Enhancing The Commerce Experience: From Order Capture to Order Fulfillment

Oct 27, 2021 1:30 PM2:30 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

When shopping online, have you noticed many items are listed as out of stock? What are businesses doing to meet the demands of their clients and customers as a result of Covid’s impact on eCommerce?

For many B2C and B2B businesses, demand for products has exploded in the past 20 months. Unfortunately, their supply chain has struggled to meet that demand in a timely fashion. According to Bill Friend, Steve Gatto, and Seth Lytle, companies are attempting to rapidly innovate in order to satisfy market demand. How are they doing so?

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant welcomes Bill Friend, Vice President of Sales and Enterprise Commerce at Adobe, Steve Gatto, Director of Commerce Solutions at Perficient Digital, and Seth Lytle, Senior Consultant of Technology and Strategic Alliances at IBM, to discuss the ways businesses are communicating with online customers in order to satisfy their demands despite limited supply. They cover everything from digitization to Amazon expectations to improving the shopper experience.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

 

  • Bill Friend discusses the increased interest in B2C and B2B products
  • Leveraging new technology without spending lots of money
  • Steve Gatto talks about the growing role of supply chains
  • Seth Lytle details alternative methods when faced with a limited supply chain
  • The omnichannel approach
  • Retail employees are now having to learn to pack and ship products rather than just serve as brand ambassadors
  • When the shopper’s location is known, Bill says there’s a capability for an improved shopping experience
  • Prioritizing the reduction of carbon footprints
  • Including a real-time view of inventory locations as part of the buying process
  • Amazon’s elevated expectations for tracking orders from all brands and businesses
  • Seth talks about how companies are getting better platforms and enhancing digitization in the B2B space
  • The importance of providing B2B clients a global view of inventory
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Event Partners

Perficient

Perficient, Inc. is a global digital consultancy. The company's efforts include enterprise mobile applications, creative services, marketing, digital strategy Internet of Things, information technology, management consulting, custom development, and platform implementations.

IBM

IBM is a technology company engaged in providing hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. It offers integrated solutions and products that use data and information technology (IT) in industries and business processes.

Adobe

Adobe Experience Cloud is the most comprehensive suite of customer experience management tools on the market. With solutions for data, content delivery, commerce, personalization, and more, this marketing stack is created with the world’s first platform designed specifically to create engaging customer experiences. Each product has built-in artificial intelligence and works seamlessly with other Adobe products. And they integrate with your existing technology and future innovations, so you can consistently deliver the right experience every time.

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Guest Speakers

Bill Friend

VP Sales, US & Canada, Enterprise Commerce at Adobe

Bill Friend is the US and Canada’s Vice President of Sales and Enterprise Commerce at Adobe. He has more than a decade of experience with eCommerce and digital experience. Previously, Bill has worked at companies including Fluent Commerce and SAP Hybris.

steve

Steve Gatto

Director of Digital Commerce Solutions at Perficient

Steve Gatto is the Director of Commerce Solutions at Perficient Digital. He has more than 25 years of digital experience leading global digital agencies and enterprise technology providers. Before Perficient Digital, Steve worked at Publicis Groupe, IBM, and IAC.

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Seth Lytle

Senior Consultant of Technology & Strategic Alliances at IBM

Seth Lytle is the Senior Consultant of Technology and Strategic Alliances at IBM. He prides himself on finding solutions that meet business and market demand while exceeding the expectations of those who will become the end-customer. Seth has an entrepreneurial spirit and puts passion into all of his endeavors.

Event Moderator

Bill Friend

VP Sales, US & Canada, Enterprise Commerce at Adobe

Bill Friend is the US and Canada’s Vice President of Sales and Enterprise Commerce at Adobe. He has more than a decade of experience with eCommerce and digital experience. Previously, Bill has worked at companies including Fluent Commerce and SAP Hybris.

steve

Steve Gatto

Director of Digital Commerce Solutions at Perficient

Steve Gatto is the Director of Commerce Solutions at Perficient Digital. He has more than 25 years of digital experience leading global digital agencies and enterprise technology providers. Before Perficient Digital, Steve worked at Publicis Groupe, IBM, and IAC.

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Seth Lytle

Senior Consultant of Technology & Strategic Alliances at IBM

Seth Lytle is the Senior Consultant of Technology and Strategic Alliances at IBM. He prides himself on finding solutions that meet business and market demand while exceeding the expectations of those who will become the end-customer. Seth has an entrepreneurial spirit and puts passion into all of his endeavors.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect


BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.


