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Posted by Brian Walker on October 19, 2011
We are in a highly disruptive time in the world of commerce technology. Consumers are interacting in increasingly unique ways empowered with ubiquitous Internet connectivity with fun and easy to use interfaces and tools. Their expectations are impacting how companies market, manage their supply chains, organize, and measure the business. The needs of “the platform” seem to evolve from one week to the next. What we used to call eCommerce Platforms are now not only powering webistes, but also mobile sites, mobile apps, call centers, and in-store or in-branch interfaces that both customers and staff are using – sometimes together.
But there is an even more fundamental change about to occur – the agile commerce platform. The agile commerce platform will expose commerce as a service (CaaS) to support all touchpoints with customers. A services enabled platform which will enable eBusiness & Channel Strategy leaders to drive differentiation, respond to changing customer expectations, and enable creative business relationships to support business adaptation and facilitate growth*. Commerce solution providers from across the map are building CaaS solutions.
CaaS will be a critical strategic shift not just for developers and IT pros, but will quickly become a critical business priority. Businesses today require a two speed technology strategy. The initial speed of an agile commerce technology strategy is slow and steady, as businesses invest in core technology platforms that support all touchpoints. These platforms must be exposed through scalable, secure, and stable APIs, which require programmatic technology management and an enterprise-wide investment. Older legacy technology may have new life as their functionality is bundled with commerce platforms and exposed through web services.
Speed two of an agile commerce technology strategy is fast and nimble as businesses enable and encourage rapid innovation, optimization, and experimentation at the end-touchpoints. Web developers and creative marketers combine to leverage speed two with rapid evolutions and optimization while speed one — slow and steady — is secure, available, and managed carefully as a business critical capability.
I will be illustrating examples of companies implementing agile commerce platforms and adapting to the era of agile commerce in my keynote presentation at next week’s Forrester Consumer Forum in Chicago. I hope to see you there so we can talk more about this. Meanwhile, I look forward to your thoughts on the report.
*”The platform” will never be the reason for business growth. Many factors – primarily the products being sold and how well they are marketed – are the reason for that. But the platform cannot get in the way of the business adapting how it reaches, engages, and transacts with customers.