Back in June HCL Technologies expanded its strategic partnership with Google Cloud, which will now be the preferred cloud platform for HCL’s software offerings, starting with HCL Commerce – formerly IBM WebSphere Commerce.
Having made a career out of working with commerce technology, specifically IBM, I have been asked by several people for my thoughts on this news. Is it a marketing announcement showing that HCL Commerce can be deployed on Google Cloud or is it a game-changer? I won’t mince words: This collaboration is transformative for clients who want less expensive, more robust solutions delivered on HCL Commerce in significantly less time.
Bringing HCL Commerce to Google Cloud will enable businesses to maintain their investments in HCL’s commerce platform while also taking advantage of the global reach, security, and elasticity of Google Cloud. Businesses across industries can turn to HCL Commerce partners like LiveArea to develop positive, data-driven customer experiences online leveraging Google Cloud’s capabilities in artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics.
In other words, it’s a perfect match for HCL, Google and clients – with help from a knowledgeable eCommerce partner.
The next logical question is, if other eCommerce engines work on Google Cloud, what’s different about the HCL Commerce and Google Cloud combination? The short answer is there’s a huge distinction between software able to run on a specific cloud infrastructure and software designed for a particular cloud infrastructure. That difference is critical to taking advantage of features cost effectively and not reinventing the wheel with every implementation. Let me explain.
First, HCL Commerce is extremely flexible eCommerce software. A multitude of options exist for installation, configuration, and customizations. That’s the good news, but it’s also a two-edged sword. A nearly infinite number of potential solutions can be configured and customized, but this, of course, requires time, which equates to investment and slower time to market. More often than not, rapid-start solutions measured in weeks not months were impossible.
All that has changed. Now brands on the HCL platform can quickly and efficiently get up and running with a solution that includes advanced deployment options, world-class analytics, and the Google Marketing Cloud configured and designed by two leading tech firms. While there is still more work needed to precisely measure the impact of these integrations on rapid deploy solutions like LiveArea’s we are estimating this will save between 50% and 75% of the time and cost of setup and configuration. One additional point to note is that while there are fast-start option available through partners like LiveArea, HCL has left the solution open so that if a client needs, or wants, to follow a different path (such as a hybrid-cloud solution), this option can be supported.
The power of Google Analytics, marketing, and more
Adding to the significant benefit of fast, reliable configurations and installation comes the pairing of HCL Commerce with market-leading analytics from Google Analytics 360. Moreover, there’s the ability to integrate with Google Marketing Cloud, and tie into Google’s premier business intelligence tools such as BigQuery and Looker.
As a Google Platform Certified partner with deep experience in analytics and marketing, LiveArea helps brands use these tools to meet their business goals. Rather than waiting for post go-live enhancements or extending development cycles, we engage in areas of analytics and marketing throughout the engagement. We understand the tools and technologies behind data, and we apply them to shape, execute and manage digital analytics initiatives that deliver valuable insights and measurable results.
What’s truly exciting about the HCL/Google Alliance
All these direct and tangible benefits, which reduce time and cost, give brands access to a world-class solution that even businesses with smaller budgets can afford. Savings can be applied to other areas such as omni-channel commerce and curbside pickup – alternatives that resonate in today’s COVID/Post-COVID world – to increase total return on investment.
But as a technologist I admit I am even more excited by the transformative power of the HCL and Google collaboration. With tight integration into the Google Cloud, technology partners like LiveArea get access to Google APIs in a way that wasn’t possible before. This opens up a world of opportunity, including using tools like speech recognition for voice shopping, event messaging that would allow easy broadcast messaging to implement B2B catalogs, or sending partial catalogs to marketplaces.
I am sure there are many other interesting solutions and benefits we will envision in the coming weeks and months as we learn more of the details of this partnership. I for one am looking forward to it.
How LiveArea can help you
LiveArea is currently working with several clients on V9 migrations. We have already migrated our proprietary assets to V9.0 and are working with HCL on porting them to this new version. In addition, LiveArea has analytics and marketing experts working on Google Analytics, BigQuerry and Google Marketing Cloud. By adding in LiveArea’s technical managed services, you can now treat HCL commerce like a SAAS offering.
Marshall Freiman, area vice president of LiveArea’s HCL practice, is an eCommerce industry pioneer, working since the early days of eCommerce as a developer at IBM and then as vice president of Engineering for leading eCommerce solution providers. He has architected groundbreaking omni-channel solutions on WebSphere Commerce for top brands, including REI, Harry & David, West Marine, Sony and Advance Auto Parts.
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