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Against the Wind: De-coupling technology in the age of omni-channel

(This is an edited version of an article originally submitted to the Eclipse User Group October 2014 Newsletter)

Nearly 24 years ago, I rode my motorcycle each morning from a small apartment on Martha’s Vineyard to an office where I wrote code all day. It was in that small office that version 1 of Eclipse was born. I’m reminded of the Bob Seger song as I think back to those days: “It seems like yesterday, but it was long ago”.

The song continues: “Found myself surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends, found myself further and further from my home”. The worlds of 1991 and 2014 are very different. Then there were no cellphones, few personal computers and no internet. Today, Eclipse finds itself “surrounded by strangers” as our devices and eCommerce itself interact with a structure put in place long ago.

An ERP is focused on your enterprise, built to be your ONLY technology provider. In today’s world, that does not work. Eclipse users (and the entity that owns Eclipse or any ERP system) need to embrace the concept of an “enterprise suite”. Meaning your technology ecosystem will be from a number of different providers.

But when do you de-couple from the ERP? What should be the responsibility of the different providers? Business intelligence (BI) is a logical de-coupling. I strongly advise you to choose a BI provider that works with other ERP systems as well as Eclipse, because if they only work with Eclipse, they will eventually have to charge you more. Their consumption capacity is tied to Eclipse users: growth can only come from increased charges to that set of users.

I believe you need to de-couple from your omni-channel (eCommerce and native mobile applications). Find one provider to power your websites and native mobile applications (especially those used by your customer). Make sure this provider works with other ERPs. Just like Eclipse became stronger by serving more than one micro-vertical (plumbing, electrical, etc.), your omni-channel technology provider is stronger by working with more than one ERP system, such as Eclipse, P21, InforSXe, JD Edwards, SAP.
In your omni-channel journey you must have what we call the three-legged stool to support your business:

  • The Fuel – A strategy for building enriched product data (I recommend off shore)
  • The Art – A digital marketing strategy
  • The Platform – A PIM, CMS, search, and commerce (cart) system.

Please reach out to me at Unilog Content Solutions and see if I can give you shelter ‘Against the Wind’:
Joseph M. Bennett
M: 917-532-6789 | T: 201-825-6669 |


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