Part 2 in our series on how to avoid the pitfalls of e-commerce replatforming.
Recently we attended meetings with Microsoft in Seattle. Checking into our hotel on Sunday, we were surprised to find ourselves sharing the elevator with American football legend and cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, Richard Sherman. While he acknowledged our presence with a nod, he was clearly deep in thought. Not surprising since in a few hours he would be facing Eli Manning and the New York Giants. It was game day and the entire Seattle team were housed in a Bellevue hotel.
It's all in the game plan
I asked my colleagues why the Seahawks were staying at the hotel. It was their town after all. Wouldn’t most of them be coming to the game from their respective homes? “Governance” was the answer I received. The Seahawks practice a strict routine on game days that ensures they are both mentally as well as physically prepared to take on their opponents. It is a strategy that has obviously worked. Richard’s gleaming Super Bowl ring attested to that.
In professional sports, as in business, success begins and ends with a great game plan and enough agility to rapidly adapt when needed.
Is your enterprise ready for the omni-channel commerce imperative?
Multiple studies are proving that consumers are using the internet to enable all or part of their buying experience. Responding to this rapid growth has meant that many businesses are finding themselves managing a wide variety of channels including call centers, brick and mortar locations, mobile applications, field sales, franchisees, and websites with chat and other online vehicles for sales and customer service.
Enlist buy-in through alignment to goals
Coordinating these multiple channels means increasing and enlisting cooperation across many departments, systems and lines of business within the organization, each with their own methods, leadership and P&L commitments. Often these lines of business are operating as independent silos who have had limited interaction in the past. Add to that the pervasive nature of new technologies and applications your customers are adopting due to cloud and mobile technologies, and it quickly becomes apparent that embarking on an omni-channel e-commerce strategy has the potential to go off the rails, or even fail completely.
A governance led approach is one that identifies all of the stakeholders across the organization and aligns the corporate goals of the omni-channel e-commerce initiative to the departmental goals that are being impacted, while defining clear lines of authority and decision-making. Not only does this ensure a consistent approach for the project teams to adopt and follow, but it enables the organization to meet its own commitment in terms of timelines and budget. This approach, by its very nature, ensures that a well-defined plan is in place, one that can be navigated clearly as well as redefined and re-scoped when the un-expected comes into play.
Assign a single leader who has authority to make decisions
In a recent Forrester Research paper on e-commerce replatforming, analyst Peter Sheldon the following approach to governance:
"Before you complete your vendor selection, designate a single executive sponsor/project owner to be responsible for the larger business decisions and a dedicated full-time project manager to execute on the tactical day-to-day leadership functions for the project team. Choosing these leaders is critical; so is drafting the right players for your project team. eBusiness leaders should create a cross-functional team for defining and contributing to the requirements to ensure IT, marketing, finance, and the various groups that will be working with the solution (customer service, search, store operations, etc.) have their hands in the project. The executive sponsor and project manager will be tasked with overseeing the participation and collaboration of the cross-functional team and putting up the guardrails of the project plan which means managing the needs and expectations of all parties involved.
Single-minded commitment reaps rewards
Like a professional football team who has to coordinate players, coaches, medical staff, volunteers, sales, finance, fans and many other elements to ensure team success, so too does an enterprise who is merging traditional and new methods of business to deliver a successful omni-channel e-commerce solution. For football, it is the coach or the general manager who is accountable and who pays the ultimate price should there be failure. With a business, it is also leadership who will have their feet held to the fire. To best protect the enterprise, an executive sponsor and dedicated project manager who clearly understands the project goals is the best way to have the back of the corporation.
Ultimately it all comes down to the same approach. Whether you are a professional football team looking to take home the biggest prize in your sport, or a dynamic business charting an evolutionary path that will see you leap ahead of your competitors, a single-minded commitment to governance combined with designated leadership who are tasked with success and empowered to make decisions, will ensure that your project team can steer you in the right direction.
If your organization is considering e-commerce platforming, connect with Orckestra today and learn more about how the Commerce OrchestrationTM platform can help your organization adapt and thrive in the digital economy.