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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Wednesday, everybody. My name is Aaron Conant, I'm the co founder and managing director of BWG connect, we're a networking and knowledge sharing group 1000s of brands who do exactly that we network and knowledge share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is that shaping the digital ecosystem today that, you know, start to finish everything from Amazon to direct consumer, everything from you know, customer facing to the back end business side, everything seems to be touched over the past 16 months and rapidly changing. And so, you know, a couple of notes here I talk with 30 Plus organizations a week to stay on top and newest trends. It's during those conversations that when the same topics come up over and over again, we host an event like this, that's how we get the topics for events, but it's also how we, you know, find the best in class partners out there that are helping the most brands in the network solve that issue. So a couple housekeeping items, before we kick off this conversation. The first one is, hey, we're starting three to four minutes after kind of the plain start time. And that's just to give everybody a chance to dial in from their last meeting and want to have that courtesy on the back end as well. So just so everybody knows, about 225 226 Eastern time, we're going to be wrapping up this conversation as a whole give you plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. You have any questions along the way drop into the chat the question section or email them to me Aaron, Aaron@BWGconnect.com we want to get as many questions answered today as possible. And so that I'm going to kind of kick off, you know, the conversation, you know, as I noted, talking with 30 Plus organizations a week, you know, a lot of you know, conversation around top of funnel, iOS 14.5 updates, driving, you know, traffic into the funnel, getting them to the website. The flip side is this whole back end the order capture to order fulfillment that you know, has put this new strain on companies as a whole. How do you handle it as a whole what's the best in class kind of strategies across the board. And we've got some great friends great partners, supporters, the network at proficient, Adobe and IBM, who kind of work collectively as a whole and agreed to jump on the line today, kind of walk through walk us through what they're seeing across the board is well is you know, share top strategies, things that are working things that aren't but also answer as many questions as we can throw at them. So if you have any questions like I said along the way, drop into the chat the q&a or just email them to me Aaron@BWGconnect.com and we'll get an answer. Um, with that I'm going to kind of was kickoff, you know, brief roundtable intros here. You know, I'll start with Bill first if you want to do a brief intro on yourself the company, then Seth and then over to Steve, and we can kind of kick off the conversation. Sounds good. Sounds good. Bill, you want to jump in?

Bill Friend 3:10

Sure. Yeah. Hi, my name is Bill Friend. I have been in the eCommerce digital experience space for well over a decade and currently at Adobe responsible for our commerce business here have been working in order management, as well for a number of years before I joined Adobe, so have a lot of opinions about this space. And it's a great topic. I'm looking forward to speaking with everyone today. Thanks.

Aaron Conant 3:39

Alright. You know, Steve, we can kind of kick it over to you if you want.

Steve Gatto 3:43

Sure. Sure. Can you hear me? Okay, Aaron?

Yeah, I can hear loud and clear.

Steve Gatto

Okay, great. Great. Hey, everybody, thanks for joining today or possibly listen on the on the replay. Steve Gatto here from a proficient director over in our eCommerce practice. So just a brief bit of history or just you know, where I'm coming from spent a lot of time on the technology side, big technology vendors, like the IBM's of the world, always in software, always in the commerce space. And then probably last decade or so the career have been on the system integration kind of management consulting side, big chunk time at at pool assists, the sapient division and then beneficent here and director of our commerce practice for about the last six years. So good topic today. Looking forward to it. Thanks, Aaron.

Aaron Conant 4:27

Yeah, absolutely. So, um, you know, there's some slides here, you can kind of probably kick it off here, you know, as a whole if you want to kind of walk through and set the tone for what you guys are seeing as a whole. And then you know, this can kind of feed into the overall conversation and just a reminder dropping questions along the way. And then I can see if you want to jump in brief intro on yourself would be awesome.

Seth Lytle 4:52

Yeah, sorry for the bad connection on my part. So this is Seth Lytle. I've been an IBM for about seven years. Been working in with technology partnerships and background in integration, architecture and solution solutioning. And bringing the best products together, just grown up into building partnerships, and eventually strategic partnerships across, you know, a gamut of companies from small size entrepreneurial startups that are that are, you know, seeing a lot of growth who many of the large companies such as, as Adobe. And so I'm delighted to be here. I'm representing the partnership from the technology connecting both our order management system together with Adobe commerce and been working closely with some of the folks at Adobe, such as Bill and I'm, I'm happy to be here as part of this call today. Thanks. Awesome.

Aaron Conant 5:52

All right. Cool. Yeah. So it's thanks for jumping in there. And then you know, Steve, you want to kind of kick us off here with the slides?

Steve Gatto 6:02

Sure, let me hit a click here, see if I can. There we go. Okay,

yeah, maybe just some some brief context here. As we get going. Again, Steve from proficient and you're curious what this graphic is on the screen. I think we'll use this for just a touch of context. And so what it is, is together with the WGS leadership, thanks to Aaron, you and your team did a research based study for us. And it's a little context for I think today's discussion with this research based study was it went out, you guys helped this query a bunch of industry professionals, people that work in the area of either inventory responsibilities, eCommerce supply chain, and maybe no surprise to the folks that are on the call today, we'll show you a couple of results from that study, one that you see here is just around investments, investments in like optimization. And this was largely focused on you know, how are you adjusting? How are you modernizing to just meet customers expectations around your supply chain? Mainly how you're feeling against fulfilling against demand? And it's just a quick perspective around? Where did your investments sit in this space, pre pandemic? What are you doing today? And where are you looking for the future, maybe no surprise to those professionals that are on the phone with us today, and that it's a hot area. And we use this term here, sometimes within proficient that's talks about this space of supply chain talks about, you know, Omnichannel fulfillment, it's gone from those dark, you know, stuff that was managed in those dark corners of the warehouse. Now to, you know, the executive table, it's just become more and more important to, you know, to the overall customer experience. And so I think, when we'll show you a couple more, you know, results of this study today, but I think it's just when we saw, you know, Adobe's announcement, and their strategic partnership here with certainly IBM and the IBM Sterling order management offering, it was a really exciting time for us within proficient, we're just big partners in both of those technology suites. And so we saw a natural opportunity here to not just continue what we were doing with each one of those technologies, but also the opportunity to play not just for customers, both people that sell directly to consumers in retail, but also those that operate b2b models, bring these technologies together to really just, again, provide better customer experience around omnichannel fulfillment. So that's a little bit of context for us to get going here. I know, Bill, you guys played a big role in this, certainly within Adobe and just some of this strategy positioning going forward in the market. And we talked earlier, you had some thoughts, maybe you want to share at this point?

