Modernizing ERP for B2B E-Commerce Success. The Challenges with Legacy ERP/E-Commerce Platforms and How to Solve Them

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1 Modernizing ERP for B2B E-Commerce Success The Challenges with Legacy ERP/E-Commerce Platforms and How to Solve Them

2 The Challenges with Legacy ERP/E-Commerce Platforms and How to Solve Them During the earlier days of ERP integration, the range of choices within the context of user experience was limited, often including only Microsoft Windows clients and Web browsers. Today s applications are exposed through a much wider range of interaction channels, including not only desktops and Web but also employee- and consumer-facing mobile apps, retail point-of-sale, fully instrumented real-time supply chains and warehouses, and Web services interfaces that expose application capabilities to the extended enterprise. Delivering application capabilities through all these channels requires a cohesive approach to multichannel and cross-channel support, which generates a completely new range of integration requirements Introduction The explosive growth of online buying and selling in recent years has fueled increasing demands on enterprise ecommerce systems. To thrive in today s online marketplace, B2B selling organizations must be nimble and create shopping experiences that mimic B2C where options, and efficiency and ease are expected. This consumerization of B2B requires flexible e-commerce architecture. Established companies that extended their existing ERP systems with solutions such as SAP Internet Sales or homegrown ERP extensions are struggling to provide effective B2B customer experiences due to a lack of out-of-box functionality and inflexible development capabilities. In addition, these coupled ERP/E-Commerce systems require highly specialized consultants and custom development, driving up the the cost of conducting e-business. Intershop e-commerce solutions provide the flexibility and scalability that established organizations need to improve e-business website effectiveness, more easily comply with regulations and enable complex and repeatable business models that can be replicated in other regions or divisions. Intershop is also pre-integrated to major ERP solutions including SAP, so support is available for the complex transactional environments that are native to the ERP system. Forrester Research, May 5th, 2010 It s Time To Tame The ERP Integration Beast Challenges of legacy and homegrown e-business platforms Many online businesses today are struggling under the rigid architectures and inflexible, low functionality environments of ERP-extended e-commerce offerings. Slow Performance Equals Frustrated Buyers Slow performance and rigid, difficult-to-use interfaces are typical when ERP is extended to enable e-business. Customers and suppliers expect online systems to offer the same features and functionality as those of top web retailers. However, ERP-centric solutions aren t agile enough to allow quick responses to changing customer demands. As a result, performance problems plague many of these sites creating a frustrating user experience and missed revenue opportunities. 2

3 The Challenges with Legacy ERP/E-Commerce Platforms and How to Solve Them Going Global Requires Flexibility Keeping up with increasingly complex regulatory environments around the world requires online systems to be robust and flexible. ERP platforms lack the flexibility to quickly and easily add unique region-specific customer-facing capabilities for key requirements such as taxation, labeling, documentation, and localization. Challenges of legacy e-commerce Platforms Performance Usability Flexibility Development and Maintenance Costs Repeat Buyers Expect Order History and Tracking Customers want to place orders quickly, so creating compelling experiences that allow access to things like preferences, re-order templates and order history between visits is vital. This requires access to information contained in the backend ERP systems. Because ERP systems are built to allow expert internal users within an organization to do their jobs efficiently, they lack the inherent ability to provide a compelling customer facing experience. E-Commerce Managers Need More Options Traditionally, ERP systems do well on inventory and supply schedules, but significantly underperform modern e-commerce platforms in areas of new media such as mobile, social, marketing, promotions, analytics, A/B testing, and product information for online commerce. ERP systems also underperform with the integration of third party tools like analytics, tracking pixels, shopping engine feeds, and product reviews and recommendations. Specialized Staffing Drives Costs Up Due to the inherent complexities of the ERP system, projects that seek to achieve the same functionality that modern e-commerce systems offer right out of the box tend to be resource intensive. In addition, specialized ERP consultants with e-commerce experience command premium wages, making these projects increasingly more expensive. Meeting the online needs of sophisticated customers can be challenging even for the most forward-thinking and robust sales organization. To reach new customers and retain loyalty, organizations with legacy and ERP-based systems need agility and improved functionality. DECOUPLE E-COMMERCE AND ERP TO GAIN A COMPETITIVE EDGE Add, change and combine promotions on the fly Support new business models and evolving business processes faster Make quick changes to the web store without modifying the underlying ERP system Plug into the powerful ERP system data 3

