How Distributors Make the Most of Technology
The focus has shifted from implementing to perfecting the electronic tools now in place.
Businesses unwilling to alienate significant subsets of their customer base have added offering e-commerce to that list of things one simply must do in life. And not unlike their mission statements, the chosen solutions must be uniquely suited to the organizations and support their fundamental marketplace objectives.
Here, three technology solution providers discuss their products, and some of the ways e-commerce and online management are enhancing business efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Contributors include Darren Atkinson, CTO for FormScape, Morrisville, N.C., Dave Clark, director of product marketing for PureEdge, Victoria, BC, Canada, and Chris Colbert, industry marketing director for Firstlogic, La Crosse, Wis.
All three gentlemen agreed that companies and their customers are increasingly more comfortable conducting business electronically, and that the Web has become the preferred strategy for delivering faster, better service. Said Clark, "E-commerce is a pain killer that enables companies to reduce costs and speed time to market."
Colbert pointed out that organizations of all sizes are learning new software programs. "Technology has leveled the playing field, allowing even small companies to have a large Web presence," he said.
Atkinson noted that lower costs are enabling smaller companies to be more proactive regarding technology. "With the old EDI standards, the cost of entry was prohibitive," he explained, "but costs are lower with open standards like XML, and it's leading to more widespread use."
For most companies, the foundations for technology solutions have already been laid. And now, Atkinson reported, they're seeking to optimize their IT spending by enhancing the electronic tools' effectiveness—something that's becoming easier for software providers to help them accomplish.
As Clark explained, "All the different technology solutions out there can be difficult to integrate, but most systems today are designed toward integration with each other." He said that when customers look to modernize workflow processes, they typically begin with core-critical business and related operations to get the most of every dollar.