DACH study shows: IT expertise is essential when selecting suitable e-commerce platforms – yet bad investments lead to frustration and hinder the digitalisation of German companies
A recent study by Sana Commerce, a leading ERP-integrated e-commerce platform that helps B2B companies build long-lasting customer relationships, shows that 88 percent of all IT professionals surveyed are dissatisfied with the e-commerce platform used in their company. According to the study results, this is mainly due to the lack of integration of IT professionals in essential decision-making processes. Often, such decisions are made by management alone, even though IT managers have the most comprehensive expertise in dealing with such solutions and are ultimately responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the e-commerce solution on a daily basis.
This problem is followed by a series of other challenges and conflicts, which often leads to a domino effect of frustration throughout the company. This circumstance is particularly serious in light of the current shortage of IT specialists, as they are urgently needed to develop digitisation strategies and subsequently implement them. However, the opinion of IT experts is not sufficiently taken into account in decision-making processes or included in purchasing decisions.
B2B companies in the DACH region often save at the wrong end
“In the medium and long term, wrong decisions with regard to the digitalisation strategy and a suitable e-commerce platform can have serious consequences,” explains Melanie Volkmann, Managing Director DACH Sana Commerce. “It is clear that the choice of the right e-commerce platform is indispensable for the success of every B2B company. After all, choosing an unsuitable e-commerce platform ties up company-wide IT capacities and thus prevents further digitisation efforts.”
According to the study results, the use of inadequately tested e-commerce platforms leads, for example, to increased susceptibility to maintenance (32 percent) or even downtime (3.5 hours per month). A full 35 percent of the annual IT budget is spent solely on platform maintenance. In order to accomplish tasks such as maintenance or servicing, an average of 2.5 people of the IT team are needed. This further overloads the already understaffed IT workforce. Given the prevailing IT skills shortage, this problem is particularly worrying.
According to the study, an above-average number of B2B e-commerce platforms in the DACH region even experience repeated errors and failures. One of the study results suggests, for example, that due to the sometimes inadequate connection of B2B companies to their own IT infrastructure, up to 158 orders are lost per month in the DACH region alone. Such problems and challenges have a negative impact on both turnover and the overall reputation of the companies and cause great frustration, not least among the IT staff.
A conflict of interest with serious consequences
Another serious problem highlighted in the study is the ongoing conflict of interest between management and IT professionals. For there is often a lack of sufficient debate between the two. While management makes decisions on its own, the opinion of IT professionals is insufficiently – or in some cases not at all – taken into account. However, the prevailing divergence and tension between management and IT staff not only affects the general performance and the implementation of digitalisation strategies, but also the satisfaction of the IT experts. Therefore, due to the sometimes strongly diverging objectives and expectations, a vicious circle of problems, disruptions, errors, failures and excessive costs opens up.
Melanie Volkmann explains how important it is, therefore, to resolve tensions between management and the IT staff and thus set a positive domino effect in motion: “Digitisation is an example of human inventiveness and the creative power we can perceive in the market. Unfortunately, many B2B companies are still shying away from fully seizing the opportunities that digitalisation offers.” Furthermore, the CEO appeals for the courage to jump on the digital transformation bandwagon and, above all, to trust in the skills of the IT staff: “It is crucial to listen to those who have the relevant expertise – be it in your own IT department or at partner companies.