4 The Challenges with Legacy ERP/E-Commerce Platforms and How to Solve Them A Case in Point E-commerce solutions for today s complex enterprise Global pharmaceutical company switches from SAP to Intershop Intershop s leading e-commerce solutions help organizations deliver on customer expectations with a flexible, scalable online platform that supports multi-everything multiple sites, brands, countries, languages, currencies, tax calculations, and business processes. A Fortune 100 global pharmaceutical company and longtime customer of SAP chose to implement SAP s Internet Sales platform and Microsoft SharePoint for their secure e-commerce portal. The legacy B2B commerce platform was developed to make it easier for physicians, hospitals, and governmental organizations worldwide to place orders for the company s vaccines. However, the organization experienced many challenges with the online business. Save Time and Reduce Costs with Business Process Modeler To support new business models and evolving business processes, Intershop uses a Visual Business Process Modeler (VPM), a comprehensive library of pre-built e-commerce components that can be easily configured and integrated to meet complex requirements within any organization. For example, the VPM can be used to make minor configuration changes with no coding to allow organizations to create custom push alerts tailored to specific partners with updates on pricing, product literature, rebates, and order status. Increase efficiency with backend ERP system integration Intershop is a dedicated e-commerce platform tightly integrated into SAP and other ERP systems. By decoupling the e-commerce functionality from the ERP system, changes can be made quickly and easily to the customer-experience portion of online sites without requiring extensive development resources that would be required with an ERP extended system. Integration of external systems is facilitated via Intershop s VPM and its e-commerce components which can be exposed to the outside world as web services. Likewise it s straightforward for these components to be able to consume web services from external sources. Intershop s advanced promotion engine also enables diverse combinations of promotions, including product discounts, free shipping, loyalty programs, and sales incentive programs. And Intershop offers the flexibility to make quick changes to the customer experience without requiring changes in the underlying SAP or other ERP infrastructure. Customer Satisfaction at an all-time low Customers complained that the portal was slow and its interface difficult to use. Not only did customers find the site challenging to navigate, much of their information was not retained between sessions. Each time a customer logged into the site to place an order, they found themselves re-entering key information. Between a frustrating interface with performance problems and the lack of key data retained between visits, the customer experience on the portal was poor. Choosing the commerce platform to meet business goals Intershop offers flexible deployment options to fit the needs of today s businesses. The platform can be licensed directly or purchased as a managed service that includes the license, infrastructure, and operations and organizations can switch from one to the other when the need arises. 4

