Taking the Next Step Toward Unified Commerce


Over the past few months, Forbes has published multiple articles for their online audience on the topic of Unified Commerce. Several feature thought leadership from Artisan's own, Rob Harbols. Most recently, he published an article addressing the critical considerations organizations must make if they are pursuing a shift toward Unified Commerce model. Generally, there are two common methods for evolving toward a unified commerce model. Organizations either chose to completely replace their legacy systems in one massive shift or approach the change incrementally, slowly retiring pieces of the existing systems. In this article, Harbols explores the benefits and pitfalls of both in his Forbes.com article.

The Forklift or Replacement Method

One way to transform to a Unified Commerce model is to overhaul the commerce enterprise by replacing existing systems with an entirely new one(s). This option may sound straightforward, but organizations pursuing this route should be prepared for the extra cost of keeping up two systems at once. Often, teams need to leverage contingent workers to help implement the new system(s) while the existing team members maintain legacy technology and prepare for the change. When executed correctly, this option is typically the faster path to transformation. While speed is generally positive, larger organizations may struggle to make this massive change in one swift switch.

The Incremental Approach

Another common tactic is to approach the transformation incrementally, slowly
decommissioning legacy systems to move toward a more unified model. The lower initial cost is a benefit of this method. In an incremental approach, technology leaders can plan to leverage their existing team, so there is less need for staff augmentation. This approach also allows organizations to keep portions of their current systems rather than forcing them to forfeit the investments made in the internal tools still working well. One major downside to this approach is that it can drag out, leading to waffling scope and a lack of enthusiasm and support from the business.

Choosing the Best Approach

Rob shares much more on these two options in the full Forbes.com article. If you'd like to dig even deeper, you can also check out our Unified Commerce whitepaper. If you are trying to decide how to approach a shift toward Unified Commerce, we recognize the decision is not easy. We encourage you to start by thinking through which path (or combination of paths) that will protect your customer relationships and empower the internal people and processes already working well. When you are ready to talk through the unique considerations and options for your business, we’ll be here. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

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