Bill Friend  8:38

Sure. I mean, it's interesting, across our account base as we're talking to certain customers, and you know, it's interesting from our perspective of the different industries, who are impacted by COVID, where the amount of the demand on their supply chain in the interest in their products, it's, it's really just exploded in a way they couldn't forecast. And so that's really had a huge impact, as you've said, in on their supply chain. And not not only just in terms of inventory levels, but the level of experience that people are used to getting in terms of visibility and where their order is and how soon they should expect it, or visibility on the site in terms of inventory, things like that. And so it really makes a big difference. You know, what they have in place today, and especially for places that it's not just ordering online, but they have stores involved that that may be closed due to COVID. So really supporting the inventory locked in the supply chain, the ability to leverage that to fulfill orders as well. So lots of different things here that are really impacting and driving adoption and interest in in This area in particular, so it's not just in retail or b2c, we're seeing it more on the b2b side as well. So interesting topic across the

Aaron Conant 10:11

board. It really quick if I jump in here, you know, from an eCommerce, you know, platform standpoint, because I mean, that's been a huge focus that I've been having from brands across the board, you know, what are, you know, we can keep it with Bill, but I also, you know, kick it over to Steve and Seth as well, you know, what our business is looking for in an eCommerce platform, you know, that are different from I wouldn't say, hey, five years ago, but now I'm saying, hey, even different than two years ago, I mean, this, this little chart here pretty much says it all right, like, it doesn't just say, hey, it's a focus. But with new people jumping in and being more of a focus, there's new demands that are out there. So you know, what kind of businesses looking for an eCommerce platform that are different from two years ago?

Bill Friend 10:58

Yeah, so this is Bill from, from my perspective, and and if you're in the eCommerce space at all, there's a lot of discussion around API, first micro services, various things like that. And I think people are really looking for a way to leverage new technology, without necessarily have to spend a tremendous amount of money looking at integration scenarios and, and things that are more of a legacy architecture issues. So, you know, having platforms that can very easily connect to new leading edge technologies through API methodologies, and things like that is really what people want to do. I mean, the adoption cycle in the interest, you know, the dichotomy there is like, yeah, there's a lot of interest, how fast Will these be adopted? That's always the tricky part to forecast. But it is, you know, the idea of headless and things like that. It's in almost every conversation.

Aaron Conant 12:07

Yeah. Steve, I'd love to hear your thoughts there as well.

Steve Gatto 12:11

Yeah, yeah. Bill. Well said, I. Yeah, if there's anything I think back to I think those on the call, I think we probably even those attending boy would probably all work in this space for a chunk of time in our careers. And I think back to the recent past is the five years ish. Bill, I love some of the terms you were throwing out. I mean, things that come to mind, for me are just that whole, just Genesis around headless content, content and commerce where there was structured stuff that would, you know, my managing my sermon catalog to unstructured you know, content management systems, with commerce showing the right content, all right, for the right time, to continue merging, you know, personalization technologies across, you know, paid owner media into just eCommerce scenarios, the microservices you hit on is perfect. Like these deployment models over the last, you know, five years or so specifically, cloud have become more and more paramount. And even people just disseminating their, you know, catalogs out into third party marketplaces and stuff and how am I going to manage that. So that's all the stuff that's gone on. And, boy, when I think about today, just the stuff that's just different, just flat out different, it's just, you know, again, this continued, I think growth around artificial intelligence machine learning into commerce scenarios, you see a lot of that around customer care, a lot of that around just marketing, merchandising. But I think, also, you see that being injected into the supply chain scenarios. And so now we see things around, you know, product availability, and just that transparency around products when they're available. And then all the different ways that you know, customers don't care if you're a consumer and a retail scenario, or if you're a business buyer, and you're buying something on behalf of, you know, the company you work for typically under some kind of contract with a bunch of SLAs, like all the different ways you want to get fulfillment on that. So here I'm talking about buy online, pick it up some place, ship it from a number of different new fulfillment centers, or nodes and stuff is bizarre, and what you talked about at the beginning of the column, and that's this complexity, this behind the scenes and those days of that, you know, that that perfect order, they're tough to achieve these days. So that's where I see this growing role of supply chain man, you never seen it so often just covered in the media these days, whether it's analysts groups, or even mainstream media, every day, you see this stuff and headlines these days. So that's where I really see some of this difference between, you know, five years ago relative to today. So it's just a fun time to kind of be in the supply chain optimization space. And I know that you know, Seth and the IBM team certainly have been doing a lot a lot of investment in this area also. So it's exciting to see all this stuff come together.

Aaron Conant 14:43

Yeah. I'd love to hear you know, Seth, from your standpoint and what you guys are doing especially in AI and in all the stuff that's going on, but it's now more important than I think anybody thought it was gonna be two years ago. You know, all this, you know, traffic and driving to the site and you know, whether it's a retailer or it's your own direct consumer site. It is the actual order and actually getting the product. Right Do you number one? Do you have it in your you know, you have it it's right warehouse? Do you have it the right fulfillment center? Are you able to pick Packer you're able to ship it able to get it there in two days? It's all this stuff that everybody's focused on, you know, 98% of the time on how do we get new customers, right in the paid media? And oh, are we on TikTok and advertising and very little. So I love this love this chart that now it's becoming top of the mind top of mind, which is what happens when they buy it? Wherever they can you get the product to them, I'd love to hear your thoughts here as well,.

