Calm posable Commerce Soothing the Storms of Commerce Platforms

All right. Then I think we're good to start. Hello. Welcome, everybody. My name is Paul Britzke, and with me I have Harry van Rossum, my colleague from the Netherlands. And maybe one of the reasons we're doing this session in English and not in German.

See a lot of faces, around six new faces, two colleagues and partners that we've met. And we're going to talk today about composable commerce, soothing the storms of commerce platforms. And that's just a little wordplay we did with composable commerce. There's a lot of sessions here at Print Day

on composable commerce. And we wanted to twist that around a bit and give a perspective, our perspective, on this topic, and talk a bit about commerce projects, where they go wrong, what we can do better. Then, as I said, Harry with me from the Netherlands,

country manager, Benelux. You've worked at Sidecore, Bloomreach, ContentServe. All kinds of players. Where haven't you worked? Microsoft. Not yet. No. And your quote is, people should ask themselves, is this technology, that functionality, really needed?

And what's the price for it? Can you elaborate? I've been in sales and in consultancy roles with customers over the last 20 years. And I tend to see a lot of choices made.

I doubt if they are made for the right decisions. Yes, we can do this, and that, and that, and that. And then if you ask them, OK, so what are you going to be doing with it? And what are you trying to achieve with it? Let's take an example of the word headless. And now of composable.

It's a lot of vibe around it. And I think that a lot of companies are not really looking into an ROI or the business value that comes out of it. I'm not saying that it's not good. But I'm saying that we need to do our homework for that

in order to get the most out of it. And I think that, yeah, what Paul said, we are the odd one out here because we're an e-commerce vendor. And there's no commerce vendors here. There's some PIM vendors. And everything else is around print. So you might ask, what? Why here?

But if I heard the keynote correctly this morning, it basically what the customer is trying to do with his catalog and personalizing it and building out big catalogs and small catalogs. That's what e-commerce has been doing over the last 20 years

online. So there's a lot of, in my sense, a lot of interaction and a lot of cohesion between the two channels. And it comes down to, in order to do that, to have a correct product data. And that's also what they said.

So PIM is important. So what is it that we do? And the road that we want to take you with you in those 45 minutes or 40 minutes is, OK, how do we deliver this to our customers? Because we are a commerce PIM online solution

integrating with print. So I think that with that knowledge and that background, we want to share some things with you and see if we can give you ideas or if you say, what we have is OK. And that's basically the goal for today.

And we are not in a big group. So if you have questions in the middle, ask because I like the dialogue and to share experiences back and forth. Yeah. Thanks for setting the stage around a topic.

You said headless. You said, do you really need that functionality? And that also relates a bit to my quote that I brought. Commerce platforms should not overwhelm. They should empower, improve your business. And headless, that's what we hear in sales so much. Customers coming to us, do you support headless?

And it's been like that for the last three, four years. And we always ask, why? Why do you need headless? It's a neighbor who has it. It comes from marketing. The neighbor has it. Yeah, exactly. Shortly about me, I've introduced you. I sit in Berlin. I'm country manager at DACH.

I was working or first studying, then working, then dropped out of my master's. Started full time at Dynamic Web. My mom might say, it's a bad choice. My boss is happy. Then I moved to Berlin, where we opened our office last September. So that's where I'm now sitting. And Dynamic Web originally comes from Denmark.

So that's sitting two hours north of Flensburg in the second largest city in Denmark, Aarhus, where many of our colleagues still sit. The agenda, you talked a bit about what we're going to talk about. But yeah, mainly the bullet points. We're going to introduce you to the storms of commerce

platforms, the projects, the common frustrations, setbacks, why composable, which experience stack is right, and for who is it right, and what experience stack is right. And a bit about the journey of Dynamic Web, just because we've transitioned so much in the last six,

five, six years with the market, with the market trends, going from perpetual and on-premise to cloud and subscription, and the same with this whole composable architecture. Because we actually started out as a pure CMS, became a suite. So we're kind of on the opposite side.

