What is Enterprise Commerce: Custom or Off-The-Shelf Solution?
Finding the right eCommerce platform is the first step offline commerce businesses take when they decide to go digital. While small and medium-sized businesses have little difficulty in choosing an eCommerce platform, for large companies it may become a real challenge. As large businesses require enterprise-level systems that could handle their heavy workload, provide enough functionality to support most of the business activities, and integrate with other systems. Therefore, many enterprises opt for developing custom enterprise commerce solutions.
In this article, we’ll look into what enterprise commerce is in general, which business solutions companies can expect from ready-made enterprise commerce platforms, and what to consider if creating a custom enterprise commerce solution.
What is Enterprise Commerce?
The term enterprise commerce is rather self-explanatory. It involves a large, enterprise-level business that offers its services or products to individual buyers as well as to other businesses (B2B and B2C).
For effective commerce, enterprise businesses usually use enterprise commerce platforms. These platforms are much more robust, offer a wider range of tools, and can handle heavier workloads than most eCommerce platforms used by small and medium-sized businesses. They help large businesses:
- perform the most essential business tasks on one platform, e.g. inventory management, customer management, product shipping, catalog management, and others;
- handle multiple selling channels;
- provide multi-store support;
- optimize eCommerce websites to desktop and mobile views;
- effectively manage complex workflow;
- perform advanced data analysis;
- carry out payments in various methods using several global currencies;
- implement the latest digital technologies for efficient business expansion and revenue growth, e.g. blockchain, Big Data analytics, AI technology, and others.
Although enterprise commerce platforms are created for large businesses with a global presence and multi-million dollar revenues, smaller companies can also integrate them into their digital ecosystem. Thus, SMEs with a long-term vision for their business advancement and who want to grow together with their eCommerce platforms turn to enterprise commerce development and build their own digital solutions.
About Enterprise Commerce Solutions
There is a wide range of solutions that can be embedded into enterprise commerce platforms. Let’s have a closer look at them and find out when enterprise businesses may need them.
- Product Information Management (PIM) – the software used by many eCommerce companies for efficient product information management across diverse selling and communication with customers channels. Apart from organizing data into convenient catalogs for customers, it also allows companies to keep their product database updated across company departments, supply chain partners, and others.
- Business Process Management (BPM) – a useful tool focused on long-term analysis of diverse activities and tasks within a company, making them consistent and simple to manage. Using a BPM tool, companies can create, deploy, group, analyze, automate and improve their business processes from employee onboarding to account management to invoicing to project management, and others.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) – the software used for alleviating daily business activities in a company. A decent ERP system handles various business processes, including accounting, procurement, HR, project management, risk management and compliance, supply chain management, and many others and allows data storage and processing within one database.
- Human Resource Management (HRM) – a convenient tool for the human resource department utilized for employee management. Using this tool, HR managers can efficiently hire and onboard staff, provide employees with training and monitor their performance, handle incentives, benefits, welfare, health, and other programs, and much more.
- Product Data Management (PDM) – a tool responsible for the management and publication of product-related data widely used in engineering, manufacturing, construction, and others. It allows tracking product versions, handing a bill of materials (BOM), creating instructions, handling engineering data and designs in CAD tools, monitoring engineering processes, and much more.
- Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) – the software that helps track an entire journey of a product from its construction to providing it as a service to its disposal. PLM tools unite business processes, organizational data, external systems, product design, manufacturing, maintenance, deployment, and other processes on one platform, increasing data transparency between departments as well as third parties involved.
- Supply Chain Software (SCM) – this tool is about optimization and successful product delivery. Using SCM systems companies can improve their product handling processes, retrace the cheapest and safest routes for product delivery, increase data transparency across supply chain participants, enhance their customer satisfaction by providing convenient product ordering and delivery services, and much more.
- Business Intelligence (BI) – BI represents a suite of tools and technologies that gather, analyze, and visualize raw data from various sources. Companies can use this processed and refined data for further business insights, e.g. defining and improving unprofitable activities, preventing losses, assessing staff performance, minimizing business risks, and much more.
Benefits of Custom Enterprise Commerce Development
When businesses switch from using a variety of separated business solutions to integrated enterprise commerce platforms, they gain numerous benefits:
- enhanced customer experience when the goods and services are delivered smoothly and without any delays;
- operational efficiency due to the elimination of data silos between the company’s departments, selling and communication channels as well as the increase in working efficiency when diverse business operations are fulfilled within a single ecosystem;
- advanced analytics as modern enterprise commerce solutions have AI and ML-driven instruments that can help analyze large amounts of raw data gathered inside the company and from external sources;
- omni-channel communication between brick-and-mortar and digital stores with seamless operations, convenient transactions, and better customer satisfaction.
However, all these advantages can be overshadowed by inconvenient or insufficient functionality that businesses may find in off-the-shelf solutions. The fact is that each enterprise company is unique and has its own established, often complex processes. Therefore, they require the enterprise commerce platforms to be carefully adjusted to their business needs. This can be achieved with custom enterprise solutions.
When companies turn to custom enterprise commerce development, they get scalable enterprise platforms built in line with their business processes and requirements. Moreover, they obtain better-protected solutions as they don’t have to depend on third-party vendors, entrusting them with the most sensitive company data.
Tip on How to Choose an Enterprise Commerce Provider
When building proprietary enterprise commerce platforms, several things should be taken into account:
- What are their major business objectives for re-platforming?
This can be establishing a more user-friendly UI for customers, reducing expenses, increase in ROI, real-time data analysis, multi-store management, etc.
- What are the current app and software bottlenecks that they want to avoid on a new platform?
This can include updating the legacy system of the current platform or software, difficulties in software integration, security issues, etc.
- What are the critical features they want to include in their new platform?
A new platform can include any enterprise commerce platform functionality from conventional ERPs to more industry-specific such as PDM or BI. Moreover, a company may need some special solutions, e.g. blockchain-level security, certain catalog requirements, and others, that can also be successfully integrated into a custom solution.
- What integrations does the company want to include in its solution?
In case a company isn’t ready to migrate their existing systems, e.g. CRM base or CSM, they can always add them to the new platform as an integrated solution via APIs. Therefore, businesses should carefully consider what they expect from their new platform and how they can connect it to already functioning infrastructure.
Having a solid enterprise commerce platform that allows quick data exchange, offers the needed functionality and ensures strong security is a key to successful business development. That’s why many companies opt for using integrated enterprise commerce solutions instead of using standalone software for effective business management.
However, those businesses that consider using off-the-shelf enterprise commerce platforms may run into some issues like their cumbersome nature, inflexibility, absence of the essential features, and a number of the never-used ones. To avoid this problem, many companies build custom enterprise commerce software solutions.
If you’re also considering building a custom enterprise commerce solution, our software development team with 20+ years of experience in the global software development market and over 700 successfully completed projects, including software development for enterprises, can be of help to you.