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More than half e-businesses planning to boost commerce technology spending

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More than half of ebusinesses are planning to increase their spending on commerce-related technology in the year ahead, according to a new report.

The Forrester Commerce Technology Investment and Platform Trends – 2013 report found 56% of ebusinesses planned to increase their spend on such technologies. Asked what their investment priorities were, ecommerce platforms, multichannel integration and web content management tools were each named by 52%, while 50% named customer relationship management tools and 48% mobile commerce platforms.

The study also found that replacing homegrown or outdated systems remained a priority. Almost a quarter of businesses said they were still using commerce solutions developed in house. However, some two-thirds of businesses questioned already had an ecommerce replatforming project underway or had recently made the transition, with the result that they had no plans to do so again.

Meanwhile 62% said omnichannel integration was a top priority for the year ahead, with other priorities including store inventory visibility, collect from store and ship from store.

“This sustained and solid growth in online revenues means many ebusiness leaders have the funds and backing to invest heavily in commerce technology,” said report author and Forrester analyst Peter Sheldon. “Across the board, retailers, consumer brands, and industrial suppliers alike are significantly bolstering their capital investment programs to ensure they stay at the forefront of digital innovation while ensuring that their online, fulfillment, and back-office systems are ready to scale for anticipated growth over the next five years.”

The study also found that the final decision to approve a project and funding was moving higher within organisations. Some 20% said the chief executive made the final decision, and 29% the ecommerce director or VP.

Sheldon also pointed to a key choice facing those decisionmakers. He said: “One of the biggest challenges facing ebusiness teams and their peers in IT is choosing between an assembled set of best of breed solutions from a variety of different vendors or making strategic bets with a few vendors to reduce integration complexity, lower total cost of ownership.”

But, he said, while the right choice will be different for each, retailers should bear in mind that, on the one hand, best-of-breed might be overkill and a now-independent vendor of the solution might well be bought by a larger company in years to come. On the other hand, he warned, integrated solutions are often not as integrated as might be expected.

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