CoreMedia Response to Forrester Content and Commerce Report
- Doug Heise Vice President, Global Marketing
- Jun 17, 2014
In their recent report, “Commerce And Content: The Odd Couple Or The Power Couple?,” Peter Sheldon and Stephen Powers of Forrester Research, Inc. do an excellent job of describing the challenges faced by companies seeking to increase cross-channel consistency and deliver improved commerce experiences.
An Integrated Approach Is Critical
The authors stress the importance of pursuing an integrated approach for delivering rich, contextual experiences throughout the digital customer life cycle and describe three different models for integrating e-Commerce and WCM systems:
- Side-by-side (hybrid) approach: each system is independently responsible for managing a portion of the visitor experience. Consistency is ensured by a lightweight integration that includes single sign-on, shared templates and synchronization (i.e. copying) of customer data and profiles
- WCM-led approach: the WCM system owns the experience and the e-Commerce platform acts a service layer that the WCM platform consumes
- E-Commerce-led approach: the e-Commerce system owns the experience with the WCM system acting merely as an integrated content repository
CoreMedia agrees with the findings in this report and views it as a useful guide for companies looking to evaluate their own requirements and technological maturity. We also believe that CoreMedia LiveContext 2.0, represents a fourth approach that leverages the strengths of all three of Forrester’s proposed approaches and allows customers to implement them in a low risk, incremental manner.
CoreMedia Blended Hybrid Integration: Real-time, "Importless" Integration
Our “Blended Hybrid” integration seeks to bring the best of the “Commerce First” and “Content First” approaches together by ensuring each system manages and delivers the most appropriate portion of the online experience. It also provides far greater flexibility for the teams involved and deeper real-time integration than is possible with any of the other approaches.
The two systems are linked by a common set of REST APIs and a blended publishing model that allows business users to combine real-time product data with branded content at run-time to deliver truly converged content and commerce experiences. This blended publishing model is one of the distinguishing characteristics of our approach and can only be accomplished with an object-based content management system like CoreMedia that is able to separate content from presentation and business logic.
And, unlike some integration approaches, where content must be copied from one system to the other and “synchronized” to keep the experience consistent, our approach is based on a real-time, “importless” integration of product data, which means that pricing and inventory levels are always up-to-date — transparently and instantly.
To facilitate a seamless hand-off between the browsing experience and checkout, CoreMedia LiveContext utilizes a sophisticated session management protocol to ensure that user session data is shared between the systems.
The true beauty of this blended hybrid approach is that it puts the power back in the hands of the company’s digital marketing and e-Commerce teams. They can decide which model works best for their organization and corporate culture. They decide when it makes sense for the e-Commerce system to lead, when to put the WCM system in the driver’s seat, and when a truly blended experience is most appropriate.
This approach provides the flexibility needed to support a variety of requirements and two primary models:
- Commerce-driven: Companies with large, complex product catalogs and basic marketing requirements can use CoreMedia LiveContext to augment an existing Web store. Our platform allows these users to embed CoreMedia — and third party — content as “widgets” in an existing IBM store template using WebSphere’s Commerce Composer UI. These widgets can be as small as a single teaser or as large as an entire page or microsite
- Content-Driven: Companies with a strong brand and a global, multi-touchpoint marketing presence can use CoreMedia LiveContext to bring blended experiences and dedicated e-Commerce functionality (shopping cart, check out, product catalog, etc.) into their marketing sites and apps.
Incremental Innovation Allows Companies to "Grow as You Go"
Another critical benefit of this approach is that is allows every company to move at their own pace and in the manner that most suits their market and business strategy. This focus on “incremental innovation” helps to overcome another challenge cited by the report’s authors: the need to evolve a company’s integration maturity over multiple phases to avoid “biting off more than they can chew.”
CoreMedia LiveContext can be initially deployed without a huge investment or re-working of the existing Commerce store or WCM system. It is designed to augment the existing shop and Web functionality, rather than requiring a “rip-and-replace” of existing technologies and processes. Yet, this same implementation can easily migrate to a broader implementation. It is an evolutionary process, and CoreMedia supports companies at every stage of their growth.
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