Interactive Workshop Helps Attendees Simplify the Vendor Selection Process
On June 17-18, Catalog Success and F. Curtis Barry & Co. co-presented the first Evaluating, Selecting and Implementing Direct Commerce Systems interactive workshop in Richmond, Va.
The success of this intimate event — we drew 50 percent more attendees than we had planned on — represents an exciting, fresh beginning for both of our organizations, one that could easily lead to greater rewards down the road for us, and most of all, for attendees.
For this edition of The Corner View, I asked Curt Barry to give his expert synopsis of the key issues that were addressed during the conference. As he points out, much of the two-day session was devoted to the changing vendor landscape and the functionality attendees wanted most. Here’s Curt’s take on some of their challenges and highlights.
“I can’t believe there isn’t one system that fully integrates everything and supplies,” was the mantra among many companies. Everyone wants this to be a reality. Enterprise resource planning vendors will try to convince you this is possible with their systems. While they’ve made some inroads into the direct industry, the best way to be totally sure is to do detailed systems requirements and develop a request for proposal (RFP).
Then match off the RFP requirements to vendor responses, results of demonstrations and other matters relevant to a contract. This is the only way to see what the application fit is.
A representative from a large multichannel marketer in attendance said that his company was selecting key vendors and working solely with them to service all the brands in the enterprise. Best of breed is probably a reality for this operation.
A positive solution to not being able to develop all functionality into a single system is that e-commerce vendors are developing partnerships with accounting and finance systems, retail store systems, address verification, warehouse management systems for larger businesses, business intelligence, and others. At risk is that they may not be designed to be integrated together. So it may not be as seamless as you’d hope.