Seth Lytle 15:39

You just touched on something that was you know, really important was just even just that, that two day expectation, right? We have many clients that are that are actually achieving a to our expectation in some cases. And it's pretty amazing how there's a, there's a competition over not only that quick time to be able to obtain what you're trying to purchase, but also having the visibility and the real time nature of where those products are. And what's really happening the last two years under this this situation is pandemic is that supply chain has been disrupted. Right. So it's so important that companies are modernizing into, we said microservices, we said API's first, you know, it's about the technology that underpins these experiences, it's so important that companies are leveraging the best technologies so that they can actually deliver that kind of visibility, and innovate different experiences across different channels. So omnichannel is has been a big buzz phrase for years now, in the last five years, especially it's been increasing. It's all the different channels at which a customer is going to be interacting with your brand. And so even if you can't, and you need to be able to innovate, when you can't deliver on supply, it's essential that you have SKU level accurate information about every single store, what variant you have a product you're trying to sell what you have back in the warehouse, if you're going to be shipping it, you know, whether it's an online experience and offline experience, you need to have that visibility to be able to not only stay with the crowd, but differentiate. Because if you can't deliver a product, because of supply chain issue, you won't be able to have alternates. And if not alternates, you want to be able to have the best handheld white glove experience for those customers. So they have the confidence that they want to stick with the brand that they love, even if it's going to cause them a little bit of extra pain to wait. I think we've all been experiencing some of that pain, and regret not being able to get the products that we want. So it is about blending the online, the offline, and all the different variants in what you're communicating out your messages and make and having those touch points with customers.

Aaron Conant 17:54

No, I agree. I mean, if I can go to see real quick on the omnichannel thing, because I'm gonna blend in a couple of things. He says what you're saying about inventory coming in. Right now, on the flip side, when we talk about omnichannel used to be, you know, everybody treating every channel separately, and now they're all blended. Right, I've got a certain amount of inventory that I need to allocate. But I also need to in the marketplace side update inventory really taught real time to know where I have inventory and where I don't. You know, when's the new stuff coming in? I mean, Omnichannel is, is different than it was even 18 months ago, right? Or it implies a lot more now. You know, you know, a glove, you know, stayed here, your thoughts there? And then, you know, also we can kick it over to Bill, you know, from the Adobe side as well.

Steve Gatto 18:40

Sure. Yeah. I'll jump in here, Aaron. And I know that yeah, teams probably got some some interesting perspectives on this. Also, I did flip the slide for those that are watching the the webinar here just to give you a couple more insights from from the study again, that Aaron you and your team helped us with a BWG strategy. So what you see here, guys is just a quick perspective, another one of those takeaways from the study. It's probably no surprise, it's the theme for today's webinar. If you look at the left hand side, what this graph is actually depicting is we're talking about, you know, supply chain optimization, we're talking about optimizing fulfillment. And so on the left hand side are the responses from, from those that participated in this study just to show those top areas of investment and it's no surprise that you see order management but also the complementary areas around that around things like logistics, warehouse, transportation, so all those things just become paramount to meet some of these objectives we're talking about today. Because there's some impacts and that's what's shown here on the right hand side is what is that? Well, whether it's the pandemic or just due to other just market conditions that are going on, some things that are being affected and why are we looking at these investments in in supply chain is because things have been affected in many cases negatively here like lead times lead times on not only finished goods, but raw materials. That's what's depicted on the upper right hand corner. But once you get an order need to get it out those lead times for actually fulfillment are also increasing in store costs. So, you know, again, that's just a quick perspective there on on, you know, from the research based study. But, Aaron, just some final comments before I throw back over to the team is derived around this omnichannel fulfillment in a retail sense, man, it's just these, these expectations from consumers continue to grow, as we all know. And so you're seeing things now like, how can I get that global? If I'm a seller? How can I get that global view of inventory? When I think about executing now on an order that somebody is placed in boy need to optimize that you see this growing trend in retail to use stores as fulfillment centers or these nodes? And while that seems pretty straightforward, it's it's kind of it's tough. It's tough, not just from a technology perspective, because now I got to have those accurate views of inventories. But now I got to enable people in store associates that were really never planning on being pick pack, ship and fulfillment associates. I mean, they're there as a sales personnel. It's kind of brand ambassadors. And so yes, the technology enables this, and IBM certainly has got some of the leading stuff in the market that does this today. But there's also that change that personnel change. And so that's why we see a lot of like change management also needed for a lot of these omnichannel fulfillment scenarios. So that's been really fun. The last point here real quick is just around the stuff I know we've been talking about. It isn't relegated to just these consumer b2c models. Again, we see a lot of this in b2b Bill, I know you, you've talked about this at the beginning, also, you know, companies that operate some kind of a b2b model, boy, they've got similar needs around just needing to get that global view of inventory, but they're really moving from this reliance on their enterprise architectures, you know, things that they really relied on ERP systems do in the past, to get some more flexibility there, and that's where order management can really play an interesting role around not just in, you know, inventory, but order execution. You know, manufacturers, the distributors, you know, again, manage things like capacity. So they can segment their customers, you know, again, based on you know, more prioritized customers, you can allocate inventory accordingly, for demand that's actually coming in, it's really helping them just to meet improve on their SLA is overall. So, again, on this omnichannel fulfillment, it's, it's an exciting time can be a challenging time. But I know the teams on the call here has got some other good thoughts to share.

Aaron Conant 22:29

Yeah, let's kick it over to Bill from the standpoint of, you know, when you guys are jumping in, you know, how are you deciding between the need to have a nice to have, you know, what does that look like, and this omnichannel piece, and then, you know, the other thing I want to jump to so I'd love to, you know, from obviously from from Bill, assess that on both of this, but then I want to jump into that order management piece, because, I mean, it's the only one on this chart that's not doesn't have any read. And, you know, just, you know, three or four different questions on that, as we kind of dig a little deeper, but, you know, it flipping back just really quick, on the eCommerce side, like, what are the what are those that need to have versus nice to haves that you're seeing, you know, as people are trying to figure out, what do they do? Right? The the IT tech stack is, you know, the requests there. So, you know, the line is now so long, right? What's needed what's right, right?