But within the last years, we've, I would say, opened our doors and followed trends. Then we have some success stories, some successful Dynamic Web customers. And in the end, but as Harry says, just shout in between. Stop us. Ask us questions in between as well. Otherwise, we're going to have a small discussion in the end,

if we don't run out of time. Yeah. Yeah, we were sitting, prepping for today, and we were discussing, okay, so how do we build up this? You know, what do we run into? And I think that digital transformation is hard.

I think also what I've seen is that most e-commerce projects go either over budget, take too long, and when it's delivered, it's actually not doing what they were supposed to do. But if you're 18 months down the road, and your thoughts have developed over 18 months,

and the organization has developed over 18 months, and the markets of your customers have developed over 18 months, you might end up as a shipwreck. So I think that's also one of the things that are very important.

If you start commerce project, or PIM project for that matter, or personalization project is, okay, you say yes now, it's gonna take time before it's been delivered, and when you go live. And in the meantime, the world has changed.

So you need to try to forecast, and look down the line, look two years ahead, will it then still generate? Is it aligned with the organization? If I choose a best of breed solution, I get a lot of different vendors on board.

I get a lot of different players to help me realize my dream on board. That could also bring in a political situation that when it is failing, or it's not bringing you what you wanted, we're starting to point fingers.

It's reality. And we see that in simple projects as well. So we work a lot with Dynamics ERP partners, Dynamics ERPs, and even there we see it. Who's to blame, what goes wrong, when it's on the integration. So when shit hits the fan, that's really when that political complexity comes more.

Yeah, definitely. But that's all organization-wise. On the technical part, the more different tools that you bring on board might bring a lot of integration challenges with it,

because they need to connect together. You need to be able, as a company, you need organization, you need to rely on the business data that comes out of it. And as the company changes, integrations change, and can you still rely on that?

So that's a topic that is definitely, should be high on the agenda. And that also basically uses a discussion point, should we go for all different kinds of vendors, or should we go look more into a business suite,

all-in-one solution? Because that is where a entire stack is built up from the ground in one architecture, in one structure, and you have less integrations. It has its pros and cons. When you go for a best-of-breed PIM,

a best-of-breed commerce, best-of-breed CMS, but in the end, it's exactly that many projects you have to manage, that many combined risks, partners to blame, who's supporting the solution when it's live. And the pros and cons, I think, will go in a bit later when we talk about which experience stack is right.

You brought some examples. Yeah, again, how do you make it, you get those, when you're in conferences and you see a keynote, sometimes you get those questions,

okay, look left and look right, and the company sitting on the left is not in business anymore after a couple of years. So I was looking, okay, so who missed the boat over the last couple of years? And our logos that we know, and Office Center is one of them.

They got acquired by Dutch investors out of Staples US because they were pushing it out a couple of years ago. They started with 32 stores. It was pre-corona. And that company basically missed the boat

on their digital transformation. They had a couple of solutions, big, expensive enterprise solutions within the organization. The fact is that those projects basically never became successful. And instead of the board being able to focus

on the digital transformation, they chose to expand and acquire the 51 stores of Staples in Germany. And yeah, this is basically how sexy

and customer experience a store like Office Center looked and nobody wanted to go there. And yeah, basically during the corona, they fell through. It got rebooted again, of course, but they went belly up in that period.

Not the only one. You also brought Toys R Us. Yeah, Toys R Us is another one, but Dynamic Web is mostly focusing on B2B customers. So it's always hard to find the solutions that are actually B2B that resonate with our story.

But Toys R Us is also a nice example out of the US. Also, it's still in existence. But yeah, they just failed to see that the market around them were changing. The toy market went from one week to the other week

fully online and Toys R Us missed it. And you also have in the US examples of Best Buy with videos, that world changed and they failed to adopt to that point. So that's, yeah. And I also brought another one.

I think there's many examples and this is more to highlight really the importance or the benefits also of a composable architecture, not falling behind market trends as with these examples. Yesterday, there was a session of Retresco or in general, I think with the hype around chat GPT, that being a perfect example with the PIM system.

And if you have a architecture that gives you a flexible solution where you can integrate technology that comes up, creating product descriptions with chat GPT content, I think that's just an example of why you need to have a solution to stay flexible.

Gary Weber was one of them. They're still around, just like Office Center survives it but very late with digitalization. And there's many examples, Galleria, Quelle, I think, yeah. Household names that have basically left.

