Don Mishory: [In the last segment] You used the term ‘digital’ and to me, that’s one of those terms, we all want to be “digital” [however], it’s widely used [but] not widely defined. So I’m going to ask you and put you on the spot a little bit on how you would define the term ‘digital’ in a couple areas. First, what would you define as a digital strategy around e-commerce?
Jim MacLennan: Well, first you started the conversation by talking about frameworks for value and I have a framework. It’s in my book, Don’t Think So Much. I have a framework for defining this concept of digital transformation and it fits into five simple areas. We’re talking about systems and process for automating internal operations or getting closer to your customers and then information is part of the products and services that you sell. The forth component of the framework would be data and not just sharing the data across these diff areas of systems but how good is your group/your company at getting information out of that data and using that information to make decisions. The fifth and actually the most important [component] would be your team. A very important piece of any digital transformation. Are your employees part of the solution, part of the design, really getting into things? Because they’re the ones that have to do these internal processes and connect with your customers and service the products that you sell.
So, within that simple framework, five simple pieces for digital transformation, if you talk about e-commerce, that [fits in] really nice. You’re connecting obviously with customers right, so a great e-commerce system is going to focus primarily on making the transaction easier, taking the friction out of the transactions and making your connections with your customers stickier. And actually, I include things like EDI in with that concept of e-commerce because it’s machine to machine conversations.
But there’s also a link if you think about e-commerce, there’s also a link to operations clearly. Because you’re taking some of the order entry process and putting it out there for your end users to see. They’re going to have, to a certain extent, visibility into your internal processes. But also, it’s a great link to products.
E-commerce can be a really great link to products because your customers, especially in the more complex B2B world, they’re asking specific questions about capabilities, technical specs and things like that. They’re giving you signals for what your products need to be able to do as well as what your tech services folks need to focus on.
So, [within] e-commerce [there are] lot of connections to great digital transformation [value] and its more than just making things easier for customers.