Once again, we cannot emphasize enough: omnichannel success represents a set of business capabilities—it is not a system, nor is it an ‘IT project.’ Many omnichannel initiatives seem to initially focus on systems and technology. While these enablers are indeed important, we cannot stress enough not to let the tail wag the dog. The business needs and capability priorities should lead the way, with enabling technologies following suit. CIOs, you are welcome.
While your enterprise may eventually need a more complete omni platform over time, building too much too soon may either limit your flexibility down the road or drive changes that don’t support your business strategy and requirements. Further, hitting the gas too hard will likely necessitate some ‘undoing’ of business processes, systems, interfaces, and/or integrations down the road—all of which take resources away from higher priority projects.
After the capability needs and priorities are defined, at the appropriate level of detail and with a cross-functional view, it is now the time to dig into the technology needs and implications. Work across your business and IT teams to create options for supporting these capabilities, either with extensions to existing systems, additional integration, and/or by selecting new solutions. Again, with a roadmap, the proper priorities and sequencing should start to become apparent.