Connect 2019: bd2's e-commerce partner Datel's Conference
Datel are the largest Sage business partner in the UK and are widely recognised as the 'Rolls Royce' at Enterprise level - Sage X3, Sage 1000 and Sage 200 implementations and support. This was underlined by Sabby Gill, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Sage UK and Ireland, at Datel's excellent 'Connect 2019' conference held at The Chesford Grange Hotel, just outside Warwick. Sabby, who has been in post for just over 9 months, was keen to highlight the importance of their long and highly successful business partnership as was Datel's owner and Executive Chairman Alan Simpson, who opened the event and welcomed delegates.
The principle of collaboration and partnering is one we're also committed to and, whilst it's not on the same scale as Datel and Sage's, we're very proud to have been Datel's approved e-commerce partner for over 20 years. During this time we've partnered with Datel on numerous e-commerce, integration and bespoke development projects for clients such as Yokohama Tyres, Caudwell Group, Burberrry and Bunzl Group. We continue to work closely with Datel on ongoing projects for clients including Ralawise, Wax Lyrical, LG Harris and Boodles. We're also currently talking to a number of existing Datel clients about new e-commerce platforms which will hopefully lead to further collaboration.
Through our longstanding partnership, we've built excellent working relationships with key members of Datel's R&D and development teams as well as the Account Managers who look after the customers and The Project Managers who we liaise with typically on a daily basis during an implementation. Alongside these relationships, we've built in-depth knowledge of the various Sage business management systems their customers use. The combination of these relationships, along with our accumulated knowledge and experience, enable us to develop e-commerce solutions that integrate with the Sage ERP and CRM systems that Datel implement and support.
By integrating web front-ends with back-end systems, via either Datel's APIs or sometimes bespoke APIs we've built, data is transferred seamlessly between the two. Typically the website 'pulls' data such as live stock, customer specific prices and customer account information from the ERP, and then 'pushes' orders back for processing and fulfillment. Integrated systems significantly reduce the amount of manual intervention required, in terms of handling inquiries or orders, by giving the user the information they need to effectively 'self serve', obviously this leads to considerable efficiency gains and a better user experience.
One of the speakers at Connect, Jennifer Warawa, Sage Executive Vice President in the US, stressed the importance of users when thinking about technology in her talk on digital transformation. We'd certainly echo her sentiment that our consumer experiences set our business expectations; As we all use technology and the internet as consumers pretty much hour to hour, or at least not day to day, we expect a really excellent user experience otherwise we just click away somewhere else. In B2B scenarios, where there is a tied commercial relationship, just clicking away isn't always an option, but when a competitor provides a better solution, it can become one.
As business users we now expect our online experiences to be as friction free as our B2C experiences, which places a heavy emphasis user-led design. This can be a challenge as typical B2B transactions can be much more complex. As consumers we're usually buying one or two items at once, whereas B2B can be hundreds or thousands of lines in a single order with live stock availability and specific pricing - either account or volume break point discounts - critical. We believe it's this expectation of an excellent user experience that has been a significant driver as more of Datel's customers look at moving away from 'out of the box' e-commerce systems to more user-friendly websites with bespoke user interfaces and functionality that does what they need it to do.
As a minor aside, we've also worked for Datel on their brand identity creating the logo, secondary language [the triangles motif] and strapline. It was great to see these being used very effectively at Connect which was a strongly branded Datel event.