The promises and pitfalls of eCommerce for SAP

Is your SAP eCommerce implementation costing you time, effort and money?

The cornerstone of every online business has been called into question; your SAP eCommerce implementation could be costing you time, effort and money, but what can be done to prevent it?

The relationship between eCommerce and SAP solutions can be complex, and whether you’re an SME or major player, this environment can be stressful to handle. On the one hand, if you’re an SME looking to integrate all of your existing software, going into this area for the first time can be a daunting prospect. On the other hand though, big businesses can be equally frightened of “the new” and change in general is something to steer clear of… isn't it?

Why is it needed A-SAP?

Since its birth in the 70s, SAP has been an integral part of many businesses across the globe, now ensuring that the omni-channel experience of the customer at every turn is quick, easy and secure, with a consistent level of quality in self-service management. The addition of eCommerce and CMS software allows you to manage any touchpoint to its full potential, from taking that initial online order right through to its delivery, viewing customer details and analysing their order history to help build promotional activity. However, with your ability in SAP to check in on your revenue and monitor real-time inventory data, making the right choice about your eCommerce solution for SAP is a decision that affects every department.

However, it isn’t all plain sailing; there’s an abundance of considerations to account for when looking at eCommerce within an SAP environment, and guess what? The introduction of a content management system (CMS) to this scenario makes things a whole lot more complicated; most CMSs are additions or “new dimensions” to the original SAP package, meaning that your external system is constantly having to duplicate its data across to the SAP platform and vice versa, in order to keep up to date. If you haven’t already guessed, the fundamental issue with current packages is that you have far too much back-and-forth going on, which can lead to a whole host of other problems…

The Common Pitfalls

Duplication – Third party solutions make the job of managing data far more difficult than it needs to be; the fact that there is complex integration with the SAP platform itself, means that there is a need for someone on either side of the chain to manage data, so there is the duplication of personnel and hardware in the communication process. However, there is also the risk caused by the duplication of the data itself and lack of real-time processing, let alone the losses accrued with additional personnel. Information, even if managed from a single data source on either side, must constantly be updated from both sides in order to guarantee an up-to-date system, leading to...

Higher costs, less efficiency – The duplication, plus the need to later turn to a company who can fix all of these problems, can leave you severely out of pocket. The need for staff to replicate the data input task often means less efficiency overall within that company role, and so the business too.

High risk – As real-time data is physically impossible here, you have a potential problem, in that the data cannot be updated on your side if there’s a failure. Just because the customer face of the business is allowing orders of one price to go through, does not necessarily mean that this is what they will eventually be charged if that sum is inaccurate. A perfect example of this from a business owners’ perspective is in marketing and financial intelligence. If you have an order for four items in your eCommerce that been discounted from £40 to £20, what is sent back to your business platform? It would most likely look something like this…

Example of an eCommerce order form

Example of an eCommerce order form

Example of an eCommerce order form

So, to make the right business decisions, you must have the data as it is set out in first green option – but let’s now add to this the pricing conditions logic. How do I find out from the system exactly how that price was determined and presented to the customer? Pricing is multi-faceted, and to ascertain the price the system may have gone through a huge amount of complexity. To get the information you require, you have to be looking at the business platform – so, why do I need two systems trying to do the same thing?

“But that’s the way we’ve always done it!”

You may be left wondering now why many people have vested so much interest in a system which doesn’t suit most needs – surely, there must be a better way? The common misconception is that the big boys of the industry have it right and always will – they wouldn’t be at the top of the chain otherwise, right? As we know, though, technology moves very quickly and it is now becoming the case that innovation can come from anywhere along the food chain, as our global, omni-channel digital age dictates. This system is simply no longer efficient enough for most companies.

The solution? No duplication, and a fully native SAP eCommerce strategy.

If you'd like to find out how you can eliminate duplication and go native, why not take a few minutes to view our Omnia eCommerce solution page.