Multichannel Success Podcast series

Episode 7 - Information Technology (IT) - Transcript

#### Mark Pinkerton

Hello and welcome to our podcast series on how to drive multichannel success.

In this series, we'll be exploring a range of issues which you and your business are faced with every day. Three of us from Prospero and The Multi-Channel Expert have pooled our expertise and experience of working with many brands over the last 20 years to come up with a set of practical suggestions and ideas that will help you deliver greater success in your e-commerce business. We really hope you find the discussion useful and we look forward to your feedback. In today's episode, I'm pleased to say that we have Liam Quinn from Vervaunt.

#### Liam Quinn

Hello, thanks for having me.

#### Mark Pinkerton

So, Liam, how would you describe what Vervaunt do?

#### Liam Quinn

That sometimes is a tough question because we mould to some of the projects

and brands that we speak with but essentially we're an e-com consultancy that

have specialist areas between us. We do a lot of technical requirements,

scoping pre-projects, we do a lot of re-platforming projects end-to-end so

we'll be sort of product owners, we'll be the technical governance and

delivery partner on that and then we run sort of strategic roadmaps so post-

launch we work with a lot of brands to do a sort of 12-month strategic roadmap

on on how to essentially keep growing. So, yeah, we cover a few things but

fundamentally we have a technical core skill set of supporting our e-com

clients.

#### David Worby

So you specialise in any particular part of the ecosystem?

#### Liam Quinn

No so well so we're completely agnostic in terms of platforms so yeah we have

clients that are Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, Salesforce, Centra, the range

so we're completely agnostic but between myself with a sort of background in

Shopify, Paul's got a strong background in Magento, we've got skill sets in

Salesforce historically so we've got the in-depth knowledge of a lot of

platforms but we are agnostic.

#### Mark Pinkerton

So the first question I'd like us to talk about is, how do you see the tech

market evolving over the next two years and what's been happening, what's out

there and where do you see things happening going forward? Liam.

#### Liam Quinn

Yeah I guess what we've seen from the previous two years, so I think the trend

that we have seen at Vervaunt is from brands coming to us initially, say two

years ago, with a outline of a scope and wanting to know what platform they're

best fit, so we might review three or four platforms with them to come up with

best fit, to the trend now being brands coming to us with Shopify in mind and

actually just validating whether Shopify is a good fit for them and they're

already leading that way but they want to validate that decision, so I think

yeah, taking that into account I think the next two years is almost, I would

see it continuing that way, it's like Shopify versus the rest.

#### David Worby

We were talking off-air about whether that is businesses being more advanced

in their thinking than they might have been previously, but I think what you

were keen to say is no it's not really that, it's just they kind of like

Shopify. Shopify has become the default option for them.

#### Liam Quinn

I think Shopify, obviously brands speak to each other, I've

seen what's going on in the cross the market and I think Shopify has just

become almost the default option and then it's validating whether actually are

we the exception or is it best fit for us as well.

#### Mark Pinkerton

Okay, excellent. And then what about the more enterprise end of the market?

So, you know, if the default for the lower end is becoming Shopify, A, are

there any threats to Shopify? And also, what happens in larger organisations?

#### David Worby

I tend to think that if we went back a little bit further than Liam has

suggested, maybe five years ago, most of the solutions were kind of broadly

the same. They all offered a slightly different variation, but they were all

philosophically in the same camp. I think what we're seeing now, from what

Liam said and other market intel, is that the market's polarised. So if you're

a business that wants to make technology a central capability of your

business, then you're more likely to take control of your own destiny and to

build your own solutions using headless or composable or modular kind of

capabilities. If, however, you don't want to focus on technology and want to

become more product marketing centric, then you probably need a partner. And

that partner could end up being a completely outsourced solution, like indeed

even an Amazon or a hook group or someone like that. Or if you

want to take some small part in building your future, a Shopify solution or

something like that maybe. So I think we're seeing a polarisation with

businesses being defined along a parallel of what's important to me rather

than being small or being enterprise. It's actually what matters to me and

what do I need to take control of. That's the way I see it.

