Hybris Competitors & Alternatives

Evaluating Options for SAP e-commerce

Not everyone can justify the expense and complexity of Hybris. Are there any viable Hybris competitors or alternatives that meet the needs of mid-market companies?

 

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Is Hybris the only e-commerce option for midmarket SAP firms?

When you bring in Hybris for SAP e-commerce, the project can get expensive and complex, not to mention lengthy. Some companies may be able to justify the expense (though even that’s debatable). But what about that wide band of B2B companies who want something faster and more simple? Are there any viable Hybris competitors that meet the needs of these companies?

Most importantly—how can B2B firms evaluate Hybris competitors and make an informed decision?

There are 9 factors which you should consider when evaluating alternatives to Hybris. We’ll talk about each one in depth.

Step 1: Look at your customers’ needs

Step 2: Look at your business needs

Step 3: Evaluate Hybris competitors for experience and alignment with your needs

Step 4: Look at TCO (total cost of ownership)

Step 5: Look at TTM (time to market)

Step 6: Look at complexity

Step 7: Look at data management and solution architecture

Step 8: Consider the incentives of Systems Integrators

Step 9: Look at maintenance costs

 

 


 

 

 

 

Step 1: Look at your customers’ needs

Before you evaluate technology, before you look at your own business needs, look at your customers’ needs. E-commerce should be a customer-centric project. Interrogate your business processes, from the perspective of your customer. You can start with questions like these:

  • How well do our current sales channels serve our customers’ needs? Is there room for improvement?
  • What’s slowing our customers down? What are they afraid to tell us the truth about our sales and order management process? (Hint: ask them what they think!)
  • How do our customers feel when they pick up the phone, send an email, or fax in an order? How does this process fit into their busy day?   

 

Step 2: Look at your business needs

In e-commerce, as in all tech-driven fields, it’s tempting to start with technology and choose the most impressive offering you can afford. Unfortunately, that’s a backward approach. Rather, an SAP e-commerce project should start with a thorough survey of your business needs and move from there to the evaluation of specific e-commerce vendors.

What is your goal? Why are you launching an e-commerce channel? You need to have a specific, measurable, and attainable goal that will focus your efforts—the more specific, the more measurable, and the more attainable, the better. Here are some examples of goals which validate the creation of an e-commerce channel:

  • Reach the growing Millennial segment among your customers now, as they launch their careers as B2B buyers. Offer them the 24x7x365 e-commerce experience they’ve come to expect from the B2C sector.
  • Undercut a competitor who already has e-commerce by offering a better user experience, better inventory availability, and faster order fulfillment—then go after this segment with a targeted marketing campaign.  
  • Future-proof your business with an e-commerce solution that is scalable and ready to adapt to wherever the market may go in the future.
  • Launch e-commerce before your competition to offer highly commoditized products with easy reordering and full integration to SAP.
  • Move 5% of your sales online this year, 10% next year, and 20% the year after. Maintain your existing customer base with the lower overhead of e-commerce selling.
  • Move a specific market segment to e-commerce by launching an e-commerce solution and conducting a marketing campaign targeted to that segment. Move 25% of the segment online in 6 months and 50% in 1 year.

 

Step 3: Evaluate Hybris competitors for experience and alignment with your needs

To some degree, you can’t avoid complexity when it comes to SAP e-commerce—especially in the B2B sector. Executing complexity requires experience. As you’re looking at vendors, you need to determine whether you feel comfortable doing business with the company. You should evaluate each Hybris competitor along the following lines:

  • Get a sense of the company’s portfolio. Who are some of their clients? While some clients may not want to be mentioned publicly, a reputable e-commerce vendor should be able to prove their experience with client references.
  • Get a sense of the company’s flexibility. Have they published any success stories that demonstrate how they adapt to unique business needs? This may indicate how well they will adapt to your unique needs.
  • Get a sense of the company’s history. How long have they been in business? A new company may be learning the ropes—even using projects as paid training. This may lead to a lower up-front price tag, but the risks are difficult to calculate. It’s best to choose a vendor with a proven track-record of experience.
  • How close to your time zone are they? If something breaks—and it will—you don’t want your e-commerce vendor to be unreachable because of a large time-zone difference. If the vendor has only one geographic location, make sure their time zone is reasonably close to yours. If the vendor is a global company, evaluate their presence in the time-zone closest to yours.   
  • Evaluate the company’s language expertise. If your primary language is not the vendor’s primary language, communication may get difficult. In addition, if you represent a global company that needs a multilingual e-commerce solution, make sure the vendor you’re considering is competent in those languages and can present them through accurate translations in your e-commerce store.

 

Step 4: Look at TCO (total cost of ownership)

Ultimately, your e-commerce initiative needs to generate ROI (return on investment) through e-commerce sales. You need to project the TCO (total cost of ownership) of your e-commerce sales channel as accurately as you can. You need to compare that number with your projected sales figures from e-commerce.

