Fewer than 30 percent of B2B organizations say they have the necessary people and skills to execute their digital commerce strategy.* Is a skills gap one of the challenges your organization is facing with its B2B e-commerce plans? One of the biggest hurdles you will face rolling out a new digital strategy is building a team that can strongly support it. This statement assumes that you have passed your first hurdle—getting executive support.

Tip #1 — Have a Vision for a Digital Center of Excellence

Clearly define a digital center of excellence to ensure that a centralized team is empowered to set digital commerce strategy, provide a common set of standards and best practices, and provide specialist resources to help each of your divisions and business units develop their digital maturity. It can be a company-wide center of excellence, or it can be split across core divisions and units. Keep in mind that while it’s important that each of the business units has their own granular control, it’s also important to build and empower a core center of excellence.

Tip #2 — Define Roles and Responsibilities

As you put the team together, it’s important to remember to assemble these people early in the planning process so you have supporters and champions, in addition to the executive sponsorship you should already have in place. This is going to be a large project that’s going to require input from everyone. So, make sure that you identify all of the stakeholders at the beginning, and that you have the breadth and depth of skills in place. Include leaders from IT, marketing, finance, HR, and each of your organization’s business units.

You’ll need the right change management in place, e.g., project managers and the change management office; and you’ll need the right people on the ground executing, e.g., the technical group, architects, developers, customer experience designers, and data analysts. More than likely, you will have partners involved, that may include system integrators, external management consultancy firms, and UI and digital agency teams.

Tip #3 — Plug the Skills Gap

Execution of your digital strategy requires skills in UX design, software development, technology architecture, and e-commerce merchandizing. For many manufacturers and distributors, these are all new skill sets that don’t exist in the organization.

Identify all the key members of the execution team that you are going to need. If there are gaps and you can’t fill those positions with internal hires, then you need to work with outside agencies and your HR department to find and bring in those skills during the early phases of the planning. Don’t wait until the projects are underway to plug the skills gap.

Learn more about B2B e-commerce solutions, strategy and methodology, and how to prepare your organization for digital transformation:


* Source: Forrester/Russell Reynolds 2014 Digital Business Online Survey