ECommerce, with a year over year growth rate of 13.8% and expected US sales of $440 billion by 2017, is an increasingly integral part of maintaining a competitive ability to do business. Advanced online analytics and customer tracking give enterprises the unprecedented ability to improve organizational efficiency and gather data on consumer behavior in order to glean insights that increase sales. However, the lack of integration with CRM, ERP and other LOB (line-of-business) applications
remains a fundamental problem in the ability to realize the full potential that eCommerce can provide to a business.
Without full integration into a platform accessible by all departments across an organization, vital data remains relegated to various compartmentalized software applications used by different teams throughout a business, continuing a pattern of lost opportunities due to organizational inefficiency and a lack of timely information sharing.
*Sources: Forrester Research and Internet Retailer
Enterprise Businesses: A Hesitation to Integrate
Yet only 16% of enterprise businesses have elected to move forward with full eCommerce integration with legacy systems, despite the proven benefits of such an action. The flood of customer data sources driven by Social, Mobile, Big Data, Cloud based computing and the internet of things (IOT) makes full system integration
a daunting challenge for any organization. Typical reasons given for the reluctance to elect for full integration include high up-front costs, time of deployment, reliance on the few individuals with the technical acumen to build and maintain such a system, security and privacy concerns, and the lack of solutions custom tailored to the specific needs and goals of individual business processes.
Partial Integration is NOT the Solution
Instead partial integration seems to be the default option for many companies, as evidenced by the growth of SaaS systems at 16.8% by 2015 and their current 40% market share of software sales. SaaS applications, specifically CRM systems, partially solve eCommerce integration problems through their low cost of ownership over time (COT), ability to quickly deploy, propensity to swiftly adapt to market change, built-in mobile considerations, and partial web analytics integrations with relevant legacy systems. However, these types of software do not offer a complete solution for enterprise businesses and still fail to take advantage of the opportunities a back-office integration with an enterprise eCommerce platform can offer. Furthermore, these systems provide out-of-the-box capabilities that aren’t custom tailored to the specific needs of individual enterprise organizational business processes. Indeed, SaaS systems still act as individual units instead of a cohesive group, failing to make their data accessible on a single platform for the different departments of an organization.
With the rising tide of different sources of data from Social, Mobile, Big Data, and the internet of things, businesses need a robust, custom integration solution
now more than ever. As organizations cleverly devise more sophisticated ways to extract data from their supply chain, consumers, products and services, they will require a platform capable of extensible functionality and scalability. There is no better time to choose a complete, fully customizable systems integration than now. As time and technology progresses, integration will become more expensive, take longer to deploy and less secure.