This is the first in our Blog series on how to avoid the pitfalls of e-commerce replatforming.
In the movie, “The Money Pit”, Tom Hanks and Shelley Long play two characters who decide to renovate an old house. Dismissing the need for a detailed plan, they simply hire a local contractor to “fix” what is broken, only to become embroiled in a major renovation when everything that is touched negatively impacts something else. Costs skyrocket. The stakeholders are unhappy and disappointed when expectations are un-met, in spite of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. By simply jumping in without a careful analysis, plan and a firm understanding of the full scope of the project, the results were disastrous.
Getting your omni-channel e-commerce transformation right
The same logic can be applied to businesses looking to transform their e-commerce capabilities through replatforming and orchestration initiatives. Similar to a brick and mortar architectural renovation where existing elements need to be identified and accounted for before the re-build can begin, enterprise organizations have to understand their current technology architecture and landscape in order to establish the right roadmap for an ideal end state. With many enterprises today planning to invest in a highly integrated omni-channel strategy, knowing how every application, business process and workflow impacts multiple applications as well as people both inside and outside of the organization, requires careful planning and upfront work. As broad as this mandate might be, the investment in a solid and detailed plan will reap major dividends by eliminating any potential surprises at the start. This approach ensures:
- selection of the right platforms;
- identifying end-of-life technologies that need to be replaced or retired;
- determining which technologies need to be upgraded and the impact that will have on the existing ecosystem;
- ensuring integration methods and business processes are clearly understood;
- ascertaining an accurate budget required to get the job done right.
Omni-channel requires data feeds & integration to thrive
“The e-commerce platform doesn’t function in a vacuum. Every e-commerce implementation has to integrate into many foundational back-end systems (ERP, OMS, PIM, WCM, etc.). The commerce engine requires data feeds and countless integration points into these and more back-end systems and third-party point solutions in order to deliver on its purpose. Omnichannel is putting further pressure on the alignment of these systems as the need for consistency around product information, assortment, and pricing (online and an in-store) are increasingly critical. Planning a replatforming project and considering the e-commerce technology without giving proper weight to the thorough examination of the many systems it touches will make for a very messy integration process which can be a drag on time and budget alike.”
Current & legacy technology orchestration needed
In a survey conducted by eConsultancy, respondents echoed what Forrester included in their recommendations with integration across current and legacy systems being one of the largest challenges that businesses face when embarking on an omni-channel e-commerce transformation.
This survey suggests that close to 50% of companies looking at integration projects have already earned scar tissue with integration projects that failed to live up to expectations. The good news is that previous experience with failures builds a healthy respect for the challenges these projects will introduce, enabling a better approach to be fostered in current or future initiatives.
An orchestration approach delivers success
In the following video, Panago CEO Pax Robertson shares how their organization made several attempts before getting their omni-channel strategy right. For Panago, orchestration was the key to unifying disparate systems, processes and people while enabling the customer to interact across multiple channels at any time during a single transaction. Watch a video of Robertson candidly sharing how they unsuccessfully attempted to get their omni-channel e-commerce right, and why an orchestration approach ultimately worked for them and why.
In order to remain competitive and grow, enterprises are being forced to deliver better and more seamless experiences to consumers, businesses and internally to their own employees. Many organizations are embarking on replatforming projects which require the integration of old and new technologies. Careful planning along with understanding which legacy technologies to retire, upgrade and integrate is a critical first step that will go a long way toward realizing the full benefit of the initiative. Orchestration can help with seamless integration of multiple siloed environments while enabling newer digital technologies to thrive.