Bill Friend  23:19

Well, I've been in this space for a long time. And I, you know, when you start talking about features of eCommerce platforms, I feel like it's a difficult way to kind of navigate your way through the landscape, because many times, certain platforms may have all had the same feature set. And it's really the ability of those platforms to support prioritize use cases by the buyers, for example. So sometimes, and we talked about this earlier, their ability to, to deliver flexibility, the ability to adapt to the different use cases without spending a lot of money, and a lot of time, for example, the ability to support b2b and b2c on the same platform. So I bristle a little bit at just, you know, the laundry list of features. So I think it's more the kind of topics I just mentioned that I think the more sophisticated buyers are looking at, and you know, and then you kind of get back to again, microservices API, the ability to support API first to integrate these different systems and so on. So that's my thoughts there there. I did have a couple comments back to some some stuff that was discussed earlier and thinking about order management in particular and order orchestration. And, and, you know, there there's an aspect of this for Adobe is even you start thinking about the digital experience, and the and tying this together with your question. How does the order management platform and the understanding of an order? And and what? What needs to happen to support that? How can that affect the digital experience? On the front end? I think there's a lot of use cases that are really doing more than just showing you on a product detail page. Is there inventory or not? Right. So I think there's some really interesting use cases that, again, forward looking that aren't really being delivered today in terms of understanding a path where somebody is gone to purchase and the inventory is not available, and they abandon cart, or, or there's an understanding of interest. And you can actually promote an offer to somebody based on their location and the availability of inventory. So I guess the point I leave you with there is I think there's a lot of capability to drive improved experience on the front end, by leveraging knowledge of shopper location, or browser location, where the person is and what inventory is available, and then likely have interested and either promoting content that's related to that, or offers and things like that. So I think there's a lot of opportunity for commerce platforms to leverage inventory, availability, by location to drive a better customer experience. So I think that's an interesting trend that I'd like to see more around, as it relates to the kind of topics we're talking about today. And the kind of technology that that would support that.

Aaron Conant 26:41

Awesome, love it. So if we jump to this, you know, this chart that's up right here, I mean, we did a deep dive with, you know, hundreds of executives as a whole, you know, a quick comment that comes in and just a quick reminder that there's, there's comments or questions, you want to dress drop in the question section. And you can always just drop into the chat, or you can email them to me, Aaron, aaron@bwgconnect.com. It's interesting to comment that comes in, it's interesting that sustainability doesn't come up at the top priorities. You know, that's it, maybe it's just a supply chain modernization? I don't know, if the if you guys had any thought on that whatsoever? What do you mean by seeing sustainability? Yeah, it's just that the comment was, it's interesting. So if I look at this, right, order management, supply chain resilience, supply chain modernization, you know, sustainability didn't, didn't didn't come up. You know, it could have just been a function of how the questions were asked as well. But it is interesting, because it is, is a top priority, I think, for a lot of companies today. You know, reducing carbon footprint. Thanks.

Seth Lytle  27:49

So I think it's really important. I mean, I think I know, like we all know, this is something that's very important globally, right. Many of the leaders and many companies, such as ones represented here are are making it an important part of our strategic initiatives investing in those things significantly. It's, I think it's a little indicative of the fact that we're, we're in a tough time right now, last 12 months. And looking forward to the next 12 months, I think that companies are, you know, having that as a priority, but, you know, right now, it's about their bottom line, and making sure that they have the ability to deliver on the absolute Miss business necessities to their clients. And what you see here at the top is about, you know, making sure your supply chain is solid, if you don't have a rock solid ability to deliver on your promises, and provide differentiating experiences, then, you know, you're not going to have a business. So I think it's just I think it's just a matter of, it's almost like the needs to have versus nice to haves. And we're all moving in the direction of better visibility, better understanding of, you know, what is your carbon footprint? How can we do better to reduce emissions? How can we preserve, you know, this wonderful world. But I think that's a little indicative of kind of where we are in the current state of the pandemic. Awesome.

Aaron Conant 29:19

I do want to jump in and just, you know, a couple of questions come in on the order management side, it's the only one it's not read it is, you know, a huge focus right now. So you know, your opinion maybe I'll start with Steve, you know, what our business is doing to digitize their sales order processes, and, you know, what's driving those changes?

Steve Gatto 29:41

Yeah, it's a it's a good one area, Aaron. I think if there's anything you know, to digitize those just around the supply chain here, it's a lot of work around inventory. And I think those of us that live is day in and day out, we we kind of get it like meaning that the need there is around like establishing these global views of the mentoree because as Commerce has become more omnichannel, again, it's really this migration or evolution from, you know, if it was e.com channels in the past, you know, what view of inventory did they have? Well, it wasn't a global view of inventory, it was an inventory that was just sold through that channel. And so that's what's dramatically changing. And it sounds pretty straightforward, then to begin to create these aggregated views of inventory. And not just inventory that you have on hand in DCS or fulfillment centers, could be stuff that's sitting at, you know, these new fulfillment locations, store stores becoming fulfillment nodes, that could be inventory that's sitting out at a third party, third party logistics vendor, or even inventory that you're, you know, in these dropship models that you're selling that you would never have on hand. So when we think about inventory, there's a lot of different scenarios. And so that's why you need these enterprise technologies from someone like an IBM of the world with the IBM Sterling offering. That's why this partnership is so exciting, because when I think about these, you know, everything we're talking about today, these, you know, the, you need advanced technologies to be able to help companies provide that aggregated view of inventory. And once you can do that, then you can get into all these orchestration scenarios that we've been talking about all the omnichannel fulfillment stuff. And in retail, we're all familiar with those. But again, we keep reinforcing here, there's also an opportunity with people that operate some variation of a b2b model. So manufacturers that are now going direct distributors that are looking to, again, modernize their architectures for all the reasons that we talked about before. So again, that's why I see, you know, this, this partnership from Adobe, arguably, you know, one of the best commerce and just overall experience portfolios in the world, you combine that with, you know, again, IBM has continued investment here in the supply chain space, and everything they continue to around, again, not just the Sterling technologies, but some of the things around that, that they've created in their supply chain portfolio, it's just like bringing to the two of the best together. And so Aaron, we just, we see a lot of a lot of opportunity here to to use these just to help companies differentiate in the marketplace.