#### Liam Quinn

I think that first side of the market of the default, I think Shopify have

dominated that already. So I think they've already sort of taken that from,

you know, where previously there might have been a WooCommerce, Magenta,

standard retailer. And then, yeah, obviously the other side of the market with

the composable headless platforms, Centra, Commerce Tools. I think Shopify are

trying to push to capture more of that market as well. But yeah, I think the

idea of the soft polarisation is fair. And what I find fascinating is you've

got business like SAP.

#### David Worby

what I find fascinating is you've got a business like SAP who have kind of got a

bit caught short to some extent have now built Shopify equivalents or are

building Shopify equivalents and people like Salesforce Commerce Cloud who

equally might in part think that they've been a little bit left behind by this

evolution and now building headless capabilities so it's almost like the

market is increasingly polarised and even the players who were left in

the middle ground now find their future to be either offering a one end of the

solution or the other end of the solution the middle ground is kind of not a

great place to be.

#### Mark Pinkerton

Yeah, and obviously you can get headless variants of Shopify as well if you

wish, so it's not completely an either-or.

#### Liam Quinn

Yeah, I think that's one of the, yeah, I think for the next two years, which

your question was, I think that piece from Shopify of moving, how they move

towards the other end of the market with their like hydrogen offering and

their composable approach will be interesting. But yeah, I think the, I think

it's, they're pushing to try and capture more of that side exactly as you just

said.

#### Mark Pinkerton

Okay, so within that sort of polarised environment that we've been discussing,

what are the key sort of issues that you've seen in the market?

#### Liam Quinn

To start with the Shopify side probably, so I think Shopify have probably

worked the trajectory that they've been on, they've sort of closed a lot of

gaps and issues that they've had that have maybe separated the big commerce or

Magenta, where now to get to that default choice I think the architecture for

international is probably the key issue or compromise still where you've got

brands that have got 5, 10 or more Shopify store instances that you have to

try and manage the architecture of. So I think from the Shopify point of view

I think that's probably the issue to get around and they obviously are working

on that with some of the international market stuff that they're releasing.

#### Mark Pinkerton

Yeah. And David, what else do you see as issues in the market?

#### David Worby

Well, I think the economic climate we're in and the events of the last few

years, I think, have given everybody a bit of a wake-up call and the cost of

ownership has come under scrutiny, I think, by almost everybody. That doesn't

mean that everyone is trying to slash their costs. If you're in the enterprise

scale, you're probably increasing the amount of money you spend on technology.

But if you're not fortunate enough to be at that camp, you probably are having

to scrutinise everything on your P&L; with a view to reducing the cost

wherever you can. So we all thought it was amazing that Shopify came along

with the ability to launch an online business with literally a credit card in

your hand. We now know there are even cheaper versions of that. And, of

course, there are compromises in doing that. But take a look at Shopline with

60,000, 70,000 customers in Asia who've built e-commerce off the back of

social media. So there are even challenges to the cheaper end of the market.

So I think a theme is how do I cut my costs without compromising to an extent

that I'm not happy with, but also how do I simplify, because simplification

produces lower costs, how do I simplify what I've got and sweat what I've

already spent my money on even harder.

#### Mark Pinkerton

So that shows in the rise and rise of Shopify, I guess, but does that put a

cap or a constraint on the move towards the sort of fully headless,

microservices-led option that we've seen driven from Commerce Tools and

BigCommerce?

#### David Worby

Well, I think to some extent it probably does, simply by the dint of costs.

Everybody knows that to go down a microservices, headless, whatever you want

to call it, composable route, is going to be much more expensive, because

you're building a very bespoke individual solution. You have to have people

who know what they're doing. They tend to cost more than the generic

capability you might otherwise employ. And therefore, you are into a

significant investment in technology. But that's not wrong if your business is

going to put technology at the very heart of what it does.

