We are well versed in the general consumer businesses with a physical presence in the marketplace developing an online presence – effectively moving their offer into a product-based website. Over the last few years, we have seen the further development of marketplace models for more diverse product groups spanning food, health, manufacturing and finance. The mantra of needing to have a website to showcase your products is the norm.
What has not followed through in this product marketplace, across numerous companies, is the accompanying back end operational processes; logistics and supply chain interactions and finance and billing processes, to fully automate and leverage these capabilities.
This issue exists in multiple B2C and B2B business models. It creates complexity, increases the risk of failure and ultimately adds costs to the provision of your products. In addition, any failure can ultimately result in satisfaction and loyalty issues – driving your customers away.
The current need to digitally transform your business, taking 18 months to 2 years to completely revamp every aspect of your back-end systems, processes, and manual interactions, is not possible – both from a time to success perspective, as well as from a cost to change.
Working with our clients, we have identified five areas that are critical to their digital transformation success:
- Customer Experience: Whilst this is not obvious, taking an ‘outside in’ approach to the customer experience will also pay dividends in the backend support processes, systems and activities. Rather than present your complex purchasing steps, think of this in terms of your customers’ journey and what they actually experience. Unless you map out the complete end-to-end customer journey and where your business interacts with it, you cannot begin to digitally transform those services. You will just digitise your existing mess.
- Back-end Operational Processes: The focus should be on digitizing processes to reduce operating costs and differentiate services. However, before just replacing manual processes with automation, think about which processes can be replaced, removed or adapted to the new digital capabilities. As part of our workflow orchestration engagement, we work with clients to take operations steps out and also optimise via automation – saving time, effort and ultimately delivering more value.
- Workflow Automation and Monitoring: Do you measure, monitor and optimise across the whole e-commerce process? Do you have a toolset that alerts you to failures? Delays? Bottlenecks? You need to gain insight and control over your digital workflows to reduce complexity, delay and costs in your business operations.
- Analytical Insight: Can you measure, monitor and report on the end-to-end provision of your e-commerce services? Control over operations analytics provides you with the insights to improve business efficiencies, optimise costs and thereby gain a competitive advantage. Can you relate these operations analytics to the customer journey and defined customer experience? Your ultimate aim is to improve your end-user experience to increase customer share of wallet spend and improve retention and loyalty.
- Infrastructure & Software Optimisation: You can accomplish the first four points listed above without the need to replace wholescale your infrastructure provision. Optimising your infrastructure and software application stack takes time and a detailed understanding of the digital outcomes you want to achieve. Only when you have a comprehensive plan will you be able to improve your operations to enhance cost-effectiveness and flexibility of delivery.
As you look to digitally transform your e-commerce business, it’s important to scrutinise its strategy in terms of customers, processes, toolsets and outcomes. However, it is vital to get into the details of how to optimise your current end-to-end business delivery, prior to re-designing your entire business model.
Whether it’s managing warehouse inventory; updating in-store pricing; ensuring customer favourites are always in stock; tailoring promotional activities based on customer purchasing patterns; or cutting the costs of provision of the end-to-end e-commerce customer service, e-commerce workflow digital transformation will deliver significant business value.
Here at MDB Service Consulting, we are working with clients to focus on many of the highlighted areas above – whether it is mapping customer journeys, back-end process optimisation, workflow automation and monitoring or how to tie together disparate data sources to provide insight into business value.
We’re here to make things easier. Give me a call to find out more about the benefits we can bring to your e-commerce business transformation.
Head of Digital Transformation Services at Ortom8 & MDB Service Consulting Ltd