So why composable then? Yeah, that's a big question. Why composable? There's a lot of... We want, the organization wants flexibility. That's understandable. You wanna be able to take out parts

and put in other parts of the solution, being it if you wanna do things on social media or an omnichannel, you need to be able to follow your market or stay close to the market. So I guess composable is definitely important. I think you should also look from a fact that,

okay, am I as an organization ready for composable? Do I have a... What composable is? Just one. Yeah. Yeah, it's... Yeah, maybe if I take this apart,

that's composable. All the different parts are composable. Yeah, that's... I think that is how we're looking at it right now, or how the market is looking at it. Can I sit on a chair without the legs underneath it? No, but yeah. Different components.

Different components. And then the question is that, that's where we start off with, if you ask a customer and they say, yeah, we want composable, what do you wanna get out of it? Basically the same question that you're asking.

And then a lot of people are saying, well, because the market is yelling composable. Yeah. But have you thought about the, what do you get out of it? That's... And I think that nine out of 10 times that question remains unanswered.

Yeah, and we do have another slide, of course. So as I mentioned, flexibility, not falling behind market trends, typically easily to modify, add or remove components. If you choose dynamic web, for instance, do you need a PIM? Do you choose another PIM? What CMS do you use?

In a way, vendor independence of choosing different experience stacks, different components, tools, not being completely reliant on one partner. Simplification, although that's questionable, I guess, but at least when it comes to integration services,

it can simplify your landscape. Also, when you look forward to six, seven years. But that's also what the problems are, because it's a simplification, but if I have different parts, I think that the example that I always used is

if I would take two, well, let's say two German people, take one out of Hamburg and one out of Bayern and put them in one room, I think there's a lot of, yes, they can talk to each other, but there's a lot of sweet things in it

that doesn't help in the communication. So for me, that is definitely not simplifying a situation like that. I think with the example of the chair, let's say you started with that chair when you were little, when your business was smaller, you only needed small legs and your business grows.

You grow, you need a bigger chair. Can you then, do you need to buy a new chair? Well, in a non-composable architecture, you probably would. Or you just take that part apart, get longer legs for that chair, and by that, stay flexible. Scalability, I think that is

one of the biggest arguments as well. Being able to expand, what if you want to move into print? What if you want to combine that omni-channel experience with print? Getting catalogs, catalog production in it as well. Yeah.

Then, yeah, I think the example I gave with chatGBT, the importance of print and omni-channel communication as in the keynote we've seen this morning. Just being able to adapt to a rapidly changing environment, not falling behind,

staying up-to-date with market trends. So, which experiences? Here comes the answers. That's a- One answer only. No, that depends on the organization. I always tend to come back to that.

Do you have an organization? What's your future? Do you have a sense of where do you want to go and then adopt to what you need? And that could either be, because I have customers that do, in the Netherlands, 150, 200 million in revenue

on a yearly basis, B2B customer. Small, smaller, they're not as sexy as Heineken, because we all want to work there, but they have the same commerce online challenges as a carpet producer.

But a carpet producer as an organization, they are located in the Netherlands, in Genemuiden, of all places. And that's an environment that has all kinds of carpet manufacturers. It's not sexy enough for a lot of marketeers. But business-wise, they do 200 million a year.

So, it's an interesting customer, but those customers are not big enough for composable, best-of-breed solutions. They are much more helped with a suite solution. So, it is, you go to Heineken,

yes, composable is the way to go, but if you look at a different vendor, different B2B organization, a suite does fit much better. Things like that come into play.

Exactly, and customization, personalization, with a suite, you are, in a way, more limited. You start with a much higher starting point with the tools that suite gives you, but it also can reach a limit when you need to exchange things, want to scale, want to add components,

which, in a composable architecture, will be much easier to do. Technology partnership, we talked about it earlier. You said you don't like the word vendor lock-in, but in a way, you rely on a partner with a suite, but you also have one that you can blame,

that supports you. It's a standard response out of a customer. I don't want vendor lock-in, so I want composable. My response is, okay, so you have Microsoft, you have Office, you have Business Central as ERP, so you are a Microsoft house, yeah.