#### Liam Quinn

That's not wrong.

#### David Worby

If that's going to power the growth of your business for the next 20 years,

putting the correct amount of investment in it is right. However, if that

isn't what you want to make a feature of, then it's probably not the wisest

decision, as we've seen from some examples, to head off down that route.

#### Liam Quinn

Yeah, I think what I was going to say, the other point in general issues that

we've seen is definitely that TCO's side, so brands that have come to us or

we've done a survey of about 100 merchants on their, where their priorities

lie in terms of budgets and reducing that TCO came out top or second to

billboard advertising or something, but basically top and I think all these

things factor into

#### David Worby

We've done a that. So I think one of the things we were talking about Liam

off-air here is how many businesses we talk to who already have license costs

for services that are underutilised. So with the evolution of software and the

acquisition of companies by other companies often means that people are paying

license fees for things that they're barely using it's the old kind of I guess

iceberg concept and getting under the skin of what they've already spent and

what they could deploy quite easily I think is a value proposition that many

of them would do well to think about because you know how many people have got

competing search capabilities how many people got competing pop-up solutions

that there could be simplified rationalised and make simpler and easier. Have

you come across that?

#### Liam Quinn

Yeah, I think so definitely through COVID with firstly growth of a lot of tech

vendors and then secondly, massive growth for a lot of brands online. I think

there was a willingness to sign up to a lot of the different tech and get it

on site. And within those two years, I think there's vendors that have grown

their offering to now be where they were best in breed and did something

really specific really well. There's now multiple that probably clash or offer

the same sort of functionality and brands that may be tied into both or

multiple vendors like these that could actually and are now looking at how

to streamline and just get the best out of one.

#### Mark Pinkerton

Okay, so following on from that, what is your view on the the rise of

headless? I mean we know that you're specialising in more of the Shopify end

of the market but nonetheless you'll be completely, I know you guys have been

completely exposed to a number of big headless projects and have seen failures

and re-changes of the way that those projects have been running, so why do you

think so many of those projects are having to be reconfigured to work in

different ways?

#### Liam Quinn

Yeah, I think, so I, from a tech background and with a computer science head

on, I think it's great. I think it's, in theory, the headless composable

architecture is just better software design. So yeah, I like it from that

side. But from our commercial day-to-day, what we're seeing, I think it's

great in the right circumstances. I think there's probably a lot of failures

that you're referring to maybe that have been signed up or have signed up

because of the dream of this shiny new future that actually maybe don't

understand the resource that will go into it, or the technical input that's

required. Yeah, and we've said

#### Mark Pinkerton

Yeah, and we've certainly had instances with clients where we've had board-

level discussions about whether or not they want to be tech-led or whether

they want to be tech-enabled, and for us that's quite a big distinction in the

approach that you might want to take to technology. And really, are there some

examples that you can, without necessarily naming the client, but that you can

expand upon from that point of view, so that our listeners can understand

the rationale of why things have become more difficult?

#### Liam Quinn

Yeah, on this topic, so yeah, we have, we probably have a lot of conversations

brought with brands that are either considering, um, headless or composable or

have started the journey and actually want some input on how it's going. Yeah.

There's one brand that we're talking to that we've made build with commerce

tools and, uh, had probably, they were approaching maybe the million pound

cost, uh, and didn't see the sort of end goal in sight and they ended up,

they'd just been led by somebody who's, um, technical opinion was it was the

best way forward and for that brand who was sort of, you know, uh, high street

fashion brand, I guess it was just the wrong approach completely. And they

ended up abandoning that for a Shopify build.

#### Mark Pinkerton

That's quite a contrast.

#### Liam Quinn

isn't it? Yeah, exactly, yeah. That was just the right option for them, which

should have been made from the beginning.

#### Mark Pinkerton

Yeah, and we've also seen, and it's on public record the fact that

Ted Baker had issues with their big commerce driven headless platform that

went live, then they've been bought by ABG, and now effectively they're

abandoning, going to abandon that big commerce platform and outsource it all.

