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):

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  • 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%

Sign up for a free subscription to B2BecNews, a twice-weekly newsletter that covers technology and business trends in the growing B2B e-commerce industry. B2BecNews is published by Vertical Web— Media LLC, which also publishes the monthly business magazine Internet Retailer. Follow Tim Brusveen on Twitter @TimBrusveen.

 

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