What is that not vendor lock-in? It's choosing a technology stack. Make sure that you have partners that support that technology stack and that solution, and that way, you can always generate a different relationship with a different partner.

In the end, the technology is the basis, and the partner makes the solution to fit your organization. So no, for me, it's not a vendor lock-in. Technology. It's a technology. Or reliable on one partner.

Total cost of ownership, time to market. Well, with a suite, you might implement, need to use much of the features, the tools that gives you, it can be a long project, but so can a composable. Same with the total cost of ownership. If you pay one license, one product,

and have all the tools you need. And what could be the payoff when you go composable? Well, if you look at Dynamic Web, we developed, we started in 99, and we went the route,

and we, of course, also embraced composable. So our stack consists of different parts that you can either use all together as a suite, or you could take out certain parts and put in other parts.

So yes, we fulfill the Mach Alliance goals. So we are able to fit in the bigger customers that want to dream on that composable stuff, and we fit on the customers that say,

look, I have a small IT company, or a small IT department, less marketing people, and I'm much more suited for a suite solution, because all the functionalities are in there to help. But we'll get there, yeah. And how was it with Dynamic Web, let's say, six, seven years ago, or with any other suite, all-in-one solution platform?

If five, six years, you outgrow, maybe just certain components. That brings you into a new project, having to start from scratch, right? I think that is where composable, or having a composable platform, can give higher flexibility. Integration, extensibility. Yeah, in a composable architecture,

you rely on pre-built APIs, microservices, while with a suite, it might give you some limitations, or at least you have to rely on certain standards. OData, as an example, where you can get really far with it. We started talking about the story of Dynamic Web,

just to give a bit of insights where we're from. We mentioned that in Denmark, we have offices in the US, Australia, Singapore, since last year in Berlin. How long have you been in Benelux? We have been operating in the Benelux, I think for about 15 years now. Yeah, I think in general, Scandinavia and North America,

those are our... When you look at also our customers that we have a slide with later, still really heavily influenced by that. Yeah, so if you look at the organization, the main markets that we're focusing on are the Nordics, the Benelux, the US, and we have enlarged that with the DACH region.

That's why we have opened a office in Berlin. We are putting food on the ground in the UK now, so we are expanding, but on a controllable manner. But we have customers in South America, in South Africa, and we have no partners there.

So it's not that... But all the white dots are basically where we have our own people on the ground. Exactly. And we started in 1999 as a actually pure CMS at the time, or at least in the first years with Sitecore. That's where many CMS come from, completely .NET-based.

We now moved to .NET, Core, started as CMS. Shortly later, added marketing, e-commerce, so that we really made a transition, right, with the first, basically, catalog. Customers asking us, oh, we want this catalog that we have

to be present on our website. That brought us into e-commerce. Historically, coming from Denmark, for the last 15, 17 years, we've been very close to Microsoft, very focused on Dynamics ERP solutions as well. So we added that part, integration,

standard components for all Dynamics ERPs. We added the PIM around six years ago. And that was also a bit before we moved into the cloud and subscription business, and went away from on-premise perpetual licenses. And in, yeah, four years ago,

you would implement Dynamic Web either by Core, building it up from scratch, use our pre-built components, Swift, what we call it, so you can create websites with Visual Editor, create a B2B shop, a B2C shop, brand shop, digital asset portal without knowing how to code. But yeah, as we said, we moved a bit with the market,

opened our eyes, customers that have demands. And we're now also able to implement Dynamic Web Headless, where we have an example to show you later of a fashion retailer in Iceland. And we now have a management API, which means anything you can do in the back end, you can also trigger from another system with the API.

And this looks a bit like pizza boxes, components. You said before, you can just take whatever you like apart. We have customers that only use our PIM. We have many customers that start with our PIM. Then, yeah, look at the e-commerce, because in the end, it's just building a front-end.

It's still one platform, but we're not dependent. Is it possible to have external solutions? For example, I use my own CMS instead of your CMS system. Yeah, that's possible. We can publish products from PIM in the CMS, or even completely headless.

