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Composable Commerce

Bidder’s Bites is a series of thought-leading blogs discussing the state of customer experience and the impact it has on businesses today, and how they can stay ahead of the game. Written by customer experience thought leader, Paul Bidder.

Composable Commerce: How do Businesses Enable an Agile Delivery Mindset? | Bidder’s Bites

For some businesses, shifting to agile delivery requires changes in operational models, capabilities, and workflows. Technology on its own doesn’t fix deeper-rooted organizational problems.

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“I’ve got a great idea about future-proofing our technology stack and business approach,” said the CEO.

“Oh great, here we go again, another load of work to satisfy the business and ever-changing vision of the company,” said the CIO (well, not out loud of course).

“Oh goody, more stress trying to work on more projects that deflect my team from what they need to do, and we will not get the systems we want and have to use second-best as usual” mutters the CDO in a low voice.

It doesn’t have to be this way, but the reality is that there is seldom harmony in business, and we need to find a way to help smooth things so that all areas can get along and push the business forward as one team and vision.

The reality is the world of technology is changing exponentially.  In the past it was about the next BIG thing, now it is about the next SMALL thing… or MEDIUM thing, or BIG thing, or PARTIAL thing, or…. You get the picture.  Change is continual, with tweaks here and there, with gaps opening in all types of verticals and niche areas of business.  With this advancement, it is now that businesses are having to adapt and react.

As technology continues to proliferate, your business’s digital strategy and technology stack will become increasingly central to your ability to deliver products and services. Every business must have the agility to react to market shifts and changing customer behaviors fast, with digital solutions. If you don’t, you can be sure your competitor will.

However, a common bottleneck for delivering new digital solutions is found in technology teams – specifically, the disconnect between development and operations. Development teams tend to be driven by innovation and change, while operations ensure governance, maintenance, and stability.

When it comes to launching new digital products or services, the speed of change demanded by development – and the end customer – can be hampered by the need for operational stability. Technology on its own doesn’t fix deeper-rooted organizational problems in terms of delivery.

Composable commerce

Enter composable commerce. This microservices and modularized architecture enables agility through faster, API-driven integrations, with minimal disruption to the operational engine in the back end. This allows development teams to focus upon speed and innovation, without being hamstrung by concerns around operational stability. Likewise, operations can ensure back-end updates, compliance releases and testing can be rolled out without slowing down front-end efforts.

Collaboration

Composable commerce allows collaboration within a business, providing an agile platform to align development, operations, marketing, eCommerce, data, finance, and other areas to work together easily.

This change in culture means a shared mindset for fast delivery across the entire value chain. It breaks down siloes and leverages a technical architecture that delivers rapid product implementation without handoffs or excessive external production or operations support.

Automated testing toolkits can be introduced to remove manual intervention from the release pipelines, reducing errors and release times.

A test and fail fast mindset allows areas from across the businesses to be involved in the iteration of new products, trial with customer groups, gain feedback, and refine releases and get the product to market quicker.

Fail faster

Businesses tend to be afraid of the word ‘fail.’ But composable commerce allows teams to adopt an ‘iterate, test, fail fast, improve fast’ approach. Failing fast is better than failing slowly. Failing fast means learning fast, gaining feedback fast, and a quicker route to successful delivery. Bringing ideas to life quickly can be the difference to your customer staying loyal to you or moving to a competitor.

Agility enables businesses to invent, identify, generate, and develop customer value proposition opportunities; rapidly iterate and test prototypes; commercialize, build and launch final products; and continuously optimize to achieve revenue acceleration.

Agility enables customer-centricity

For eCommerce brands, composable commerce allows businesses to deliver the right solutions for the right customers at the right time. It enables customer focus through fast execution. It means placing the customer at the center of every decision and applying rapid design, research and testing to ensure the solution is usable, commercially viable, and meets customer needs.

Develop fast, release fast. Managing releases in this way helps manage common issues in product development. Composable architecture, with front end products separated from back-end operations, means brands can release new, innovative customer experiences when they need to.

True customer-centricity is a business mindset that focuses on creating positive outcomes, centered around the customer’s experience, with a keen customer focus on the products and services the business release.

For many businesses, this means a change of strategy from ‘we want to sell you this, in this way, on this channel’ – to customer-centric thinking: ‘this is how you want to interact with our brand, through this channel, at this time, so how can we help you do that?’

Customer-centric businesses create greater profits, increase employee engagement, and more thoroughly satisfy customer needs. It’s a two-way relationship where the business listens to feedback and refines products and experiences, in the knowledge that internal teams have the culture and technology in place to react to customer needs positively.

Composable commerce will allow businesses to bring new, customer-centric solutions to market and evolve them over time, while also ensuring the ongoing success of existing products.

Agility enables loyalty

In eCommerce, agility enables change quickly and efficiently, without the burden of operational, back-end baggage. It means brands can focus on loyalty, moving beyond a purely transactional approach and instead focus on nurturing a lasting relationship with a customer. In practice, this means being able to release products and services that meet the customer’s changing needs, tweaking and evolving the experience over time.

This doesn’t have to mean wholesale change, it can be the introduction of a new payment method, for instance, or changing the mobile user interface for easier control of a subscription service. These small, incremental changes to the customer experience can result in long-term gains, often in ways that were not anticipated when an initial solution or platform was first released.

Where now?

As I said at the start, the world is ever-changing, and one size does not fit all.  You need to take a logical, pragmatic view of how you are using technology to enable your customer experience in all areas of business, and then you can start to break this down into areas of priority for change.

Composable architectures are going to be more and more mainstream over the coming years, and therefore the latest innovations will be akin to this mindset. If you don’t start to adopt, then this does not mean you are left isolated in the cold, but it could mean that you will not be able to adapt at the pace your customers demand in the future, and this may impact your brand reputation, revenues, profit, and market share.

Make a decision and be 100% confident in it, don’t go in halfhearted, irrespective of what direction you choose.

Bidder’s Bites

Bidder’s Bites is a series of thought-leading blogs discussing the state of customer experience and the impact it has on businesses today, and how they can stay ahead of the game. Written by customer experience thought leader, Paul Bidder.

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