For the past decade or so, most manufacturers and distributors have invested in digital technologies, such as eCommerce technology, with results that leave a lot to be desired. Yet, the digital technology landscape continues to evolve rapidly, bringing more and more technology to the table. Digital leaders are emerging, demonstrating their skills to successfully deploy digital technologies in an agile approach and are realizing significant returns on investment. CEOs are seeking a more definitive roadmap based on driving returns, putting us at a crossroads where organizations either figure this out and thrive or see increasing pressure on their overall ability to perform and survive.
Digital leaders in manufacturing and distribution are in the early stages of uncovering the incredible dynamics of a customer-driven, technology-enabled business model. These dynamics will continue to drive towards an infinite number of “interesting moments” with buyers — yes, moments. Gone is the traditional sales and marketing funnel. Gone is customer loyalty based on years of exemplary service. Gone is a single profile of a relationship with a buyer where you can predict future behavior based on past behavior.
Architecture Matters Most in eCommerce Technology
A fundamental key to the speed and agility that’s necessary to successfully evolve in this new digitally-driven world is the architecture supporting the digital technologies in your ecosystem, including your eCommerce platform.
eCommerce technology is one of the core platforms in your technology ecosystem. In the past, eCommerce may have been viewed as a small modular add-on, but now its importance is known and your eCommerce technology represents your window to the world to an ever-increasing online buyer.
The architecture of many eCommerce solutions today is dated, entrenched in monolithic structures that mandate invasive customization to accomplish one project at a time. According to Forrester Research, the never ending cycle of expensive maintenance and low-value upgrades in a monolithic environment demands that your company devote 70–75% of its technology spend to the care and feeding of these legacy applications, only leaving 25–30 % for acquiring the new systems that will differentiate your business. (Accelerate Digital Business With a BT Agenda, Forrester Research, Inc. June 17, 2015). In this fast-moving technology world, it’s easy to see that this model must change.
The Right Architecture Drives Agility
Leading technology companies have figured this out and are bringing new architectural models built to accommodate agility, speed, lower customization and lower maintenance to the marketplace. This new model decomposes applications into small, loosely coupled building blocks to enable extensibility, ensure upgradeability, and accommodate an ever-growing and increasingly complex ecosystem that serves up the “moments” your buyers are looking for, engineered and integrated to your core business processes.
The benefits of an agile architecture are vital to an organization’s long-term success. Those organizations who pursue agile architectures will be in a position to drive higher profitability, faster time to market, overall greater ROI from technology investments, lower ongoing costs, better access to data, lower risk of failure, and last but not least, significantly higher satisfaction from senior management.
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