So we've seen that, we've seen Reece give up their bespoke platform and go

onto the next platform, and then next taking a controlling share of the

business, so I guess there's a polarisation of a number of different

approaches.

#### David Worby

Yeah, I think the other dimension that comes out of Liam's example, though, is

that if you're a small to medium-sized business and the project is more the

kind of initiative that spawns from one or two key people, then the business

is entirely at the mercy of those two people to continue that project. And if

those two people decide their future is elsewhere, the business is now facing

an existential crisis that we're in a situation that is going to be very

difficult to navigate away from. So I think my advice to small-medium-sized

businesses is think very carefully about the risks, the downside risks of an

initiative like this. Because it could be very expensive and very costly and

take longer than you think. That, I think, is proven. But also you are now

beholden to one or two people, two key people, and their knowledge and

understanding. And if that were to exit the business, then you would be in a

real challenge to replicate that knowledge.

#### Liam Quinn

Yeah, I think we're and there's obviously a lot of good examples where Brands,

especially that have like omni-channel offering or want to push that side I

know that other reasons have had successful, you know headless or composable

build so there's there is good arguments for but yeah, I think being wary of

the risks against and you know being led by one or two people that might have

a vision or You know a reason why they might want to push the tech side and

solve risks in the complexity

#### David Worby

I think that's really wise advice and I think if you're listening to this

podcast and you're a small to medium sized business thinking that that's the direction,

I would just take a little bit more time to be absolutely sure that you've considered

all the risks that could emanate from that decision should things not go to

plan.

#### Mark Pinkerton

And in terms of the total cost of the ownership, what examples have we

got of people stripping cost out of the business and trying to simplify

things? We've certainly experienced it in the past where we've managed to get

one person to run a Shopify website to do absolutely all of the marketing and

all of the order control and literally everything for a start-up brand versus

we've had other clients where effectively you've got 70 people in e-com trying

to run things or in another case 450 people trying to build their own

platform. So what are people actively doing at the moment to try and strip out

costs?

#### Liam Quinn

Yeah, I think one of the points comes to, so we've seen brands where, you

know, there's tech like Algolia, Content Square, Dynamic Yield, other big sort of complex pieces of

tech that are really powerful, but the brand has either streamlined the team

or they have the resource in the team to manage those, so not getting anywhere

near the best out of those pieces of technology, so I think, yeah, we've seen

brands look to, you know, switch those out for something more simple to use or

something where even if it's not as powerful you can get 100% out of it

without anywhere near the resource, so I think that's one point. I think your

point earlier on where there's tech that have grown, so a couple years ago you

might have seen or you might still see brands with Nosta, Klaviyo, Joppa,

those all in the same tech stack where actually some of those have sort of

diverged to do, to offer functionality that crosses over, so actually is it

still right to have all three or, you know, can you get all the required

functionality out of less of those separate pieces of tech, and then I think

the other point I was going to make was actually we've seen people investing

in more tech that will streamline the resource needed within the team, so an

example being brands that will have one or multiple people sat whose day-to-

day is dominated by product management via sheets or, you know, a lot of

manual effort and investing in putting in a PIM that has automations and that

can push that data across multiple places is an investment but it actually

saves, you know, two people's resource of time which can be spent elsewhere,

so and again

#### Mark Pinkerton

And again, PIMs are becoming cheaper at that end of the market as well, so

that you can get to a situation where you can see that the economics are

getting pretty close to two people's full-time job cost, and therefore it will

pay for itself relatively quickly.

#### Liam Quinn

We've seen big brands using something like AirTable now as the PIM and do an

incredible job from it and it's easy to get integrated or there might be a one-off

cost to integrate but it's really low running costs, really easy to use, saves a lot of time

within the team so in that total cost piece it's really good is really beneficial.

