Relative to B2B eCommerce…what is important to you, your business leaders, and your customers?
Are the challenges of the current economic climate impacting your organization’s IT department and specifically, the eCommerce group? What is your organization doing to satisfy business partners?
Many managers in IT are being asked to slash headcount, curtail integration efforts, and defer key eCommerce projects. In these organizations, IT has to constantly sell business areas on the value of their existence or face shrinking budgets and relevance to their organizations. Other organizations, where IT value is recognized and valued, are turning to their eCommerce groups for the advantages these teams and their technology often bring the companies…efficiency, productivity, reduced cycle times, and business process modeling / management. Evidence of IT’s valued role in insightful organizations is pointed out in a Careerbuilder.com 2009 US Hiring Forecast (PDF) that indicates information technology positions will be the most recruited of all corporate positions in 2009, and by our experience with consulting and perm staffing requests which continue to be strong into 2009.
As EDI tools have evolved into B2B commerce (PDF), the eCommerce area has assumed a roll in such things as business network integration / collaboration and supply chain visibility / management. The outcome of this evolution is that eCommerce groups now have a bigger impact on traditional business area functions like managing customer relationships and customer acquisition / retention than they have in the past.
While cost cutting and fear is a natural reaction to tough times, it isn’t exactly a long run growth strategy. A recent survey performed by CIO Magazine collaboratively with Forrester Research indicate what besides operating costs are on business executives (C-level) minds concerning IT and 2009. They believe systems directed towards acquiring and retaining customers and managing customer relationships to be the two most important priorities for IT this year. To compare the alignment of 2009 initiatives, these tie for eighth most important among CIOs in the CIO Magazine survey.
Clearly there is a difference in agendas among the CIOs and CEOs in this survey. While that is likely not the case at your organization, the proactive review of people, process, and technology, along with creative use of eCommerce infrastructure directed towards improvement in customer acquisition and retention, will certainly pay dividends in an economic time where revenue is king for organizations. Who knows, you may be rewarded handsomely with your insight and business prowess at a time when companies are looking to find leaders.
Many eCommerce groups are leading their companies and helping them compete in challenging times. We know because we are assisting some of these companies right now. We are working with them on projects that have been cost justified given projected productivity gains and improved customer collaboration. This is largely being accomplished through the utilization of existing B2B eCommerce infrastructure in new and creative ways.
If eCommerce tools are not in the budget, which they are not for many, forget the new tools. If you are not already, now is the time to use your existing tools to a greater degree for operational efficiencies and effectiveness.
Good luck…now go lead.