Aaron Conant 32:08

So I kind of already posed the same question, or Bill, if you want to jump in?

Bill Friend  32:14

Yeah, yeah I mean putting a little bit extra emphasis there, if you think about what are people doing, it's like, integrating all the different sources of information where inventory changes, is not a small task. So there may be situations where people are exposing inventory from one channel. So as was discussed earlier, what they're looking to do is really, you know, for example, they may have not had the ability to update inventory, more than on a daily basis from a store. And so what they're looking to do is more real time, integrate with more systems, that house inventory. And really also look at processes, where returns are coming in, and, and all these different types of things to really, you know, from, from the retailer side, to really get as much of a accurate view of inventory to get that sale. And it gets pretty tricky. I mean, you have certain industries where, you know, there's a lot of inventory, and it's distributed across a lot of locations. That's one level of complexity, another one where you might have stores only have two or three of an item. And you just don't know, unless you have an ability to synchronize inventory on a regular basis on this, call it live, you'll miss the sale. So again, I think, in the effort to get as much of a real time view across all inventory locations and present that view as part of a buying process is what people are doing.

Seth Lytle 33:56

And that's and that's I'll just jump in. That's, that's so important across both the b2c experience both the retail experience where this is so essential, but also in the b2b space. And, you know, having siloed different experiences, whether it be from the front end and the customer facing or from the back end and servicing those customers or fulfilling those customers. It has to be to address those problems, you have to have a strategic approach that's looking at a platform that can be flexible and use and support this and we have a public reference Parker, and offene, who has over 100 divisions, and they wrestled with that experience. This is a manufacturer of motion controls and globally, right. And they they came to us and they wanted to create a seamless experience so that there'll be one Parker, one way in which a customer would interact, both from the commerce perspective and from the order Management fulfillment perspective to make sure there was optimization. And I know earlier there's a question I failed to answer it around AI, it's, it's it's so important to look at. When you have volume when you have large, large fulfillment tasks and objectives and demand that you need to deliver upon, it's important to have a system that can progressively work being worked with the best products that can progressively provide more intelligence around how you're fulfilling how you're making determinations on split shipments, on which carriers are going with on what is their delivery times on, you know, what is the cost of using one store versus another? What is the velocity of a store's ability, you know, the folks that working there, be able to pick and pack and ship, right, and integrations into warehouse management are essential, right. So there are some key pieces. And that slide that's up just, you know, kind of represents some of those real key pieces that are tying being tied together. And the commerce system is your front. You know, it's your, it's your brand experience. And so that's why, you know, we think it's so important that bringing together of course, our order management system, it's been in the market, market leading, you know, paired with Adobe same, right, it's such a winning combination.

Aaron Conant 36:27

So you're, you're talking to kind of migrated to jump in built,

Bill Friend 36:32

I was gonna say, you know, an interesting thing about this space is that I think we can all, excuse me relate to our experience in interacting with different brands, different websites, and comparing to Amazon, which is kind of a certain expectation standard. And there's various things that pop up in my mind in terms of that seem to be happening these days in terms of different type of carriers behind the scenes or intermediaries. And it's like, okay, FedEx is shipping this, but I've got another system that's giving me updates, and it's sort of obfuscated what the order status is. So the idea that I get a consistent view of where's my order, and when I get it, I actually feel like it's getting worse, in some ways, because of this obfuscation. And I don't fully understand it. I don't know if any other folks on the call have seen that when they are shopping. But it's an area where I feel like, I have such a high expectation, anytime I check, I want to be able to know exactly where my order is. And when I'm going to get it in, if I don't get it, what do I get to do? And I think there's some opportunity for improvement there as well, as you kind of go down the left here of this diagram.

Aaron Conant 37:53

I'm not sure if anybody else is seeing things like that. But I just felt like that was an interesting thing that I personally noticing when I buy online. No, I Oh, so I with four kids, right? They all like shop online. Right? They everything they want is online, every birthday, present every Christmas, present everything they want for school. And then as soon as it's ordered, you're right. Where's it at? When's it shipping? It's like the replacement of are we there yet? Right. And it's a constant need, I think at this point in time and an expectation that I'm going to be able to find out where anything's at, I'm going to, you know, at any point in time, and when it's delivered if I'm not at home. Yeah, I completely agree. It's a new expectation across the

Bill Friend  38:38

board. Well, it seems like Amazon does such a good job. It's hard not having that expectation. So when you buy directly from a brand, I did this the other day, and everybody knows the brand. They're in Vancouver, they make women's athletic wear. And it took 10 days to get the product. And I didn't even know when it was fulfilled, like when was it actually on a vehicle to my house. So it's, I feel like there's still a pretty big gap. For certain brands that are big enough, you would think they would deliver a better experience. There's a lot of room for improvement. So back to the question of what are people doing? Hopefully, they're looking at that, quite frankly.

