According to Gartner’s glossary, chief information officers (CIOs) oversee the IT organisation’s people, processes and technologies to ensure they deliver outcomes that support the goals of the business.
With digital transformation on many organisations’ agendas, the strategic, technical and management initiatives that these transformations drive means the CIO has an ever more important and critical role to play.
For B2B companies in particular, CIOs are focused on transforming how rapidly their businesses can compete online. With more than half of buyers expected to make more than 50 per cent of their business purchases online by 2018, it is easy to see why CIOs have started to play such a major role in their companies’ digital strategies and customer engagement initiatives.
As a part of this transformation, many CIOs are turning to SaaS CRM-based commerce platforms in preference to legacy systems like Oracle or SAP Hybris, which are costly and difficult to implement. SaaS CRM-based commerce platforms can help CIOs improve their businesses performance more quickly and effectively.
Notably, SaaS CRM-based commerce platforms have the following benefits:
Speed to market
Unlike traditional legacy systems CIOs can implement CRM-based commerce platforms in weeks, not years. This means CIOs are able to champion solutions that drive incremental revenue and engage customers more appropriately, more timely and with a more compelling proposition.
CIOs can turn to SaaS systems to reduce total cost of ownership, both in the short term and in the long term. SaaS CRM-based commerce platforms do not require high capital investments, as companies can assemble their solution in phases, adopting new capabilities over time and only as necessary.
Equally, once a SaaS CRM-based commerce platform is enabled there are zero costs when it comes to IT infrastructure and management expenditures. Forty-four cents of every dollar spent on a typical on-premise system are delegated to equipment needs (such as configuring servers and disaster recovery systems).
Comparatively, true SaaS solutions ensure all investments go right toward software and services, meaning that companies can save money while also deploying a commerce platform faster.
SaaS CRM-based commerce platforms are incredibly agile. This means companies are able to make iterative updates quickly based on customer feedback, market movements, competitive challenges and much more.
Today’s customer is a demanding one, and whilst loyalty and high quality customer service stands for a lot, not being responsive to how customers want to make a purchase can inevitably lead them to make those purchases elsewhere.
As more companies move online for their ordering needs, Cloud-based commerce solutions can help businesses reach a wider global audience. They make ordering easy through individually tailored purchasing options, offering complex merchandising capabilities and providing real-time insight and recommendations based on customer behaviour - giving you a true 360-degree view of your customers.
Culture of speed and flexibility
As an added benefit of adopting forward-thinking CRM-based solutions, CIOs can foster an organisational culture that places high value of speed and flexibility. This attention to agility and improvement will trickle well beyond back-end IT responsibilities and into all areas of business.
As CIOs come to embrace their new roles as strategists within their companies, the IT and technological decisions they make are critical to long-term success.
The benefits of a combined CRM and commerce platform will future-proof B2B organisations, and enable them to offer a B2C-like commerce experience, which will only become more important as buyers’ expectations for convenience and a top-notch experience online continue to rise.
Ian Pollard, general manager EMEA, CloudCraze
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