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How Digital Commerce Serves as an Icebreaker for Digital Transformation at Industrial Companies

Fifth and final part of a blog series on how to succeed with your digital initiative.

Jonas Prosell / June 26, 2023
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Our experience with B2B companies has clearly shown that building customer portals and webshops serves as a catalyst for digital transformation and process automation. These projects often act as significant starting points, enabling our clients to begin their digital journey with enhanced efficiency and streamlined operations.

You might wonder how. Well, to facilitate the buyer's journey and the functionality required for digital commerce, the webshop and self-service features need to receive the right information from underlying systems, and transactions need to be executed according to customer expectations. Everything needs to happen consistently and in a timely manner.

This often leads to a chain reaction where our clients must work on breaking down silos, consolidating master data in one place and making it accessible, conducting a thorough analysis of all related processes, and ensuring system support to create the desired customer experience. As a result, our clients become equipped to embrace the ongoing commitment to continuous improvement.

Technology becomes an enabler rather than a driving force. New technology is good, but only if the selling company has the capacity and maturity to use it.

There isn't a single platform that we recommend for all companies. Nor is there a universal solution. Our experience with various systems, clients, and industries shows that good solutions can be built in several different ways.

Several different content management systems (CMS) can fit the customer depending on their budget, organization, business, and maturity. The same applies to the e-commerce platform.

For some companies, a product information management system (PIM) is crucial to increase productivity and maintain product information across multiple sales channels. For others, managing digital assets in a Digital Asset Management System (DAM) is a central component.

Additionally, there is a multitude of different applications for content creation, marketing, personalization, analysis, product recommendations, AR, VR, and more, which can have a valid place in the application landscape. In terms of the industry, technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT) to control and send information from machines can also be useful in a customer portal. We also see that educational platforms and VR and AR technology can be highly beneficial for guiding and educating customers within the scope of a customer portal.

So, how do you best build a future-proof and scalable architecture?

  1. There are platforms that offer a wide range of functionality and tight integration. Choosing such a platform can be an efficient way to build the entire customer journey and the customer portal. We recommend our clients to analyze what suits them best based on their specific situation.
  2. Another approach is to assemble different applications in a "best of breed" solution. It is important that the components are built "API-first," meaning that it's easy to communicate information between them. The interfaces used by the customer on PCs, mobile devices, or other devices are usually built independently of the underlying systems.
  3. In an "ultra-agile" solution, the solution is often built from scratch and specifically tailored to the customer. This approach suits advanced companies with very high demands.

Irrespective of the chosen path, the customer needs to consider that the solution should allow for growth and the addition of new features to improve the customer journey over time. Regardless of the platform and technology choice for the customer portal itself, orchestrating the customer journey and managing customer relationships will require focused efforts to transform the business and processes. This often frees up resources and contributes to building a better company!

I hope this blog series has been educational and provided you with insights and inspiration for your digital journey. Do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to schedule a meeting and discuss further.

Kind regards
Jonas Prosell

Read part 1/5 in my blog series: Why customer portal is hotter than ever.
Read part 2/5 in my blog series:
The right functionality for value creation.
Read part 3/5 in my blog series: How to smartly build a value-creating customer portal.
Read part 4/5 in my blog series: How the customer portal contributes to internal efficiency.

Jonas Prosell
Senior Business Consultant
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