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