How much of your e-commerce revenue should you spend maintaining your e-commerce solution? In one recent study, respondents spent an average of 7% of e-commerce revenues on their e-commerce solution. But here’s a little secret: our clients spend an average of 0.005% – 0.590% of e-commerce revenues on their e-commerce solution.

Things to incorporate into your TCO calculations:

  • Implementation fee—a one-time fee to get the solution off the ground. May or may not include consulting fees.
  • Consulting fees—a one-time expense that some Hybris competitors may generate.
  • Retainer fee—an ongoing fee for use of the service, generally billed monthly, quarterly, or annually.
  • Maintenance fees—some solutions may require more maintenance and troubleshooting than others. (More on this in Step 7.)

 

Step 5: Look at TTM (time to market)

TTM (time to market) is deeply intertwined with the complexity of the project (see below). We’ll talk about complexity in a moment, but first, consider TTM on its own. How long can you afford to wait between project initiation and the final go-live? Large, multibillion-dollar companies may have a lot more security in their markets than smaller firms. For the midmarket segment, fast TTM can mean new customers in as little as 90 days if e-commerce is supported with intelligent marketing activities.

But gaining new customers fast isn’t the only benefit of a short TTM. Others include:

  • Raising the bar in your industry by getting ahead of competitors who haven’t launched e-commerce yet.
  • Less time spent recouping your investment, as fast TTM generally correlates with lower overall cost.
  • Cheaper order-to-cash process implemented in 90 days.

 

Step 6: Look at complexity

You already defined your business needs in Step 1. Now stick to them—and resist the urge to adopt complexity simply because it’s the shiniest thing in the window. What do you actually need? If you’re in talks with a salesperson at a Hybris competitor, ask yourself: what am I paying for that I don’t need?

Your business needs must drive every aspect of the e-commerce platform sales process. Start with your needs first, then map them against the simplest solution that will satisfy them. Resist the urge to buy a big, powerful Humvee if all you really need is a well-built Civic.

Step 7: Look at data management and solution architecture

The industry sells integration but delivers duplication.” This is an unfortunate reality that you may encounter when evaluating Hybris competitors. Integration is a popular word—but how many SAP e-commerce solutions actually achieve it?

For Systems Integrators, it’s much easier to duplicate rather than integrate. (It’s also more expensive, which systems integrators like—see below.) Potentially, every data point in SAP can be duplicated in your e-commerce store—products, customers, pricing rules, inventory levels, and more.

Consider the cost of duplication carefully. If the data lives in two places, one system (SAP) must still act as the system of record, and the other system (e-commerce) will need continual data sync to stay up to date.

Depending on volume and complexity, syncing data by batch updates can become inefficient and expensive. A real-time interface to SAP solves this issue by querying SAP for data and displaying that data in the e-commerce store. When evaluating Hybris’s competition, you should hold vendors to this standard. Do they interface with SAP? Or do they duplicate and synchronize?

Step 8: Consider the incentives of Systems Integrators

Unfortunately, Systems Integrators aren’t incentivized to deliver you the simplest, most effective solution. Rather, they’re incentivized to give you the most expensive solution—the one that offers them the highest margins. Whenever a salesperson pushes complexity, question it. What are his or her motives? Does the value that’s being offered align with your business needs?

Here are some questions you should ask a salesperson when they introduce an expensive e-commerce feature:

  • How does this feature help my customers?
  • How does this feature help my employees?
  • Does this feature provide value that I can’t live without? If I can live without it, why pay for it?
  • Will this feature bring in more money than it costs (lead to ROI at a feature level)?  

 

Step 9: Look at maintenance costs

We briefly mentioned maintenance costs in Step 2, but it’s worth breaking them out for a separate discussion. Why? Because SAP e-commerce ROI lives or dies by maintenance cost.

In a recent report commissioned by Hybris, Forrester found that Hybris requires no less than 12 full-time employees to maintain. As you evaluate Hybris alternatives, realize that almost anything will look better than 12 full-time employees—but even at 6 or 3 full-time employees, you may be paying too much.

What about an e-commerce solution that takes 0 full-time employees to maintain?

It’s totally possible. In fact, 1/3 of Corevist clients have no IT staff dedicated to e-commerce maintenance. As you look at your options for an SAP e-commerce solution, let that be the standard against which you evaluate maintenance costs.

The Takeaway

In the world of SAP e-commerce, Hybris may be the big player—but Hybris alternatives offer great options, especially for firms that don’t need all that complexity and expense. The key is to evaluate each Hybris competitor against the criteria we’ve outlined above. Once you can map each of these dimensions to specific data points in your business, you can make an informed decision on which solution is best for you.

Wondering how Corevist can help you today? Click below to schedule a demo of our e-commerce solution, which interfaces with SAP in real time.