#### David Worby

I think that for lots of people listening and certainly for lots of retailers the idea

of investing might seem counterproductive to the idea of trying to save cost but

actually if you can prove that putting a PIM in saves a couple of heads and the benefit

of that is is worth having then do it. I think I'd use the same logic of technology so

if you've got overlapping technology you're far better off taking out a couple of bits of

non-productive tech and possibly investing some of that saving in a product

manager who can sit on the balance of the tech and make sure it's utilised. I

think we've talked before about how sometimes tech is not used. In the kind of

iceberg conversation it might now be time to invest some of that saving in a

person who's going to sweat that asset and maximise the value people get from

the remaining bits of tech.

#### Liam Quinn

Yeah, exactly. I think some of the tech that I mentioned previously, it's very

powerful, can make a huge difference, but you need to have that resource

invested. Otherwise, there's no point in having the tech whatsoever. You're

only getting 20% out of it.

#### Mark Pinkerton

Yeah. So there would be benefit for a client in terms of taking stock of the

stack that they have to look at the overlaps right now with a way to going

forward with a simplified mindset. I mean if we look at the amount of change

that many websites go through, which is not that great, you would argue how

much ongoing real-time optimisation are many people doing? Well the answer is

very little. Google's removed its core product in that area so that's not

helping. But actually there isn't that much change going on so therefore

having a low-cost sustainable stack when the overall econ market is at best

flat to minus five percent makes complete sense.

#### David Worby

Yeah, I think it does and I think the point I would put behind that is you're

far better off as an e-commerce leader to make those decisions yourself than

wait for the finance director to tip up and ask you to save some money.

#### Liam Quinn

Absolutely.

#### David Worby

So I think understanding the ecosystem of technology, understanding the

overlap and then making some decisions about how you might remove some of that

overlap but invest some of that money in sweating the balance is an exercise

worth undertaking.

Even if you only at this stage do it on paper or reach out to someone who can

help you do it.

#### Mark Pinkerton

Yeah, okay. I'd now like to move on to something that's related to that, which

is actually when you have a new project and typically these are being driven

in Agile ways, you're working with your clients in Agile ways, is enough

resource being deployed by retailers in particular, retailers and brands, to

actually plan things properly and try and identify and define some of those

requirements? So it's the corollary of take stock of your stack is actually

saying, okay, we've got this new stack, we're building towards a new

environment, but actually what are the business requirements for that? We've

had instances in the past where technology has been operating in kind of a

vacuum and doing the best job they can because there are no business

requirements against which to build things. So have you experienced that in

terms of your business? Yeah, I think

#### Liam Quinn

Yeah, I think I'd like to think so because, you know, when we're working with

clients that's our role, I suppose. Hopefully they're putting enough thought

into that. I think some of the composable and some of the headless builds that

we were talking about earlier that are maybe failing is due to a lack of that

scope and all that requirements piece being in-depth enough and maybe an

expectation, potentially naively from the brand side, where there's an

expectation of going composable but, you know, having things just work out of

the box because people are more used to the Shopify or the BigCommerce where

you'll just get gift cards out of the box or you'll just get, you know,

promotions tools out of the box.

And I think some of it is potentially naivety or not the right people being

involved. So yeah, I think that's probably a big reason we had some of the

failures that we talked about.

#### Mark Pinkerton

Okay, and I want to ask specifically about Agile because that's one of the

conversations David and I have in particular, which is how Agile can one be

when re-platforming? Because from our point of view we've seen numerous

clients where they are performing in an Agile, but in terms of what you've

seen, how Agile can organisations in this be?

#### Liam Quinn

Yeah, I think the agility, and I think a lot of brands moved to Shopify

because of agility, but I think some of that agility has to start post re-

platforming. So I think the re-platforming side is there's a piece of work

that needs doing and it needs to be planned and there's consequences

technically or from SEO point of view or from your paid performance marketing

point of view if things sort of completely change. know if you're too agile

and change drastically so I think there needs to be a lot of structure around

that initial re-platforming piece and I think yeah a lot of the agility

probably comes post-launching but yeah what's your what's your opinion?

