According to a recent report from eConsultancy1, systems integration remains to be the biggest challenge when expanding an eCommerce business, 43% of the respondents and 39% of supply-side recipients claimed that integration with current / legacy systems remains the biggest challenge and is one of the top three tech barriers to business growth. Integration of technology platforms and software is crucial within today’s retail (and distribution) landscape. If done well, integration can provide your business with the flexibility to adapt and change as it grows - done badly and it will become a major barrier to growth.
If you, as an eCommerce or pure-play company, want to be able to run an efficient business, provide an excellent customer experience and stay ahead of the competition, integration matters! In our video below Martin Pickering, eCommerce Director at Maginus, explains why and outlines the different approaches you can take:
There is a variety of approaches to systems integration – you may decide to take a piecemeal approach, integrating various functions step-by-step, or you might prefer to integrate everything in one go. But many multichannel businesses that have invested heavily in their IT infrastructure, don’t always want to replace their entire infrastructure in a drastic way. Many feel that the disruption of replacing their whole infrastructure in one "Big Bang" is too much of a risk and therefore decide to integrate elements of their existing infrastructure in a phased approach, as new systems are rolled out.
It should come as no surprise then, that many companies are turning to integration specialists to help remove these barriers to growth. By having a powerful integration toolset and an expert partner in integrating multiple technologies, you gain the major advantage of being able to replace legacy solutions in a step-by-step manner. This enables you to be more strategic and realise an ROI faster.
Do you or your clients use (or have you / they used) a systems implementer or integrator?
This graph from the Technology for eCommerce Survey Report shows that a quarter (27%) of organisations have used a systems implementer or integrator, and that a further 9% plan to. The report highlights that there’s a correlation between those investing more in their eCommerce technology use a systems integrator.
According to eConsultancy, all client-side respondents based in the UK who spend more than £2m on eCommerce technology are currently using or have used an implementer / integrator, compared to only 6% of those who spend less than £100,000.
Similarly, more than three-quarters (78%) of those with an annual revenue from eCommerce of more than £100m use or have used an integrator, compared to only 12% of those earning less than £1m.
Monolithic IT systems are no longer fit for purpose. The modern business utilises a large diversity of computer systems and devices, all of which need to be integrated. But despite the obvious need to successfully join up eCommerce with other parts of the business (e.g. ERP, call centre, POS, CRM) and an endless list of third parties (e.g. parcel carriers, payment gateways, social feeds, online marketplace etc) it would appear that most businesses are struggling to deliver integration projects at the speed they require.
For decades solution providers have been encouraging businesses to move away from disparate systems and to consolidate their operations on to a single solution. The objective being to reduce the cost of managing and maintaining different software packages and provide “one version of the truth”.
Though in an ideal world a single solution that caters for any business requirement is optimal, it is an unrealistic expectation. Organisations, regardless of their industry, have different functions and facets unique to them that cannot be catered for by a single packaged product. Therefore throughout the lifetime of most systems, and especially monolithic software such as ERP or Financials, one can expect the introduction of some new systems, and the retirement of other existing, allied business applications.
With this endless list of channels, solutions and third parties, it’s unlikely that a standard all-encompassing solution would be able to cater for all these unique requirements. For this reason, the use of an Integration Platform is becoming ever-more popular. The Integration platform can become a strategic, enterprise-wide solution that that can often save time and money, as well as improve business performance.
For more information on our Integration Platform click here.