Just a quick intro to set the scene, there are six key reasons why I think it’s important that businesses put the right time, and effort, and resource into these projects to get the right output. So first of all, platform investment is a major investment for business. Whether you’re a small business starting out on your ecommerce journey or an existing £100 million plus retailer, there’s a lot of money spent investing in the platform, not just the technology, but all of the operational requirements that go around implementing a new platform. So it’s critical to get value for money.
Secondly, the platform has to support your operational needs. That means it needs to align with business strategy, goals, business processes and internal capabilities. Therefore, you have to sit and think about which technology platform solution is going to best align with your business.
Third, the project’s got to be affordable, so that doesn’t just mean upfront costs of development, and then the basic support maintenance. It means what happens to your OpEx and CapEx costs over the lifetime of that platform, three to five years down the line, as you grow. How do those costs scale? How affordable is it? What percentage of your overall revenue is the platform going to cost?
Fourth, there is risk. Whenever there is technology and people, there is risk. Therefore, you need to understand what those risks are, carefully define them and put a mitigation plan in place to do that. That requires close attention, and someone who is experienced in risk management.
Fifth, it’s an incredibly complex project. Ecommerce platforms have huge amounts of capability in them, and how each platform does each capability varies considerably. Good example is catalogue management and the way that product data is taken from back end systems and put into product master, how product data be configured, and how flexible the solutions are in terms of allowing you to put the data in how you want to do it, and configure the project in a way that’s best for your market and your customers.
Therefore, with this level of complexity, it’s critical to have very smart project management in order to ensure the project is scoped, properly defined, and that throughout the project, the project management is adhered to and that the scope is borne in mind when decisions are made in terms of prioritisation.
Last, by no means least, failing to put the right resource, team structure and investment upfront is actually a false economy. If you don’t put the right time and effort now, you can actually compromise project decisions and end up spending a lot of money later on rectifying poor decision making.
A great example is technical SEO; not making smart decisions for information architecture now can cost a lot of money retrospectively to fix.
So those are the six key reasons why your business needs to take this type of project seriously. I hope that you find my video series interesting. It walks you through all of the elements of running a successful RFP, from going to market to look at vendors after defining your business requirements, through to project management, SI partner selection and ongoing due diligence.
I’ve got a lovely Blue Peter style contact card, so if anybody has any questions, then please do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you and be happy to help.