#### Mark Pinkerton

Well, we've had several clients where they are a big team using Agile and the

key thing for us is that there is no common vision of what they're trying to

build that's understood across a large team of people and that absolutely has

to happen. Everybody's got to have a common understanding or it's just not

going to work very well. And the other one is having a lack of transparency

between the actual teams involved so that somebody might be building a product

that will do X, Y, and Z. They'll be using Adobe to define the navigation on

the site but actually because they're not linked to the data team, they don't

know that all the product data could be driving the navigation. So you end up

having a manually driven process in Adobe to drive navigation that could be

data driven.

#### Liam Quinn

Yeah, I guess we're probably saying the same thing, but I think that initial

piece definitely needs the structure and the sort of aligned vision up front

to avoid any sort of drastic consequences around launch or through the build.

#### David Worby

I tend to think that most retailers, and of course there are exceptions and

doubtless many exceptions, most retailers struggle with the notion of being

agile. They have been born and grown up and matured in an era where silos were

actually quite productive things. People were allowed to get on with becoming

an expert in their silo. And now here we are saying, you've got to change all that, everyone's got to

talk to everybody and everything's got to be transparent. And that's just not in the

DNA of lots of well-established business, it's really, really difficult to do.

And I think a lot of projects fail, as I think you've said, because that isn't

true. So I think Agile with a capital A is an aspiration for many, but in

reality is very, very difficult to achieve. But I want to go back to something

I think that I heard you guys say before about retailers with a pre-conceived idea that

Shopify was their solution and therefore, please tell me why it shouldn't be.

And that made me think maybe they are getting more prepared. They're thinking

ahead. Sadly, I don't think that's true. I really don't. And I think that the

world of third market, third party suppliers has grown up to help retailers

through that journey. I think if retailers were doing it for themselves, you

probably wouldn't need that plethora of solutions. I mean, you've even got

businesses that have been established to draft RFPs for people.

Whereas we always used to thought that was our job to draft our own RFP. So I

think I would advocate a bit of a return to self-control before you start

engaging with any third parties. Because the reality is, with respect, every

third party has a product to sell. And the moment you start engaging with

them, you are likely to be to some extent biased by what they say and how they

say it. So there is huge value in having independent thought, which you can

only really have if you talk within your own organisation about what your

value set is and what your aspirations are and how you should go about

conducting yourself. Because the moment you open up the market, the vast

majority of people you talk to have something to sell you.

#### Mark Pinkerton

So what you're effectively saying is that the retailers currently or many

retailers currently don't necessarily have the skill set to be able to extract

the best from technology and they need to be mindful of that, they don't

necessarily have to be complete full-on experts in technology to do that but

they also then if they talk to a third-party expert to try and help them make

decisions have to be capable of understanding the bias and the feedback that

that third party is going to give them.

#### David Worby

Yes, or talk to a third party who's truly independent.

#### Mark Pinkerton

So Liam, what's the most exciting new technology you can see brands or

retailers using over the coming months and years?

#### Liam Quinn

I think, so I'm going to loop back almost to what we've talked about

and maybe the first question is the, so I think Shopify trying to push to the

other end of the market and their hydrogen headless composable offering, I

think it's sort of gone under the radar, I think it's been rebuilt recently

with a remix framework which was like highly respected in the sort of dev

world and I think it's an area that not many agencies are particularly looking

at or working with much right now but I think it's got a lot of potential and

that would be the hook that pushes them to actually take a lot of the market

at the other end of the scale.

#### Mark Pinkerton

So as a bit of a wrap-up Liam, could you give us an example of a project that

you think relates to what we've been talking about earlier and has been a

success?

#### Liam Quinn

Yeah so I was trying to think of something that sort of ties together a lot of

the points that we've covered and was a big successor. I think Cubits that we

worked with a bit early on, so they're not our active client again now, but we

worked with them to sort of scope out what was a big project. So they're a

glasses brand but they're very like tech driven, so trying to change the sort

of spectacles market I guess in terms of eye testing, trying on glasses, you

know the whole process end to end there. But they were on, so they had like a

custom monolith platform basically that was their front end, it was their back

end in CMS, all of their eye tests were all going through the same platform.

