Your digital commerce strategy
Monday, August 29, 2022
Boris Lokschin, Co-Founder and CEO of Spryker explains how your digital commerce strategy could be SAP-ping the life out of your developers, how solutions like SAP stifle the potential for long-term growth, and how to build a strategy fit for tomorrow's developers.
Events of recent years have catapulted the demand for digital transformation, and digital commerce was no exception. E-commerce sales grew 50% over the pandemic, reaching a whopping $870B. With digital commerce booming in all sectors, and demand for excellent digital experiences growing with it, developers’ workloads are bigger than ever. As a result, 83% say they are suffering from burnout. The issue is only growing in recent years, with 81% of developers saying burnout was only exacerbated by the demands of the pandemic.
Is your digital commerce strategy SAP-ping the life out of your developers?
What’s more, digital commerce businesses are faced with a vicious cycle, 93% of CIOs and IT decision-makers agree the Great Resignation has made it harder to retain skilled developers. With IT teams already thin on the ground, developers’ workloads are only expanding, making those remaining employees all the more likely to look elsewhere. To survive the current landscape, digital commerce businesses need a smarter strategy. This involves moving away from the monolith and embracing a composable approach.
At the mercy of the monolith
Many digital commerce businesses are still stuck working with monolithic solutions. This type of architecture, SAP being one example, is a 'one-size-fits-all' solution that works 'off the shelf' without much need for customization. This has initial benefits, but these rigid, inflexible platforms mean businesses end up tied to the offerings of a single vendor. This might have worked for digital commerce businesses a decade ago, but now, in an age of checkoutless, the metaverse, and drone deliveries, these platforms only stifle the potential for long-term growth.
To add insult to injury, monolithic architectures are also slow to update, or even to maintain, requiring huge amounts of time and labor just to run smoothly. If one program component needs to be updated, other elements might also require rewriting, meaning the whole application needs to be recompiled and tested. Once customizations have been made (usually a long-winded process), further complexity is added. Many digital commerce businesses simply don’t have the people's power for the level of maintenance needed. Another issue is that often only a handful of people within a developer team know the quirks of the existing system. This can leave tech stacks precariously balanced, amounting to the “fourth rail” of the business, i.e., don’t touch it.
Despite all the time spent maintaining the platform, it’s still easy for issues to reach the customer and impact the user experience. Businesses often struggle to identify issues fast enough, causing defects to be released into production. What’s more, the large code base of a monolith makes it harder for developers and quality assurance teams to understand a business’ code. This means digital commerce businesses will need bigger IT teams as the code base grows. In the age of the Great Resignation, this is a luxury few businesses can afford.
Cracking the (low) code for digital commerce
To keep up with competitors in today’s evolving digital commerce landscape, businesses need to be able to adapt and innovate, offering new apps and services at speed to meet the demand for intuitive and exciting customer experiences. However, they need to be able to trial these functions first, ensuring they work for the business before investing. In a monolithic architecture, implementing a new app or service often requires months of developer time, putting pressure on already overworked IT teams.
However, composable commerce platforms that effectively act as an 'app store' for digital commerce enable low code and 'quick click integration' solutions, meaning IT teams can quickly assemble new processes and launch applications without having to research, write and test new scripts. Moreover, low code and quick integrations mean IT team members can develop new solutions without having specialized knowledge of every tool or technology.
Platforms are now available that enable businesses to integrate third-party apps and services in minutes, rather than months. These new platforms enable businesses to adopt a truly composable approach, picking and mixing from various partners and ‘trying before they buy'. Developers are then freed up from lengthy integration processes and are able to focus on more rewarding tasks that deliver tangible business benefits. And, by lowering the barriers to production, businesses can bridge gaps in their workforce, overcoming developer shortages.
Building a strategy fit for tomorrow’s developers
To retain developers and attract new talent, businesses must embrace a new approach to digital commerce. By leaving behind rigid, inflexible monolithic platforms and adopting a composable approach, digital commerce businesses can launch new apps and services at speed. Moreover, this approach enables low code, no code, and quick integration solutions, which can be implemented by developers and IT professionals without specialized knowledge, filling in gaps in IT workforces. In this way, digital commerce businesses can keep up with the changing demands of consumers and outpace competitors, while avoiding developer burnout and innovating with a smaller workforce.
This content is made possible by a guest author, or sponsor; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of App Developer Magazine's editorial staff.
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