This advocate should be experienced in the types of software your company requires. This person should not represent a provider nor benefit financially from it.
This familiarity could help your project move more quickly without sacrificing rigor.
3. Save time. Familiarity breeds speed. Presumably your company could research all of the available options for, say, CRMs, CMSs, order management systems, accounting suites, or ecommerce platforms. But the process would take time.
4. Straight answers. Often a business’s internal technology specialists are familiar with only a small portion of the software and technology options.
5. Implementation help. Benefitting from a technology advocate’s expertise does not have to end when a solution is identified. These professionals often have project management and programming experience.
Hiring a Technology Advocate
2. Gain a competitive advantage. One of the first steps a commerce technology advocate would take is to identify your company’s goals and requirements for a given technology or software.
From site launches to software integration to performance enhancements, managing an ecommerce technology stack is complicated. Many companies could use help.
“As the marketplace for ecommerce [software] starts to broaden and becomes more complex, adding platforms and apps [can be] really hard, especially for small and medium-sized companies,” said Mark Wexler, a founder and partner at Whirlwind Ecommerce.
A technology advocate would be interested in your company’s requirements, goals, and success — not any particular software.
Mark Wexler, at right, discussed with the author the importance of having a technology advocate. The live-streamed interview occurred on February 4.
An account executive, however fair and well-meaning, likely thinks her company’s offering is the best in many situations.
What follows are five reasons to hire an ecommerce technology advocate.
A technology advocate specializing in ecommerce platforms, for example, would be familiar with multiple candidates. He should know when to choose, hypothetically, Shopify Plus or a headless BigCommerce implementation.
“You don’t want to get to the eleventh hour and realize you made a wrong choice,” Wexler said during a live event for CommerceCo by Practical Ecommerce on February 4, 2021.
1. Save money. Launching or re-platforming an ecommerce website can be expensive and time-consuming.
This process might include prioritizing requirements and identifying how your business could gain a competitive advantage.
A good technology advocate could help avoid this sort of mistake and, potentially, save your business money.
The leaders at these businesses “find themselves having to rely on information from biased parties. They are going out and talking to vendors, talking to service providers, and researching on the internet. You find a lot of biased parties out there providing information toward their loyalties, which are with their company,” said Wexler.
An advocate could recommend integration strategies, suggest database architecture, and even write code to connect legacy software to a new website. Thus the same insights applied to finding the best technology might help with getting it up and running.
For example, to develop what Wexler called a unique selling proposition around fast delivery, a technology advocate might identify solutions, off the shelf or custom, to streamline the order fulfillment process.
Few things will be more expensive for your business than starting to develop a website or digital experience only to find out that it won’t work or perform as promised.