It was their POS system, it was their ERP, their warehouse and sort of lens

management all went through the same system, so it was a big beast and part of

that early project that we worked with is actually how we can, so they ended

up being pretty tied into what they could do and restricted with what they

could do and they wanted to have this front end experience that married up

with the sort of vision of being tech led and really user friendly and they

were really restricted by that. So it was actually, so I'm going back to the

sort of composable discussion, it was very much the spirit of composable I

think or the reason for composable, so it's like how do we actually separate

these things in a way that commercially works, isn't it, so we can't just

rebuild it all at once because it'll be a four-year project and by the end

we're going to have people testing in stores, we're going to have people

testing online, we're going to have the warehouse, you know all it sort of the

touch points were right across the business, so there was a lot of discussion

of how best to separate these pieces of functionality, so they split the front

end off, rebuilt that on Shopify but use the API to push everything back into

that monolith system that manages the inventory and everything else, but then

the next phase is going to be how to split that off to a best in breed ERP and

then one by one approach these in a composable way of getting to the point

that they want it to be at from a tech perspective.

#### Mark Pinkerton

Great, thank you. I think David has an example too.

#### David Worby

Yeah, I was just trying to rebalance the rhetoric a little bit. Composable and

Headless has taken a bit of a kicking in this podcast for a variety of

reasons. So I think I just wanted to cite one example, which is our friends at

Aldi, who have embarked upon one of the most enormous projects you could

possibly imagine, which is to build and launch a US business from scratch,

using their global capability, and I do mean global, because elements of it

sit across the world, and whilst there are still some challenges with that

project, as you would expect in a project of that scale, the sheer attention

to technical detail is to be applauded, and I think that that's a business

that's going to carry billions, well not billions, but certainly many, many

millions of pounds worth of trade in the years to come, and I applaud them for

having done what they've done, which is to launch a new iteration of their

global template, by using a completely home-built, headless, composable world,

using their new capability that they recruited for exactly that purpose out of

Germany. So I think that's to be applauded.

#### Mark Pinkerton

Okay thank you. So David, from a Prospero perspective, what's the best way for

a client to select a partner to help in this technology world?

#### David Worby

That's a good question. I think that partners, in my mind, are principally

there to provide you with expertise that you maybe don't have, or and plug the

gaps in your organisation. So, if you're thinking about a project, you may

have all of the skills and capabilities you need in-house, in which case a

partner may not be the wisest of choice, but that's often not the case for

retailers and brands. They don't have deep technical knowledge of the platform

or the solution that they are adopting and therefore need a partner to help

them with that technology integration work. Equally, you may not have project

managers who can run a project like this and bring all of the parties

together. However, there are some elements of selecting a partner that I think

you should think more about than others. Firstly, are they the right kind of

partner for your business? Do they share the same kind of cultural outlook?

Two, are they of similar size? There's little point in a very small business

appointing a partner to help them manage a project when that party is running

500 concurrent projects because you know there's going to be a conflict there.

But one word of advice, if you end up selecting a partner because you don't

have the capabilities and you end up finding one that is culturally and

capability-wise filling all of the gaps in your organisation, make sure there

is somebody within your business who is responsible for the relationship

you've established with them. Make sure somebody inside your organisation is

able to account for what they are doing, where they are and what they have

delivered against the plan that's been specified. I.e. please do not try to

outsource that element of the work because you will feel like you've lost

control and you will feel like you do not understand at the appropriate points

in the journey exactly where you were versus where you expected to be.

Brilliant.

#### Mark Pinkerton

Brilliant. Well hopefully our listeners have found that interesting and have

taken something that they can apply themselves from it and we look forward to

talking to you on the next one. Many thanks

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