Can B2B Commerce help business software vendors transition to a direct-to-consumer model

Business software vendors like Sage, Microsoft, SAP and most others are slowly growing their direct-to-consumer model. It just so happens that these consumers are businesses.

A few of the factors driving this shift includes:

  • Consumer experience – businesses are run by people and the experiences that these people have had with their consumer purchases is driving their perception and expectation of business transacting.
  • Technology - it is much easier today for a vendor to deliver a rich experience through new technology like SaaS and mobile.
  • Revenue and margins – these new technologies open the opportunity to migrate existing customers and to attract new customers into recurring revenue models, which deliver substantial margins.

However, to continue to deliver enhanced functionality and high levels of local services, it is essential that the vendor keep their current ecosystem of value added resellers and independent software vendors (“ISVs”) engaged. Were this not to happen, the vendor’s business could be substantially negatively affected.

To deliver a direct-to-consumer model and at the same time deliver a consistent experience for the customer and keep the ecosystem fully engaged is going to add substantial demands on the systems used by software vendors as legacy systems generally do not have the features needed to achieve this.

Consider that if a customer needs a SaaS solution that comprises the vendor product plus two ISV products to build a solution and they are using a reseller to assist with the project to take the system live.

Then, if a suitable system is not in use by the vendor, the customer would need to make purchase decisions on multiple websites, have 3 different recurring billing transactions (if the ISVs have acceptable systems as well!) and have 3 different payment transactions. What about the reseller that is entitled to a commission on the sale?

This would negatively affect the customer experience and the ISVs and resellers.

A new breed of B2B e-commerce solution that provides high levels of features to manage the relationships with customers and partners and to execute the transactions would go a long way to help transition the entire ecosystem across to the new model – this could be termed Business-Commerce™.

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