Executive's Corner

Debunking the Control Myth: IT Professionals at Major Retailers Re-evaluate Cloud Technology

Jon Marsella / 4 min read

Ecommerce has matured in many important ways in the last decade.

Compared to where we are now, ecommerce was still in its infancy when I founded Jasper PIM—a SaaS-based product information management (PIM) platform—in 2006.

Commercial ecommerce platforms were really unsophisticated, so a lot of merchants were developing their own systems to solve their online shopping problems.

These days, the industry has consolidated and matured.

There are now great ecommerce platforms and related innovative technologies that seemed futuristic just a few years ago.

In fact, we’ve come so far that we’re starting to see the industry consolidate.

Some of the SaaS players are putting more unified solutions together, so merchants have better and better ecommerce platform options without having to make big investments.

New and exciting solutions are emerging all the time, so now I find that I spend a lot of my time educating large enterprise merchants on the most efficient ways to run their business and get the most out of ecommerce.

Many of our customers had big, sophisticated back-office systems such as:

  • Oracle
  • SAP
  • MS Dynamics

These brands were used to being in control of on-premise solutions. And further, their IT departments wanted a certain amount of control.

Leadership certainly didn’t want to have what they perceived to be a dependency on siloed SaaS platforms.

But it’s a common misconception that you don’t have a lot of control on SaaS platforms.

The reality is that many of today’s SaaS platforms are equipped to handle extensive customization.

In fact, while on-premise platforms used to be the top choice for companies seeking customization and control, many are now switching to SaaS solutions to meet the majority of their business needs.

Let’s talk about why that is.

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The New, Much-Improved Role of IT Professionals in Retail

Innovative SaaS-based ecommerce platforms are getting more sophisticated all the time.

In just the past five years, these platforms have become considerably more robust and now offer all of the tools and features enterprise merchants need to serve their customers and run their business more effectively.

They also integrate better with the systems large enterprises use on the back-end.

That entire solution set empowers enterprises to start using SaaS platforms. And not just shopping cart platforms, but other SaaS technologies as well.

You can still have your secure back-office environment that is 100% protected while having a lot more flexibility and fluidity on the front-end.

What I see in the industry is this need for enterprises to have more lightweight SaaS back-office systems that are connected with a really malleable front-end shopping environment.

SaaS platform providers like Jasper and BigCommerce are synergistic and play well together, so now large businesses can launch unified ecommerce solutions that are tightly integrated.

This is The Modern Cloud Technology Stack

From a control perspective, many of our large enterprise customers have come to the realization that they still have a good measure of control over all of their systems while also achieving accountability.

Large merchants have a massive need to go to market quickly and to be constantly innovating, and SaaS solutions give them the freedom to do that.

Their IT and back-office teams are starting to identify some really great platform solutions that they don’t have to host themselves, but that are still secure and far less expensive to implement and maintain.

When they get on board with SaaS, the IT team no longer has to be seen as a company’s technology debt center.

They can be part of a company’s innovation strategy and help lead their digital transformation.

Rather than having to control one behemoth back-end system, IT gains control by helping to select and maintain best-of-breed systems that are integrated and work together perfectly.

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A Business Control Center Everyone Can Agree On

Jasper recently teamed up with BigCommerce to integrate our PIM solution for Skullcandy, a popular personal audio equipment brand that specializes in wireless headphones, earbuds, and speakers.

Jasper PIM is now Skullcandy’s single source of truth for product data.

It’s essentially the company’s control center, keeping a constantly updating record of all product and marketing data and pushing product information out to several marketplaces and localized international sites.

In addition to achieving a central source of truth with Jasper PIM, Skullcandy can rapidly connect to multiple markets and easily manage multiple languages and currencies.

The solution has empowered Skullcandy to get new markets up and running very quickly.

They have a robust back-end system that manages their product data and a flexible, nimble front-end with a great design that has been really successful at attracting and converting customers.

Our Skullcandy implementation is a great example of commerce-as-a-service, where ecommerce is integrated into an immersive content experience.

The site is focused on all of this great content, but it’s combined with a fully customizable store that empowers the marketing team.

The ecommerce platform is really like a cog in a much larger wheel.

The IT team still has the control they need, but now they have the systems in place to ensure that the business is running efficiently and profitably.

Invest Now to Future-Proof Your Tech Stack

If you’re still on the fence when it comes to making the leap into SaaS platforms, I challenge you to invest in the systems, people, processes, and technology that can take your business to new heights.

Invest in new technology. Evaluate, test, and test some more. Take calculated risks. Iterate quickly. Just go for it.

There are so many exciting things happening in the world of ecommerce right now, especially with regards to SaaS.

Consider your customers’ needs first and then try out SaaS solutions that can help you go to market quickly so you can give them an amazing shopping experience and keep them coming back for more world-class content and commerce.

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