February - 2016 - issue > In My Opinion

The Changing Landscape of eCommerce and Challenges for CIOs and CMOs

Ajit Sivadasan
VP/GM Global eCommerce-Lenovo
Monday, February 1, 2016
Ajit Sivadasan
In a world defined by internet ubiquity, eCommerce, is arguably the most impactful and transformative business model we have witnessed in over a 100+years. Today eCommerce is a way of life, in fact, many of the ideas are remarkably simple, relying on the ability to leverage the power of networks, always on connectivity and cheap computing power. The sheer scale and size of the transactions are astounding. Alibaba, the Chinesee Commerce powerhouse, transacted over $9B in online sales on a single day on Singles day (11/11), there are other examples in Flipkart in India or Amazon in the US. This discussion is focused on the impact of eCommerce on the traditional business specifically in how it affects the roles of the Chief Marketing Officers(CMO) and Chief Information Officers(CIO) in terms of their ability to support their company's eCommerce related mandates.

What is driving change?

The eCommerce explosion has been aided by a set of very powerful global drivers. In order to properly examine the implications, it would be prudent to understand these drivers. These change drivers are predominantly rooted in macroeconomics, technology or organizational culture. Here is a list to consider relevant to our discussion.

• Large economies are driving internet adoption at an astounding rate largely aided by countries like India and China, countries where internet adoption and innovation has been picking up steadily, it appears we are approaching inflection points. The adoption will be marked by broader programs that impact society as a whole like the open source movement, the world of crowd sourcing and crowd funding, micro lending and financing to name a few.

• The network effect of digital, social and mobile is impacting how brands connect with their customers. For the first time in a long time customers control the power in the equation, causing brands to pay attention to how they communicate and manage their customer relationships. Thanks to the network effect, we can reach 80% of the world's population in 20% of the time. Packaged experiences are giving way to continuous experiential engagements.

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