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The hybris way towards multichannel e-commerce

T.C. Seow | July 18, 2012
CIO Asia speaks to Morris Zimmerman, CTO and Groeber Burghardt, Asia Pacific vice president of hybris Software to find out more about their plans and future challenges.

Imagine going into your favourite apparel store, shops for a new shirt but can't find one with the right size. Instead of walking out disappointed, the sales assistant tells you can purchase it now and the right size will be shipped to your home address, since the warehouse has the right item.

Here's another scenario: you've just been invited to an important dinner party tonight, and you decide to buy a gift for your host. After some research on your iPhone, you place an order online, with instruction to have it gift-wrapped, and ready for you to pick it up on your way to the dinner later.

Such convenience will be commonplace, if hybris Software has its way to bring multichannel e-commerce -- where multiple touch-points work seamlessly to enable order fulfilment triggered by mobile devices, online or even voice -- to its customers everywhere.

CIO Asia speaks to Morris Zimmerman, CTO and Groeber Burghardt, Asia Pacific vice president of hybris to find out more.

Morris Zimmerman
Morris Zimmerman, CTO, hybris Software.

What does hybris offer to your customers?

Morris Zimmerman: We call our solution a multichannel e-commerce platform. First and foremost, we provide software to [enable our customers] to sell online -- from business to business to consumer -- in various industries such as retail, telecommunications, manufacturing and so on. More and more, we see the retail space evolving into a multichannel, some also call it omni-channel, space where the consumer basically interacts with the brand on a number of touch points such as the phone, the tablet, the PC, the customer service person at the counter or someone else taking orders at the other end of the phone line, and in the store as well. You need to have an IT system that connects all of those channels so that you can deliver a consistent shopping experience. That's what we mean by 'multichannel'.

Can hybris be considered a system integration house or a solution provider?

MZ: We're a standard software player. You could think of us as very similar, but on a much smaller scale, to what SAP does -- selling software. We have a network of 160+ implementation partners. They in turn have about 4,500 employees in total, but are trained and work on a daily basis with our software. They implement, they consult, help customers strategise and so on. We're sell software licences, and these partners are the service providers.

How do you stay ahead of changing trends and changing demands?

MZ: Innovation always happens at the intersection of your own internal ideas paired up with the customer's views. We have a strategy team who basically are shaping our views of what the future of retail and supply, future of telecommunications and commerce, and we also interact with our customers and prospects very frequently. In my role, I get to talk to customers on a weekly basis -- some of them are existing, some of them are new -- to bounce ideas around, understand what they're looking for, and what their priorities are. We also have a customer advisory board where our top customers come together, they discuss with us their strategies and how e-commerce changing. Similarly, we present our roadmap, have discussions look at solution fit, and they have a chance to see others' and our partners' priorities. I think that's important; that where you get the input from. You always have to talk to the most advanced customers of course, because they have the most forward-thinking ideas, and that will trickle down to the other regions and customers.


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