Advice For Moving To Omnichannel Commerce
IDC predicts manufacturers will move quickly to upgrade their IT systems and partnership strategies, both to be more competitive in their markets and expand into new ones. In fact, IDC is so certain of this prediction that it recently launched a new practice group, Manufacturing Commerce.
IDC's Research Manager for Manufacturing Commerce Strategies Heather Ashton and Simon Ellis, Manufacturing Insights Practice Director for Supply Chain Strategies presented their five-year forecast on manufacturing's role in ecommerce in a recent webinar. The key finding: Manufacturers will invest in a major overhaul of their IT systems to integrate and automate their back office and front office processes, from bookkeeping to web catalogues. More specifically, IDC predicts that:
Manufacturers will create "collaborative commerce networks" to facilitate B2B trade partnerships by making the ‘buy and sell’ processes faster and more efficient, and to appeal to their most strategic partners, whether those are customers or suppliers or, in some cases, both. These new collaborative commerce networks aren't the same as the B2B web communities or the point-to-point EDI integrations of the past. These are cloud-based networks for many-to-many connections amongst partners, with rich data interchange, process orchestration and collaboration.
Manufacturers will modernize their B2B infrastructures to support many-to-many connections and integration between IT systems.
What capabilities will be gained from modernization? Using NetSuite's B2B commerce platform as an example, manufacturers can gain a number of valuable capabilities, such as real-time inventory data, mobile access, multiple payment options like credit lines or ACH, integration with social media, support for negotiated prices for different customers, business intelligence tools, and business process management for creating and automating processes across applications. There must also be support for multiple languages, currencies, and tax laws — all necessary for doing business overseas.
Thanks to the advent of cloud-based computing, B2B commerce applications don't require the purchase of additional hardware or software, or need full time IT staffers to deploy and manage it. That will allow even small firms to implement B2B commerce.