Why a Dedicated B2B Platform is a Mistake
The B2B sector is growing dynamically like no other branch of e-commerce. More and more companies are considering transferring their B2B sales to the online world. Numerous benefits, such as lowering transaction costs, simple monitoring of buyers’ activities or higher transparency of the sales process, influence the decision making. At this point, we are facing the choice of a SaaS platform, an Open Source or a dedicated platform. While SaaS platforms are quickly rejected, due to the low possibility of adapting to specific B2B processes, the decision weighs up to the end between open source platforms such as Magento and dedicated software. This article will try to explain why choosing a dedicated solution is a mistake.
MYTHS SURROUNDING A DEDICATED B2B PLATFORM
While choosing the B2B platform used to handle the company’s sales, many myths have been set for years, which currently are not true, unfortunately, they can still have a significant influence on the companies’ decision when choosing the software.
DEDICATED B2B PLATFORMS OFFER MORE FLEXIBILITY
This is probably one of the biggest myths repeated when choosing a B2B platform, that dedicated software was supposed to give more flexibility. Meanwhile, this is not true, platforms such as Magento have a modular structure, allowing the construction of several functionalities.
DEDICATED B2B PLATFORMS OFFER MORE SECURITY
This is another frequently repeated myth. Dedicated platforms not only do not provide greater security, but they also do not have support from an extensive community that tests the code, do not have hundreds of thousands of installations, and thus are not tested on various positions. The necessity of adding many elements, not always supported by appropriate tests, makes them much more susceptible to the emergence of security flaws from Magento systems. In the case of Magento, updates are issued frequently, the software is constantly adapted to support the latest version of PHP or the database version.
DEDICATED B2B PLATFORMS OFFER MORE SCALABILITY
This is the next myth related to dedicated B2B platforms. Very often it turns out that it is just the opposite. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on the development of a platform such as Magento (in 2018 Adobe bought Magento for 1.68 billion dollars, a capital unavailable to any Polish company creating dedicated software). Magento software supports stores whose number of sessions reach tens of millions per month, used by Castorama, Neonet, Saint-Gobain, Reserved or eobuwie on the Polish market, these companies need really high scalability, moreover, Magento supports solutions such as Full Page Cache, Varnish, Redis, Apache Solr, Elastic Search, support for multiple servers. This makes the scaling possibilities of this platform almost unlimited.
In addition to the above, dedicated software has a number of disadvantages that significantly hinder its further development.
THE BIGGEST DEFECTS OF B2B DEDICATED PLATFORMS
DEPENDENCE ON ONE SUPPLIER (PLATFORM CREATORS)
In regard to the safety of an e-commerce system, one of the worst scenarios is dependence on one supplier. This situation almost always results in the following pathologies in the cooperation process:
– difficulties in establishing implementation times,
– difficulties with enforcing properly implemented functionality,
– increasing costs of implementing the simplest tasks.
Open source platforms such as Magento allow you to change the contractor, of course, with such a sensitive system as B2B, such a decision should always be well planned, and at first trying to get along with the current contractor is a good idea, but if it is not possible to reach an agreement, it is enough to carry out an audit that is not complicated for the IT company so that the platform can be taken over by another entity. It’s always good to have the potential to do so to create the right pressure on the contractor.
B2B DEDICATED PLATFORMS ARE DOOMED FOR STAGNATION
In the case of dedicated software, we are condemned to the implementing company, often the initial lower cost of the platform (yes, the implementation of the “dedicated” platform can often be cheaper in the initial phase than, for example, the implementation of Magento, because the company has already prepared the foundation) is associated with huge costs during the development stage, each new functionality must be created anew, while platforms such as Magento have thousands of ready-made modules that can be freely adapted to their needs. In addition, the community takes care of the development of modern standards, solutions such as AMP or PWA are implemented very quickly to Magento, while in the case of dedicated platforms they are virtually unachievable.
Fortunately, the companies’ and contractors’ awareness is constantly growing. Many companies that have implemented a dedicated platform today would not make the same mistake. Interestingly, many companies that have so far offered their own dedicated solutions are switching to open source platforms such as Magento. Maintaining your own systems involves high development costs and often limits the possibility of using the latest technologies such as AMP or PWA, which in platforms such as Magento become a standard and give a technological advantage to companies that use them.