How you can help your business overcome ICT skills shortages in 2023

Will you be amping up your organisation’s e-commerce activities next year in a bid to cash in on Australia’s ongoing online shopping boom? If you didn’t answer in the affirmative, then you’re missing a trick or several. 

E-commerce unleashed

It’s common knowledge that the Covid crisis supercharged digital commerce in this country, driving consumers and businesses alike away from stores and face-to-face sales situations and onto the net, where their fingers could do the walking in socially distanced safety. 

Almost three years on, those pandemic behaviour patterns are well and truly entrenched. Australians spent an estimated $56.01 billion on online retail in the 12 months to July 2022, according to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index: July 2022. The equivalent figure back in July 2019 was a ‘mere’ $29.33 billion.

Business buyers have followed consumers’ lead. Instead of spending regular time with sales reps from their major suppliers, they’re doing their browsing and buying online and enjoying the convenience and efficiency that modus operandi affords them. 

So much so that just 20 per cent of business buyers stated they were looking forward to the reinstatement of normal service, according to research carried out by McKinsey in 2020, at the height of the lockdown crisis.  

Driving a digital first strategy 

That’s why it behoves B2C and B2B organisations alike to put digital commerce enablement initiatives at the top of their business and ICT agendas for 2023. Many have already done so but going full steam ahead isn’t as simple as making the commitment and allocating sufficient funds for a program of work. 

Australia is in the midst of a significant ICT skills shortage and the software developers you want to work on your project are likely to be in high demand. Many have worked double speed these past three years, helping organisations transform their operations and get ecommerce initiatives off the ground during the pandemic. Often busy, burnt out, and batting off a string of offers every month, from organisations like yours that are eager to secure their services.

Risky business

Against that backdrop, trying to find a large complement of developers to work on a long term, resource heavy, digital project may be an optimistic undertaking. A traditional, monolithic platform such as SAP, for example, can provide a robust foundation for your online sales efforts – and one that can be installed relatively quickly out of the box – but customising and maintaining it is generally a resource heavy business. 

When skilled developers are at a premium and awash with employment options, that’s unlikely to be the sort of work they’ll want to be tied down to doing. Consequently, your enterprise may find itself locked into a single vendor offering and struggling to recruit and retain the bodies it needs to keep its infrastructure up and running, never mind optimising and augmenting the ecommerce experience it offers to customers. 

The quick click alternative 

There is a smarter way to proceed, one that’s flexible and fast, and which won’t require you to engage a full-time fleet of developers to keep your digital commerce presence evolving at speed. Adopting what’s known as a composable commerce platform will allow you to roll out third party technologies and apps quickly and easily.

The term ‘composable commerce’ refers to a software development approach whereby organisations choose best of breed components and link them together to form a customised e-commerce stack. Taking this tack allows you to get all the benefits of a bespoke program of work, sans the blood, sweat and expense typically associated with creating your own applications. 

Rather than ending up stuck with a one-size-fits-all solution, you’re able to try before you buy; slotting various components in and out of your set up and launching new services within days and weeks, not the months it can take doing things the old way. As an enterprise, it enables you to do more with less; the key to keeping up with competitors, without blowing your budget in the process.

Smart strategies for staying in the game

Offering a swift and seamless e-commerce experience is now essential for Australian businesses that hope to stay in business, but securing developers to carry out major customised programs of work is likely to remain a challenge for the foreseeable future. If your enterprise is serious about retaining mind and market share in 2023, adopting a composable e-commerce strategy that allows you to roll out new functionality and features economically and fast is likely to prove a very smart move.

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