Aaron Conant 39:19

Yeah, it's interesting, because it's kind of the connectivity you're bringing up because there are tons of, you know, new service providers popping up. A big request I get is for digital age three PLS, the ones that can, you know, drop ship anywhere in the US in one day or less. They can handle, you know, orders from b2b to direct to consumer across any marketplace. And they're all great, but at some point in time, that all has to connect, right? All of that information has to flow through to the business as a whole to be able to react, you know, in nine different ways, from processing the order to correspondence to marketing to insights on where the products at, when's it going to get there, there's, you know, it's just interesting You know how much like these, I think Amazon has driven the expectations and therefore driven, you know, what's taking place. I mean, what's happened during the pandemic, you know, Amazon who had, you know, nobody has it all figured out, but had a head start, you know, is, you know, one significantly during the pandemic. And so, you know, it's super interesting, you know, to see how all this is playing out now, you know, they're from a business acumen standpoint as a whole. Right, you know, you know, a lot of what take place is dress consumer, but also b2b Right, and I think SaaS was getting into that a little bit. But Bill, you know, thoughts, you know, what's going on in the eCommerce space with b2b organizations, as we kind of tackle down, you know, go down this path as a whole?

Bill Friend  40:49

Yeah, um, the comment I'd make about that is, I think the traditional types of requirements around inventory visibility, and trying to make better decisions when they fulfill large orders, which warehouse, you know, they may only have four or five. And, you know, there's, there's the traditional types of requirements there, I shared a story the other day, more on the distribution side, where a brand is typically relying on the distributors to fulfill orders. But they've also invested in driving the consumer directly to their brand to interact with them on their site. So they're getting interested in orders themselves, but they aren't taking those orders, and disrupting their channel, they're actually looking for ways to feed those orders to the right distributor, or make them available for a distributor to, to take it and then fulfill it. So the need to understand order status. Even without inventory, there's an assumptive level, there are certain businesses where you know, you always have inventory on hand, and it's about orchestrating an order across the supply chain. And so I'm actually having a number of different conversation with folks who are trying to figure that out.

 

Bill Friend 42:26

So it's the classic scenario where technologies and solutions have been around for a long time in businesses where you're not sure what that does to your business model, where they just want to like, well, let's put some of this stuff out there and see what kind of adoption we get. So I still think there's a lot of demand on b2b. And it's not hard to predict that it's going to happen, I think it's harder to predict when

Seth Lytle 42:49

I'm not sure if that makes sense. I think it does. I mean, we we have seen large, large, industrial, and other groups in the b2b space have come to come to us. And as we work with them, we discovered that they're still taking invoices and recording, you know, sales and things on on paper, you know, handwritten notes, stacks of paper, passing it off, you know, in regards to all that, and there's a lot of opportunity, not that, you know, that's not the majority of customers, or clients that are out there. But, you know, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And that's where some companies are, and maybe it's not just a paper trail that they're in, but it's it's maturing their process towards digitization of the supply chain, right from manufacturing, you know, from sourcing products to manufacturing, to packaging and delivery. And obviously that that end that inner interaction at intersection of product availability and customer being able to purchase on a, on a website, they would customers want in the b2b space or wanting that experience to be like what they expect from a retailer. So there's, there's there's that similarity of capabilities that the expectation is growing. And so companies are increasingly moving more in the b2b space into enhancing digitizing, getting better platforms thinking about that API first thinking about innovation, ways to make sure that their buyers are confident, both from the seller who's working and representing the brand and from a self service perspective on seeing that holistic view of where their stuff is, what you know, what they still need to fulfill. You know, when is it going to hit I my warehouse when it wears it on the truck? And that's, that's so that, you know, we've seen, we've seen a two fold increase in b2b companies in the last 12 months. So it's, it's still it's there, it's coming. And you know, we're happy to help those companies mature the process.

Bill Friend 45:08

That it seems like on the b2b side that there's just a really different dynamic where you're not processing necessarily large number of orders, but the orders are large themselves. So you have line items, and, you know, different considerations. I'm curious if you would characterize those projects in a significantly different way, or is it pretty similar?

Seth Lytle 45:37

Well, we so our system and our platform is getting into kind of the nuts and bolts of how it works. But, you know, our platform is incredibly resilient, and scalable. And, you know, to your point, the orders may not be that high, but the line ends may be, and, you know, companies are looking for performance, which is absolutely key, especially when you know, whether it's retail or b2b, because of what's happening in the world, because of the additional channels, you know, the the explosion to a digital procurement, or digital purchasing experience, has, has blown up. So you need to be able to scale with that, right. So IBM when we're three or three times the closest competitor in regards to proven order lines, order lines per order, right, we've, we've proven it out over 75,000 order lines per minute. And, you know, that's the kind of confidence that's when our cloud, that's our SaaS multi tenant solution that that is allowing, you know, b2b companies to get on boarded quickly, because they're taking advantage of so much of our technology that's already been put in place to manage that application for them, but still provides the 100% flexibility of the containerized and on premise installation. So, you know, the sky's the limit in terms of performance, for our product, but that's that is what's key, you know, as well in the b2b space, because, you know, not all systems can handle those massively large order lines without starting to choke it.

Aaron Conant 47:11

I'm gonna jump in here, you know, just to kick it over to Steve.

You know, you guys are helping a ton of people out in this space, what are the key things that the top things that you guys are jumping in to figure out? Right, I mean, this there's a list right here, and it might be guided by this list. But, you know, there's, you know, 16 things, right, like, you jump in, you know, how are you helping people out? And what are the main things you're seeing, you know, need help out with right now?

