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Wednesday, August 5 • 16:00 - 16:30
Designing E-Commerce Organizations

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Commerce is arguably one of the dominant forces driving social change on a global scale today, and within this e-commerce represents a significant component.  The retail e-commerce ecosystem can be viewed as pivotal in this arena, providing a bridge between the evolution of service technology and service-driven social change. 

The past few years have seen enormous changes in the retail industry.  Customers now expect a seamless and consistent experience from a retailer or brand as they move between stores, computer, mobile devices and social media, potentially buying from one location and returning items to another, sometimes even across geographies. This can only be achieved with a shift from a traditional product-focus to a new customer-focus, a shift that has a powerful impact on entire organisations and business models.  Many branded manufacturers who previously only distributed wholesale are starting up direct-to-consumer operations, and retailers who previously only operated physical stores now have online shopping websites driving a significant proportion of their business.  More interestingly, new generation retailers are realising that customer-centricity can only be achieved with engaged and committed employees, and this is driving an emerging employee-centricity that, to my mind, constitutes a promising new force for change.

In parallel, e-commerce software providers are changing with the emergence of software-as-a-service and supporting business models.  Demandware is an interesting example of this, offering a revenue-share payment model to retailers that leads to an unusually strong business partnership where both parties’ goals are aligned around revenue growth.  Working with nearly 400 retailers worldwide, Demandware is in a good position to take a more systemic view of the dependencies between people, processes and technology, and is highly motivated to help its clients address their broader organizational challenges.  A core part of the offering is shared expertise and evolutionary learning across the client community, facilitated through formal events, clients self-organising, cross-client research, and  included consulting services.

In this context, I have been developing a consultancy programme to provide organisational design and change planning guidance tailored for ecommerce retailers.  An early need was to develop a common language that could allow for comparison across vastly different organisations, so that general lessons could be extracted.  For this purpose I developed a visual, high-level e-commerce process model canvas inspired by the business model canvas from Osterwalder et al.  A focus on process avoids many of the issues arising from differences in terminology, titles and roles, and differences in organisational composition and structure.  The canvas provides a framework for capturing and comparing different types of organisations, and for identifying both business and technology factors that influence how processes scale. 

The partnership context allows me to work iteratively with clients so that my tools evolve through practical use while being expanded and refined.  I have found the e-commerce process canvas to be valuable for framing wide-ranging discussions and exposing aspects of a situation that might not otherwise emerge.  I will show some examples of the canvas in use, and describe the types of conversation it stimulates. I will also outline some of the ways this programme might develop, and would welcome comments from other participants on challenges, pitfalls and opportunities of such programmes.


Presenter / Artist

Wednesday August 5, 2015 16:00 - 16:30 CEST
Stockholm 2 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

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