Sam Bayer


The really drives people to pursue SAP B2B eCommerce?

By now, everyone knows about the “big two” drivers for SAP® Integrated B2B eCommerce projects: revenue growth and cost savings.  While the spreadsheet huggers love those two, the more strategic thinkers are latching onto the “become easier to do business with” (ETDBW) mantra as their overarching driver.  Every article or presentation I’ve ever seen (or written) leans on one or more of those drivers to help an organization build the case to fund their B2B eCommerce journeys.  Recently, I’ve come to realize that embracing those drivers in your organization, while necessary to get a project funded, is not sufficient to get people motivated enough to pack their bags and to get on the bus.  Today’s post is about what’s really motivating organization to write the checks and to dedicate their people to make it happen.

These are the top three reasons that are making our phones ring lately:

  1. We’ve Made an Acquisition – This, by far, is the most popular trigger for an SAP® Integrated B2B eCommerce project.  Big Company buys Small Company and forces them onto SAP® in order to realize the “synergies” of the acquisition.  In the process, Small Company loses their eCommerce capabilities and needs to transition all of their web customers on the day they go live with SAP®.  Their existing eCommerce solution is integrated with their legacy ERP system and it isn’t worth reengineering to support SAP®.  Time is of the essence and budgets and people are already strained.  The B2B eCommerce project deadline is looming and there is no turning back.  When they go live on SAP® they shut off their existing website.

This story line focuses the mind, makes it easy to justify the project, and frankly, really accentuates the value of the Corevist cloud based product and business model. 

We love speed and we love leveraging everything that’s in SAP® in real time.

  1. We’ve got Channel challenges – “Our distributor is simply not doing their job anymore.”  “I can barely find my products on their website and they’re drop-shipping more and more orders directly from the factory to the customer.  Weren’t they supposed to be stocking our products locally?”  “Holy moly, our UK distributor just imploded.  How are we going to handle all of those orders coming from the 500 customers that they used to support for us?”  “We’re giving away all this margin and what exactly are we getting in return?”

In most cases, these woes have been building up over time and manufacturers are reaching the tipping point.  Everyone knows that the manufacturing, distribution, customer services, finance, sales & marketing departments will all be drastically impacted by a distribution channel change.  So making the change is a bit scary.  You know it’s coming, but you’re a little leery about pushing the potential “channel conflict” button just yet.

Then one day, the decision is made for you.

One of your key distributors goes out of business and you have to service his customers directly or lose 10% of your revenue this year.  Your customer service organization is on the front line and is absolutely overwhelmed.  Other parts of your organization have been preparing, and while it’s a bit of a struggle for them, they’re managing.  You have to get an SAP® Integrated B2B eCommerce website up asap or your going to have to start dealing with employees walking out the door and customers defecting to the competition.

That’s not just a story line, that’s really happening in several situations that we’re involved with right now. 

We love speed and we love leveraging everything that’s in SAP® in real time.

  1. We’ve outgrown our platform –  “We’re selling Industrial Chemicals on a platform that was designed to sell Beanie Babies”.  “We’re emailing all of the orders that are placed on the website to our CSRs who are rekeying them into SAP®”.  “Our sales guys are sending new customers to our distributors, and we’re losing margins on our products, because our existing website lies to everyone.  It doesn’t have contract pricing, accurate inventory or up to date delivery status”.  “Every order we get costs us at least 3 phone calls.  We can’t scale the business with the existing website and its lack of integration to SAP®”. “We’ve got 3 people on staff just managing the integration, and the inevitable fallout from when the integration falls apart”.

These are the projects I love the most because I’m a peacemaker.  Disconnected websites exists because IT and Marketing organizations are disconnected from one another.  I like bringing them into a room together and showing them that it doesn’t have to be an “either/or” decision.  They can have both pretty websites AND accurate information and in many cases, without either party having to make any compromises.

We love speed and we love leveraging everything that’s in SAP® in real time.

My bottom line on this topic?

Get motivated and then justify your projects.  It doesn’t work as well the other way around. :-)