As a commerce professional who spent the last five years working at digital agencies implementing Hybris projects, an all too common question I heard from clients was: “This all sounds great, but when can we actually get in and do something?” And for the better part of those five years, my team and I were unable to provide customers with a concrete answer.
Standing up hardware, purchasing licenses and loading managed packages into environments took up the first four to six weeks of a project, otherwise known ‘Phase 0’. After that, work could begin on the process of building out the website.
So let’s explore that process.
User experience, creative design and marketing teams came to the client with glossy and colorful visions of how the site would look in the future. The visions were grand, the artwork a thing of beauty, the client fell in love and couldn’t wait to see it live! However, first came the requirements gathering, functional design, and first few lines of code as the site began to form an exoskeleton.
By this point, the client was already several months and hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in.
Meanwhile, business users on the client side were itching for the chance to get to know the platform and solution they’d been sold, bring their teams up to speed and divvy out responsibilities. But when they asked if it was time to come in and play with the tool, clients were met with: “Not yet.”
By the time core functionality was built out and the front-end code configured to resemble the designs that were pitched and the first demo prepared, the client was well into the budget. Add in surprise, but necessary, change requests, and now, the client faced a daunting choice of scrapping the initial investment or trusting in the process and partners to deliver, albeit late and over budget.
I often wondered why this was the way things had to be, why we couldn’t bring a Phase I commerce experience to bear earlier and get our customers transactional.
Clients want more than just a fancy front-end paint job on a back-end house of cards. They want real, live code, showcasing functionality that meets business needs and which can be handed over to business and technical teams as a functioning asset.
With the rise and proliferation of cloud-based solutions in the commerce space, clients are expecting that they no longer need to maintain an on premise hardware infrastructure. This frees up a significant part of their budget to be allocated elsewhere.
And while many major players are now positioning themselves to be nimbler and cloud-based in nature, they have a business which was built and taken public on the software and service model described above. They are peddling promises of the ‘false cloud,’ as Salesforce CEO and SaaS pioneer, Marc Benioff, describes it. A true cloud-based and SaaS solution is much more than a sales model—it’s a catalyst for long-term agility and scalability.
When Salesforce invented SaaS technology, it brought this agility and scalability to the business masses. And while Salesforce’s acquisition of Demandware earlier this year can be seen as a natural extension of this agility to B2C commerce clients, the B2B market, already several years’ behind from a digital maturity point of view, remained relegated to the old way of doing things.
Enter CloudCraze. CloudCraze is an enterprise, managed package commerce solution built natively on Salesforce. Leveraging Salesforce’s true cloud ecosystem, CloudCraze breaks away from the traditional project implementation life-cycle described above.
My goal over the next several write-ups will be to detail CloudCraze’s value proposition as a leader in the burgeoning cloud commerce space, and showcase several of the platform’s key advantages, including cost, speed-to-market and scalability.
So whether you’re a product owner considering investing in an commerce solution on behalf of your company or an implementer looking for a fresh approach to the traditional project life cycle, I welcome you to join me for these investigations and see that there is a better way to conduct B2B business online. With CloudCraze.