From a sales perspective, we always try our customers to, but that's from a sales perspective. But the reality, nine out of 10 times look different, so there's a- And it's a journey. Of course, who nowadays, or many of our customers already sell online.

So sometimes we start with a PIM, integrate a shopware shop, a Magento solution, and then maybe we launch a B2B store a year later, because it is, in the end, building a front-end for the data we already have in PIM. But yeah, we're not limited to the channels

that we can serve with a PIM. Yeah, and that's basically where the integration comes into play, because we integrate with print to be able to do catalogs. We integrate with marketplaces through vendors like Channable or things like that to be able to support an omni-channel.

There's also a B2B environment. Enough. Well, enough about the history of dynamic web, but I think these are some examples that how you can use dynamic web. Well, six years ago, five years ago, four years ago, that would be dynamic web.

Oftentimes it would be more complex for us to actually integrate with a separate PIM, with a separate CMS. So what do we mean with a composable suite? Is that a bit of contradiction? Yeah, this is marketing. The pizza boxes are a set of functionalities

around a main topic. So commerce, PIM, and you can basically swap them out. So I guess that the examples that we have could give a better answer to this than just a high overslide.

Yeah, success stories. That's sales again. So Tricorp, to start with, that's a company in the Netherlands. They are doing, that's primarily B2B. They have a, yeah, composable architecture

because they're not using our PIM. They were using Parafion already before we came in the game. So we deliver the entire front end on commerce, online marketing, CMS. They have a Uniconta ERP solution in the back end.

They have about six or seven different languages to support all their countries. Yeah, what they do is, you know, me as a worker can log in and get a customized B2B portal

and order my workwear that is branded according to my company that I'm a member of, of an employee of. Yeah, another one is, this is a project that is just started. And this is a different customer.

They want to, they needed to have the PIM. They were thinking about a composable architecture with a different PIM solution. But in the end, they said, well, you know, our organization is not big enough to embrace a composable architecture. We want to have a suite that gives us flexibility now,

but also we only need to have one knowledge set in the house. So we are starting, our partner is now starting to implement PIM connected to data pools. And in this PIM solution,

we are actually doing a part of master data management in the sense that the data pools don't, they push continuously new product data and they want to adapt or change that product data without having it overwritten again when there's a new set of coming out of the data pool

that they're using. And then they're gonna do commerce. And there's an example from one of our partners from Iceland, with a customer from Iceland, S4S. It's a big fashion retailer that actually, if you look in the top, it says shoes and air

and gym stuff, and they have all kinds of different brands. So they needed to have a very flexible front end that customers can click through the different stores, still have one basket to check out with. And here we actually did not deliver the CMS. Not the front end. Exactly, not the front end part of the CMS.

So it's, we delivered the business central connector integrated to the ERP, the e-commerce part, but only the backend, the CMS part, the backend. And they actually have a completely separated front end that their developers can work with because they have that in-house.

And through the API and through OData from the ERP, but with the API from our CMS and our backend, we just push whatever products, commerce functionality, add to cart, content, through all the different stores.

So they use a dynamic web backend, but completely different front end. So this is basically a composable architecture. That is. That's how flexible the solution can be. And these are just some logos, some brands that we serve. As we said, very Scandinavian, North American,

some big customers in Germany with Belize Haas. They also went for the whole suite. Then I think we can go to the last slide, questions. Anyone who has thoughts, doubts, challenges?

Want to challenge us or Harry? Harry likes to be challenged. Then let me put a question in front. Do you ever run into these situations in your area

coming out of print, PIM towards this or? Some headaches I hear. We had not an e-commerce situation,

but a situation where our PIM provider needed a program to compare our old version of our data sheet to our new version of data sheet.

And our PIM provider tried to think of something and maybe program a solution. But it would cost too much and didn't look like we wanted.

And then we found a pretty easy program. It was, I don't know, $150 a year license. Really not that much. Nothing. And they basically, it's put old version

in one folder, new version in another, click compare and it's done. And you have a double-sided PDF with all the differences. And it was so easy that we choose to do that.

But we still like our PIM system and we like to use all the models that they can offer. But we like to expand on other things just to complete the whole picture. Okay, and what kind of PIM system are you using?

