Leadership support, digitalization affecting the whole business and e-commerce platforms that accommodate differing regional business practices. These were the three big topics at B2B Online in Amsterdam last week.
We were there as main sponsor, but personally I always love the opportunity to connect with so many people, build and nurture professional networks, as well as to learn from B2B organizations about their pains and woes. And there was a real diversity of businesses there too - from those with pretty sophisticated omni-channel operations to those with no digital business channel at all.
There were many interesting conversations had, but it was these three topics that seemed to come up most often:
1. Leadership buy-in.
It seems that many of the show attendees are experiencing how important it is to involve their C-level executives in their digitialisation plans as it is an important strategic decision. They often seemed to understand the “how-to” when it comes to going online, but making the case is proving more challenging.
But who is driving the digital agenda? According to our 2016 B2B e-commerce research report “Taking the fast track into the digital future of B2B commerce” almost half of the respondent organizations (46%) say tech savvy leaders like the CEO and CTO are spearheading their organizations' digital transformation.
But it’s not just senior executives who are driving or communicating the digital vision – responsibility appears to be cascaded across organizations. Indeed, 40% of organizations say the IT department as a whole is the primary driver of digitization with a third (33%) saying it’s the non-C-level senior IT team that is accelerating digital adoption.
For others, however, it is senior marketing and sales management (29%) and operations management (25%) – individuals working at the sharp end who need to enable their organization to become more agile fast - who play a leading role.
2. Digitization is business-wide.
Again, in our own e-commerce report almost half (40%) the organizations surveyed confirm the pursuit of digital transformation has resulted in a complete change of their business model.
This is often because it touches so many parts of the business - from sales, through customer experience, distribution, channel, partners, brand and so on.
3. Platforms that can manage differing regional business practices.
Cultural considerations can be quite often one of the big digitalisation hurdles. It affects not only the company culture, but needs to accommodate international needs too.
Within a single organisation, it´s not unusual that some countries or regions operate completely different sales channels and strategies. Some may sell only direct, some through partners or channel for example. And, the digitization strategy and technology needs to be highly considerate of that.
I think some of the people I spoke to were genuinely surprised that platforms like Intershop allow them to do just that. Why not get in touch to see how?