Last week it was announced that hybris, a leading provider of multichannel commerce and communication software was partnering with Wipro Technologies, the Global Information Technology, Consulting and Outsourcing business of Wipro Limited. This partnership will allow the two organisations to offer a comprehensive suite of e-commerce and multichannel commerce solutions to businesses, retailers and service providers across all major geographies and into new industries including financial services, transport, government and public sector and energy.
This announcement illustrates the opportunities that are being gained from the continued growth in e-commerce, which according to a recent Forrester report² is achieving double-digit growth rates year on year in North America and Western Europe. In other parts of the world it is growing even more quickly, representing an important opportunity for many businesses and vertical industries. This is largely due to the pervasive web connectivity now seen amongst consumers, increasing consumer familiarity with, and preference for, online shopping (and the subsequent cannibalisation of store shopping), best-in-class shopping experiences, even in the long term, and new online shopping models such as flash sales, which have generated excitement and grown rapidly. US ecommerce is expected to reach $304 billion (US) in 2015.
Financial industries, in particular insurance and banking, are not immune to the impact and opportunity of these trends and, in addition, as customer preferences for using smart phones and tablets increases, so financial companies need to quickly transform their distribution channels into multi-touch point customer experiences supported by agile commerce platforms if they are to benefit from the advantages these changes offer.
In a Trends report² published in April this year and focused on the insurance industry, Forrester states that digital technologies and customer’s desire for transparent insurance companies are driving the changes in how customers research and buy insurance products. As part of this trend, Forrester expects to see a greater use of self-service channels, which allow customers to take more control of the sales process. This includes an increase in online research and online purchasing which is growing fastest amongst the younger generations and a move towards using mobile and smart phones plus tablet devices as the preferred means of engagement.
Forrester’s advice is that insurance businesses now have to be fast and transparent, anathema to the conservative, risk-averse nature of insurers. Agility is the driving factor for next-generation insurance companies. The fast pace of technology change will make the digital agenda and the corresponding organisation a top priority for insurance companies in the coming years.
Rolling out e-commerce in Financial Services
Implementing commerce technology is becoming ever more complex as retailers and service providers aim to support multichannel roll-outs across all regions, meeting the expectations of customers at the different touchpoints. Jayakrishnan Sasidharan, Vice President, Wipro Technologies, said “We are seeing high growth in e-commerce as it represents a significant opportunity for brands and organisations with products or services to sell. Moreover, as e-commerce extends to support customer touch-points it will impact significantly on business at all levels. It is crucial, therefore, that customers are well supported by the platform that they use. The hybris e-commerce platform is particularly robust, helping customers to implement integrated solutions for multi touch-point experiences. The extension of our partnership with hybris helps us to maximise increased opportunities and ensure we are providing best in class solutions to our global clients.”
Wipro, which will become a Global Gold Level Partner to hybris, delivers global reach and industry knowledge to a vast customer base. Coupled with hybris’ leading edge software this will enable customers to confidently adopt multichannel commerce for growth in key industries like retail, banking and insurance and also help evangelize success from multichannel solutions in new sectors.
Importance of service provision
This is crucial, according to Forrester, which points out that the stakes are high, and e-business leaders need strategic partners. In the Forrester Wave™: Global Commerce Service Providers, Q1 2012³ Report it says that not only does the implementation of a commerce platform and related technologies require a
host of technical integrations, but these projects often involve rethinking and designing a cross-touch point
customer experience. The integrations have to take into account the platform’s effect on the company’s overall business strategies, processes, and operations.
ArielLüdi, CEO at hybris, comments: “There is so much for companies to consider when they are implementing ecommerce technology. The situation can become very complicated unless the integration partner has a clear understanding of the strategy and the end vision, and how that can be married with the capabilities of the platform. We recognise the importance of establishing strong partnerships with companies like Wipro, which has a wide and proven range of capabilities. They understand not only how the technology behind agile commerce works, but how it will be used by organisations and the impact it will have on their customer relationships.”
hybris is in a constant process of building and strengthening its channel of systems integrators, recognising that organisations increasingly select the service provider before they select the platform. “Previously, we were approached to demonstrate our commerce platform before an integration partner was even considered,” said Lüdi. “However, this is changing, and organisations are recognising that the design, configuration, architecture and integration of the platform are crucial in determining the long-term success of an ecommerce project.
Of the recent partnership announcement, Lüdi commented: “Wipro has an established reputation for excellence in a number of vertical markets, and we are very enthusiastic about the industry insights and implementation expertise in large scale projects particularly in theB2B space. This will be a valuable opportunity for both our companies to grow our business, implementing leading edge solutions to global corporations.”
¹Forrester Research, Inc., US Online Retail Forecast, 2011 To 2016, February 27, 2012,
²Forrester Research, Inc., Trends 2012: European Insurance eBusiness and Channel Strategy, April 11, 2012
³Forrester Research, Inc.,The Forrester Wave™: Global Commerce Service Providers, Q1 2012, February 24, 2012.