Steve Gatto  47:41

Yeah, sure. And I may continue on some of those good thoughts from from Bill, and Seth, just on this b2b theme. And, again, those some of those, some of those initiatives that we're helping clients with are consistent with retailers. But there are some nuances to the b2b world give a couple of quick scenarios like while these, it's all about managing demand, really about managing demand for b2b folks. So if they can get that global view of inventory, great, how am I managing demand, a lot of that demand is still coming in through, you know, electronic channels like EDI complemented with some, you know, self serve over the web, in addition to traditional channels that that you were talking about, whether it's, you know, brand representatives, customer care, all that kind of stuff. But once this Demand comes in, what we're really helping these b2b folks with is great AI. Now, with these technologies, you can get that global view of inventory. But how am I allocating against that demand, for example, you got some limited availability of products, maybe that's due to some of the supply chain issues, we've all seen the stories about containers that are just stuck up ports, and I got limited supply, but you're trying to fulfill against demand. And as opposed to just getting all these orders in and fulfilling and, you know, first, first received, what if I can take a look at my customer base where these orders are actually coming in segment that customer base out? So I know who are the prioritized customers, and to prioritize because of the frequency. They do business with us. Maybe it's a contract we have with them. But now I can use order management to actually allocate inventory to the right customers in the right way. So that's that's a lot of the work that's going on. So I can now more effectively optimize how I'm fulfilling against demand. And then when I begin to promise, provide transparency on all that our fulfilling those orders, make sure that those promises I'm making are based on some of those downstream applications. Seth, I know that you were talking about. So now we're talking about interoperability with the warehouse. And then again, how are we tying into logistics and fulfillment providers, whether somebody's got their own fleet, and they have a transportation management system, and they're working with some third party logistics vendors. So what is the stuff we're helping people with? That's just on the theme of again, this b2b that we were talking about, but it's similar stuff to retail, but in b2b It's it's a little different than those type of use cases.

Aaron Conant 50:02

Awesome. I love it. So we got about a minute and a half here, I want to kind of kick it over to key takeaways. You know, Bill, I'll hit you first, if you want to jump in with some, you know, a few key takeaways, and then we'll hit Seth, and then we'll hit Steve and kind of wrap it up here. So I'm good. Sure.

Bill Friend 50:18

Yeah, no, I, I think one of my big takeaways is, I think that there's sort of two areas to think about this whole space. One is the people have, who have been doing or leveraging mortgage management for a while now. And really looking to Steve and team other partners to leverage that to really optimize their business for profitability in terms of long tail or other things, and then there's this other domain where people aren't really doing much, and they're looking to really get into rapid deployment, leveraging, you know, solutions like Sterling to get something up and running and, and support office and other flows in, in, in a good way relative to the kind of customers they serve. So it's a big area, and I think we're gonna see a lot more happening over the next few years here.

Aaron Conant 51:15

Awesome. Yeah. Seth, do you want to jump in?

Any key thoughts, key takeaways?

Seth Lytle 51:19

Yeah, sure. There's been a lot of talk around, you know, the visibility into what's in available to sell. I think what's key is that companies are thinking about how to take the next step. Right, what and, and what we've done with our products, you know, even from the order side order management side is, is actually be able to deliver to customers, quick wins in the space of inventory visibility. It's such a core initial piece that you can then expand upon, as you understand more once you understand what you have, then you can start to understand and be able to deliver a promise in the eCommerce side that goes even beyond a promise around when can I actually get it not just what do I have? And, and so I think it's important that companies are thinking about, you know, not necessarily this massive problem, which there's a lot to do and a lot of innovation to have around, you know, modernizing the supply chain, modernizing fulfillment, modernizing that end user experience with commerce platform, but realize that there are very tactical steps that can be delivered in short periods of time, with, with what we are offering, and is especially it wasn't mentioned, but you know, this prebuilt integration between our platform and Adobe is a key example of how we can help make things happen quickly. So think about, you know, your next step from a digitization perspective, and execute on it.

Aaron Conant 52:47

Awesome. Steve, you want to kind of, you know, wrap this up here.

And we'd love to hear your final thoughts.

Steve Gatto 52:56

Yeah, final thought would just be around. You know, from a system integrator perspective, proficient man, we rely on, you know, technology, partnerships just to enable our business. It's just, it's paramount. So, for us, we take a very methodical approach on we can't be everyone's partner. So frankly, we're just when I look back in history, just, you know, incredibly proud on those partnerships we've had with Adobe for a long time, equally with IBM and IBM, Sterling for a long time. So I think what you'll see from us is just continued and accelerated investment to take what Seth, you know, you just you just mentioned there some of those pre built integrations, and, you know, build on top of that, and because we know these technology suites, so well just provide additional accelerators just to help clients, you know, realize the value a little quicker. So improve on that ROI. So just really excited to see the announcement and look forward to the future with it.

Aaron Conant 53:49

Awesome. Well, you know, fantastic conversation today. Bill said, Steve, thanks to all of you for being such great friends, partners, supporters of the network, you know, again, anybody needs any follow up conversations on this. They're leaders in the space, they got a great partnership with us, but also with a lot of different organizations within the network as a whole. So encourage anybody to get a chance, you know, some time on the calendar and pick their brains. And with that, we're gonna wrap it up. Hope everybody has a fantastic Wednesday. Have a great rest of the week. Everybody, stay safe. I look forward to have you at a future event. Take care now. Thanks again, everybody. Alrighty.

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