In a recent webinar, ASUG shared data from a survey of SAP customers that asked them to identify key challenges facing their businesses today. The responses were fascinating, revealing a low appetite for AI and ML technologies (not surprising) and a clear acknowledgment of the importance of cloud strategies.
One thing in particular stood out to us. When asked what factors most directly affected their business, the largest proportion of respondents (33%) chose “Finding skilled talent.”
Yikes. Cloud strategies require skilled talent to execute. While SAP customers have identified cloud as the way forward, the labor market is dealing them a rough hand at the moment.
Out of all the digital transformation projects an organization can take on, B2B eCommerce arguably has the most impact on market share and customer retention. But how are companies supposed to launch cloud-based B2B eCommerce in this difficult labor market?
Here are 3 keys to defining your path forward.
1. Look for a cloud-based B2B eCommerce solution that includes SAP ERP integration
With the shortage of skilled IT talent, complex architectures are your enemy. Clearly, B2B eCommerce needs to talk to SAP ERP (and vice versa). The web store should display real-time SAP data and offer experiences that conform to the appropriate customer-specific logic in SAP.
But how can you deliver that complexity? Won’t you have to build separate teams to handle B2B eCommerce and the integration platform? That’s a lot to ask in today’s labor market — and your existing IT resources probably have enough on their hands.
We believe the key is a B2B eCommerce solution that includes prebuilt SAP integration (as Corevist Commerce does). An architecture like this removes one stage of complexity. Rather than requiring three separate systems and three copies of data and logic, it allows you to maintain everything in one place (SAP only). Whatever changes you make to SAP business rules or data, those changes appear instantly in B2B eCommerce.
2. Engage a project methodology that delivers real customer value fast
Great technology isn’t enough to deliver a great B2B eCommerce program. Given the lack of skilled talent available for your B2B eCommerce project, you need a way to eliminate waste at every stage. Otherwise, you may end up with an implementation that goes months or years beyond the deadline. Worst case, a poorly-run project may deliver a B2B portal that doesn’t work for customers.
How do you ensure that B2B eCommerce launches on schedule?
And how do you make sure it actually meets customer needs?
You’ll need a B2B eCommerce methodology that includes customers early in the project.
The goal here is to show the software to real customers and ask them to run through real business scenarios. Paying off an invoice, placing an order, running a dynamic SAP report in the B2B eCommerce portal — all these things need to be tested with actual users. Every step of the way, you want to ask what works and what doesn’t. The answers may surprise you.
By the way, you can’t engage customers in real business scenarios if the B2B eCommerce solution isn’t integrated to SAP on Day 1. That’s one of many reasons that Corevist includes prebuilt integration.
3. Find a single partner to manage B2B eCommerce AND your SAP integration
B2B eCommerce projects don’t end on GoLive day. In fact, that’s when they’re just getting started.
So who’s going to support your B2B eCommerce solution, day in and day out?
Who has the expertise to understand your SAP integration, the way it reflects your unique business processes, and the way it drives your front-end B2B eCommerce experience?
Say something breaks — because it will. Who can you call to find that bug when you have different teams (or vendors) owning different sections of a complex technology stack?
These were uncomfortable questions before the skilled labor shortage, but they’re even tougher now. The key is to engage a partner who provides managed B2B eCommerce solutions that include SAP integration. With a partner like this in place, you know your B2B eCommerce program is in good hands. Rather than hiring skilled expertise to support the solution, you can focus on your core business. This is the thinking behind Corevist Commerce.