The commerce world held its collective breath as Forrester prepared its annual predictions for the 2023 market — and with good reason. 2022 brought new levels of market volatility, and the new year seems to promise more of the same, with shortages and supply-chain complications still topping the list of concerns.
The sub-title of Forrester’s future-facing report for commerce predictions 2023 is blunt: “Commerce Operations Will Take Center Stage as Digital Businesses Dial Back Their Promises” — and its findings set the tone for the new year with a predicted shift in the way companies do business.
Forrester expects companies to “prioritize commerce moments they can prove work” and to “rethink technology investments to optimize experiences as well as inventory and fulfillment” in protecting their bottom lines in the new year.
Buyer’s remorse (executive remix)
Forrester’s take on the factors behind this rethinking is instructive. In Forrester’s succinct estimation, “One-third of digital businesses will regret playing ‘software company’” in 2023.
This may sound like snark, but it’s deadly accurate. Businesses survived the pandemic by investing in technologies that addressed the crisis of the moment, with system sustainability a distant second on the list of care abouts. Now that the sky has cleared, those urgent-care remedies may no longer be an ideal fit — and over time, the high initial cost may go even higher.
As a result, “nearly half (44%) of software decision-makers whose organization has or plans to adopt B2C commerce solutions tell [Forrester] they are evaluating or plan to replace their commerce platforms.” In 2023, Forrester adds, “a third of digital businesses will abandon or restructure midstream projects that prove too complex to execute or maintain.” So, if you’re a decision-maker who is now rethinking your B2B and B2C solutions, welcome to the club.
The fact is that many businesses can no longer afford to staff up an entire IT department to churn out code, customize platforms, deploy hot fixes, and generally act as an independent software company to keep customers happy in real-time. Resources are scarce, monolithic platform solutions are on life support, and finding IT hires to maintain pieced-together solutions is a never-ending challenge. The hour of reckoning has come, and decision-makers are looking for a new path that solves the business problems of today without the costs and concerns of pandemic-era approaches.
Refocusing on business fundamentals
So, what’s the solution?
As Forrester points out, swinging between extremes can be a massively costly mistake. “Some digital businesses are overcorrecting as they abandon proprietary and legacy tech to embrace the most custom and flexible — but massively complex — commerce tech ecosystems,” the report notes. “From custom user interfaces (UIs) to innumerable integrations, these systems require firms to orchestrate — and maintain — every aspect of their tech ecosystem.”
That sort of overreach will have painful consequences, Forrester predicts — consequences that could prove business-critical for many organizations: “In their second and third years, new implementations will fail, and custom UIs will crumble from post-launch neglect.” Not a pretty picture, to say the least.
In a word, implies Forrester, the key is balance. According to the Forrester report, “digital businesses will pivot to reengage with commerce solutions that balance ecosystem management, business user experiences, and Function-First Tech Buying enablement.”
In HCL’s opinion, this sort of balanced approach — one that accounts for customers who expect one-touch digital simplicity as well as key business drivers like system sustainability, data security, and ROI — enables organizations to refocus on the core capabilities and assets that make them profitable. Adopting such an approach means moving past the crisis-driven “just get it done” model of years past and looking forward to a new emphasis on business fundamentals.
Businesses need the tools and resources to get the job done right and meet their customers where they are — sustainably, securely, and profitably. With e-commerce logistics setting a new tone, HCLSoftware can help you make the shift to a custom-fit tech solution that works for you — and make 2023 a wonderful new year.
Find out more about HCL Commerce here.