Now that we have officially entered the New Year, many of us are taking time to reflect on the past 12 months – what we have accomplished and learned, and what we hope for in the days ahead. You undoubtedly are going through a similar exercise and more importantly, looking to set goals for your organization.
Some of us are still processing the acquisition of WebSphere Commerce by HCL from IBM. We are scanning the speculations in the newswires, attending webinars from IBM to glimpse the details of what is in the roadmap, looking for answers at conferences such as NRF, and reaching out to HCL if the opportunity presents itself.
There are a few confessions that FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) is in full swing, while others are looking for better answers with other platforms.
If you feel like you are stuck (and this is not a good emotional state to be in for a long time), this is for you: how to transition out of your current state of unsureness and helpless mindset, to an empowered being that can usher his or her organization forward into a state of happiness.
You need to shift your mindset. You need to think about setting goals. It’s exciting to set goals. Our brains literally light up when we envision a brighter future. We feel empowered by the possibility of making a change or accomplishing something significant.
Setting a goal is easy; achieving it can be quite difficult. We are all busy and there are a lot of distractions and obligations competing for our time.
What’s the secret to actually achieving your goals and making real change in your organization?
There are three things you need to do to ensure success:
- Set goals
- Create a 90-day action plan
- Establish a support system
Step One: Set Goals
eCommerce has a bright future. eCommerce enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2018, with global sales revenues estimated to have reached $2.8 trillion, according to Statista. So, if you already have an eCommerce focus, congratulate yourself, as you will continue to play a critical role in your organization’s digital strategy.
How can you take your eCommerce strategy to the next level? Only by providing the best customer experience. If providing the best customer experience is your strategy, what are the goals?
These goals should be challenging, achievable, measurable, time-bound and future-focused. Here are some examples to get you started.
Challenging – Your goal will require you to stretch in order to achieve it. Not to the extent that it causes undue anxiety, but enough that it creates pressure for you to act.
How about evaluating new eCommerce platforms for your organization? This idea might have crossed your mind quickly when the IBM/HCL transaction was announced. Is this the right time for you to switch platforms when there is so much uncertainty in the economy? Think clearly about your current application and map the business goals to the capabilities that your platform already has. Maybe the features are there and available to you and you may have overlooked it?
Achievable – Your goal must be realistic, not merely idealistic. If it’s too difficult, you are more likely to give up.
A suggestion may be to focus on the mobile market for your product or services. Is your website mobile-friendly? Is it responsive? Let’s make sure the site renders well on mobile devices. This is even a more critical issue when you have a combination of brick-and-mortars and an online store; more shoppers will use their devices while they are in your store to comparison shop, get coupons, and purchase.
A similar suggestion may be to improve page load time for your application to keep mobile shoppers engaged. How about achieving an average of a 2 second load time on every page to allow for more conversions and revenue?
Measurable – You need to assign tangible metrics to your goal to help you stay on track and know when you have achieved it. Milestones also enable you to acknowledge progress along the way, which is crucial to keeping you focused in the long run.
A good example is tracking conversion rate. I am sure you know your conversion rate and you’re tracking it regularly. How about increasing conversion rate by half of a point?
Time-bound – You should set a timeline for achieving your goal and stick to it. Deadlines provide a sense of urgency and positive pressure to take action in a timely manner.
First and foremost on our mind is the migration to WCS V8 or V9 by April 2020.
What is the difference between 8 and 9? If you are comfortable with on-prem, then stay on V8. If you are open to cloud and want to leverage the new features such as cognitive search, chat-bots, and the cognitive promotion engine, then you need to be on V9. V9 will have the longest shelf life as it will include a single code base with the IDC (SaaS) version of WCS.
Future-focused – A goal should help you move forward, and not focus on the past. This allows your brain to think positively and productively about what could be, rather than dwelling on what might have been. We are less likely to strive toward a goal when we are filled with regret or anger.
In our context of WebSphere Commerce, think about taking advantage of Micro-services to enable commerce on new channels, separating your front-end from your back-end for faster time-to-market, or adding a chat bot to your site for free. How about creating a new channel to generate a new revenue stream for your company? Social medial channels such as, Instagram are the new selling platform. Are you leveraging the power of good content and your community to make your products known and loved.
So by the end of this exercise, you should pick 1 goal that you think is the best candidate before going onto the next step.
Stay tuned for the next part of our 90 Road Map series! We will cover creating the 90 day action plan and establishing a support system to make it happen!
Make Change Happen.
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