5 The Challenges with Legacy ERP/E-Commerce Platforms and How to Solve Them In addition, the pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated, and getting perishable medication to its destination in a timely fashion, while being handled properly and stored at the right temperature, meant there was no room for mistakes. In less than a year, Intershop was able to bring the pharmaceutical company s platform online. Finding the right e-commerce platform The shortcomings of the online solution resulted in lost sales and a tarnished brand experience. The market for vaccines is highly competitive and the online portal was driving customers to competitors. Knowing this, the pharmaceutical company set out to find a best-in-class commerce platform that would integrate with its SAP system while helping it regain a competitive advantage. The organization evaluated offerings from IBM, Hybris and Oracle, as well as Intershop. During the due diligence process, the organization discovered that Intershop had many successful e-commerce implementations with SAP. They also found that for their complex business processes, Intershop offered the highest percentage of needed features out-of-the-box. From complex labeling requirements and localization for different regions of the globe, to the ability to track shipments and returns and offer a variety of discounts and promotions, Intershop s online solution provided standard features that competitors lacked. A Major SAP Upgrade Plus a new E-Commerce Solution Intershop s commerce platform was flexible enough to meet the organization s most complex business models and scalable enough to meet the transactional volumes of their global customer base. Intershop s implementation team also aligned the web store with the organization s larger SAP project plan and offered the best path to implementing a consumer-style B2B shopping experience. In making the transition from SAP to Intershop, the pharmaceutical company required hardware and software to be installed on-premise and managed by its in-house staff. With the existing system causing significant customer pain, Intershop needed to bring the new platform online quickly, while meeting internal compliance requirements and ensuring continuity of operations. Aligning business processes to create an efficient user experience Intershop worked closely with the pharmaceutical company s business leaders, project managers, analysts and the IT team to develop the e-commerce portal. This included defining business processes in the site to ensure that vaccines and other materials ordered through the portal were labeled correctly in the right languages, that shipments and returns could be easily tracked by customers, and the right discounts and promotions could be applied to orders. User experience was a key focus of the online implementation. While integrating closely with SAP, Intershop provided a greatly improved portal experience for customers. Customer information was retained between sessions to minimize data re-entry, and customers were given the ability to quickly and more easily find the products and information they needed. In less than a year, Intershop was able to bring the pharmaceutical company s platform online. This short implementation timeline was made possible even in a highly regulated industry like pharmaceuticals because of the diversity of out-of-the-box features and deep integration expertise that Intershop brought to the project. Almost immediately, the company began seeing the benefits, including better customer satisfaction, increased regulatory compliance, more sales, and fewer returns. 5

6 The Challenges with Legacy ERP/E-Commerce Platforms and How to Solve Them Summary About Intershop To stay competitive in a rapidly changing online environment, mature organizations and manufacturers of heavily regulated products such as pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and chemicals can no longer rely on legacy or homegrown e-commerce solutions to meet the demands of customers and regulators. Overcoming the challenges presented by SAP or other ERP-based systems requires an online solution designed from the ground up for greater efficiency and better user experience. These solutions must be flexible and scalable enough to meet changing regulations, deliver excellent customer service, enable meaningful business analytics, and support complex business models. Given that most global businesses have significant investments in ERP solutions, it s essential that the e-commerce solution integrates seamlessly with those systems. We aim to support the worldwide growth of your online business. Since 1992, Intershop has supported the international growth of online business. Our comprehensive, state-of-the-art e-commerce solutions enable companies worldwide to consolidate their multichannel operations on a single platform. Intershop provides a variety of services beyond software and consulting that enable its clients to leverage the full potential of online selling. More than 500 enterprise and mid-size companies throughout the world rely on Intershop to help them expand their sales channels, reduce operating costs, and grow their top and bottom lines. SUcCess stories The global pharmaceutical company chose Intershop s advanced e-commerce platform to deliver exceptional customer service, dynamic promotions, and efficient business processes. Intershop streamlined operations and provided a richer, more efficient user portal by integrating the online business directly into the company s SAP system. With unparalleled out-of-the-box features, Intershop makes it easy for any type of enterprise to react to changes in the competitive landscape, while quickly and easily meeting the demands of customers, and partners around the world. More customers: /customers To learn how Intershop can help you achieve your commerce goals, go to or contact your local Intershop office. 6

7 Intershop Communications AG Intershop Tower Jena Germany Intershop Communications, Inc nd Street, Suite 303 San Francisco, CA USA Intershop Communications Australia Pty Ltd19 Bennetts Lane Melbourne, VIC 3000 Australia Intershop Communications Asia Limited Kowloon Centre Suite , 10th Floor 33 Ashley Road Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong Phone: Fax: Phone: Fax: Phone: Phone: SoQuero GmbH Ludwigstraße Frankfurt am Main Germany TheBakery GmbH Monbijouplatz Berlin Germany Phone: Fax: Phone: Fax:

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