means the ability to: 

• Improve speed for inventory lookup
• Search the store by all item attributes
• Block sales of items that have no availability
• See price, availability and additional item information all on one screen



Leveraging Technology in Retail

Technology is moving fast, and as Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Enterprise is introducing new ways of doing business, it’s crucial that software companies not only focus on meeting current industry requirements but also continually look for ways to leverage retail knowledge in the development of those technologies. 

Sometimes one core functionality, like advanced Matrix abilities, can make all the difference for an industry. For more information about mAX Essentials or any of the other mAX products, contact


About the Author

Afshin Alikhani is a business operational analyst with 30+ years in the computer software industry developing organizational end-to-end processes for companies primarily in the retail and hospitality sectors. He is the Founder and Chairman of Retail Realm, a leading multinational retail-centric software development and distribution company.

"I've been working with Retail Realm for many years now and will continue to do so - they are one of our favorite vendors. They don't just distribute a bunch of part numbers; they have a deep understanding of the industry, their products, and truly partner with their resellers to help them sell more."