Media Cockpit Conversion Ration. Oh, okay. That's a German, pure German solution. By the way, if you want to talk in German, that's fine. He is German, by the way. It's a, yeah. But I agree with, it depends on the situation

whether you can choose for a suite or separate components. There is no one solution which is the best. No.

Do you look at something like Print Suite as a composable component? Is that a dumb question? No, I don't think so. No, I think it is. Out of our PIM, how we look at it

from an architectural point is that we have, PIM is the single source of truth, like we all say. And out of that we have, we generate channels that are XML-based based on the data

that you want to get out. And that could be for a webshop different data than for a print or for a different solution. And we look for, we integrate with print to enable customers to use Easy Catalog or Adobe InDesign, I mean, to make catalogs

because they want up-to-date, real-time product data in that InDesign file. Then we could, and for our business, we have strategically chosen to look for vendors to have a technology partnership with

instead of building the solution ourselves. That's it. Did you just say you can link my PIM to Easy Catalog so I can produce? Yeah. Okay. Yeah, so in different solutions,

we have different vendors. So we have, if you look at print, we do things with print and with Easy Catalog to populate Adobe InDesign catalogs. Okay, we have a version with Easy Catalog, but we have a little bit of a problem getting the data from a PIM.

Really? Yeah, really. You're not using ours. No, sorry. No, but that is- Print. No, but that is what, that's how we, so we are not married to the hip to print. We wanna be able to show our customers

there are different ways of going about it to integrate with, so that's, and print knows that. We also do things with Easy Catalog, so yeah. And doesn't just have to be product data, right? With Dynamic Web as an example, it could be commerce data, an abandoned shopping cart.

I think that the story of the customer this morning, I saw it and I'm like, wait, this is what we do online. We have all the customer data inside. You come to the website, we know what you've been looking at. We know which products have been pushed

in a shopping cart. And if the shopping cart is not actually placed into an order, you could send out a personal email, but you could also make a personal flyer, a card, and use print to do that.

That's because we have all the data in it, so. Just kind of a question. Yeah. Just out of curiosity, because I worked previously with Beltec, which is also a mock alliance partner. And one of the questions that customers

will often have and they seem confused about is the availability of data, right? So they think like, oh, if I have a mock certified PIM and I make a change and let's say Aquino, it's immediately available on the website. But Aquino is not feeding data to the website, right? It's feeding to the CMS,

which then renders to the website, right? So I think there's confusion from the customer perspective of like, what is the actual flow of data? Yeah. So do you guys have any tools that you use? It's just a curiosity of mine to like show a customer, like here's the actual flow of information to the touch points,

because people seem to be confused when you talk about like composables and stuff about what actually is connected and how. So I don't know if you have like a tool, like a visualization tool or something that you can use to show the customer. Because I think there's a lot of confusion on the customer side about like,

what parts do I need and how do they actually interact? Yeah. No, I don't have a visualization, visual tool to show, okay, well, if you push this, what we always do is we can show in a demo. So, okay, you have product data,

you've saved the product data and the product data is automatically published to the channels that that product is looked at or bound to. So if that's a shop, then instantly it's available on the front end. If it's a Adobe InDesign file,

then if you open up the Adobe InDesign file and you trigger Adobe, okay, update, you get the data instantly in your catalog. So that's, but I don't have a user interface to show, okay, well, you know.

But that's an architectural question which comes over several solutions. So mostly that's not within the pin itself. Right. Yeah, I'm just saying like, it's like whenever I've discussed this with customers, it's almost like asking them to believe in God or something

because they can't actually see the information flowing. You know what I mean? It's kind of like trust, it's gonna work. Yeah, trust in microservices. Yeah. So I don't know. I'm just curious if there's any kind of tools that you know of? No, I don't know of. It'd be nice to be able to have, you know,

quick visual, like here's the results. How did this all get assembled, you know? Nothing, it's together and then showing that there are some tools, but then it's an overload again. Any other questions, remarks?

Otherwise, perfect timing. One minute. One minute? Yeah. Oh, cool. Thank you very much. Thanks. You're welcome. Thanks for being here.

By clicking 'Accept All' you consent that we may collect information about you for various purposes, including: Statistics and Marketing