Most mid-market B2B companies want all of their technology from one vendor when they upgrade their e-commerce technology platforms, Forrester Research Inc. says in a new report.
The report, “Tomorrow’s Midmarket B2B eCommerce Will Take Place In The Cloud,” defines a mid-market B2B company as an organization that generates between $25 million and $499 million in annual revenue.
62% of mid-market B2B companies with plans to change or upgrade their e-commerce platform will choose a “single-stack solution,” the report says. Forrester defines a single-stack solution as an e-commerce platform that bundles all of the features a company needs from one provider, rather than piecing together technology from several vendors.
“Mid-market companies don’t want the hassle of trying to integrate a whole bunch of different systems,” says Andy Hoar, a principal analyst at Forrester who focuses on B2B e-commerce. “They want something that works as a whole and might even be willing to compromise on functionality if they can get all their systems in a more easily managed environment.”
Forrester found that the ease of maintaining a unified system was the most common reason businesses gave for going this route. The 75 global mid-market B2B e-commerce decision makers surveyed also listed greater agility and access to real-time data as reasons for going with a packaged system. Here were the main reasons given for choosing a one vendor system (responders were allowed to choose more than one answer):
- Maintaining the system is easier: 63%
- Greater agility: 60%
- It streamlines business operations: 57%
- It provides a centralized source of real-time data: 51%
- The system is integrated and operational out of the box: 43%
- Don’t need to hire specialized IT staff: 25%
Another survey included in the same Forrester report found that e-commerce platforms are the top-priority technological investment for mid-market companies in 2016. Mobile sites and apps followed closely behind as companies. Forrester asked 352 global mid-market B2B e-commerce decision makers, “What are your technology investment priorities for 2016?” Here are the top answers (responders were allowed to choose more than one answer):
- E-commerce platform: 59%
- Mobile sites and apps: 56%
- Customer relationship management (CRM): 53%
- Web content management tools: 51%
- Integrating e-commerce platform and backend systems: 48%
- Warehouse management systems (WMS): 46%
- Multichannel integration: 45%
- Product content management tools: 41%
Mid-market companies are experiencing the same changes in technology and investment that larger companies experienced a few years ago, Hoar says. And many are investing to catch up with bigger competitors. All but 3% of 352 global mid-market B2B e-commerce decision makers said they are planning some sort of change or upgrade to their e-commerce platform technology within three years. Here are their plans for the next three years (numbers don’t add up to 100 because of rounding):
- We already have a project underway or have plans to upgrade/change within 12 months: 39%
- Plans to change/upgrade within 13-18 months: 29%
- Within 19-24 months: 22%
- Within 25-36 months: 6%
- No plans to re-platform: 3%
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