Ecommerce software is just like a show dog–in order to really understand what you have, you need to know where it came from. Why?
Because pedigree matters.
In the world of showing dogs, lineage is just as important if not more important than how a dog shows in the ring on a given day. We know that through good breeding the optimal traits of the breed are passed on to offspring, creating a more and more “ideal” dog over time. If a dog’s parents were in good health, conformed to their breed’s defined look and showed well, it’s highly likely that the offspring will follow suit.
With ecommerce software, it’s essential to know how and why a particular application was developed and how it morphed over time. The how and why will clearly call out strengths and weaknesses of any ecommerce software application.
Every company and development team has a unique history and perspective—they think within a specific context. That context speaks to their roots and their areas of expertise and permeates the product, from database table and column names to methods of processing work.
Expanding a product without a ground-up rewrite is likely to require compromises. The more compromises that are made, the less the ecommerce application fits its intended use.
When selecting ecommerce software for a particular use—say a B2B company—you should try to determine the origins of the software company and product. If the product you are considering started as a solution for the non-profit sector, it’s likely that additional functionalities were added to attempt to reach the B2B market. It’s possible that you won’t end up with all the functionalities you want.
For example, I recently heard about a college that selected a new accounting software package that was originally built for businesses but is now marketing itself for non-profit educational institutions. Two years after the purchase of the software and the college’s accounting department is still struggling to get the reports that they need. Had the origins of the software been given adequate attention during the sales process, the school may have made a different selection or, at least, been better prepared to manage discrepancies.
I am not suggesting that software companies don’t have the ability to add meaningful and well-conceived modules and functions to their existing software. There are many software companies that do this exceedingly well. I am merely suggesting that the likelihood of your ecommerce success increases when you completely understand not only how a software application works, but in where it originated from.
Remember, in ecommerce, pedigree matters.
Want to learn more about how to make your ecommerce initiative successful? Download the white paper: Integrated Enterprise Ecommerce – The Key to Online Success for B2B and B2C.
Tom Frishberg is Chief Information Officer at Insite Software. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.