Masters of Content
Masters of Content

Episode · 10 months ago

Modern Commerce: Your Ticket to a Truly Adaptable Organization


The term “Unified Commerce” has been around for some time. 

Though the vision for what it could accomplish was appealing, the tech just wasn’t there to make it a reality.

Modern Commerce, however, has proven to be a realistic way of accomplishing the utopian vision of unified commerce.

In this episode, host Josh Van Dyk talks with Filip Lindwall , Head of Sales and Sustainability Advocate at Columbus Sverige , about the concept of modern commerce.

We also discuss:

- The rules and benefits of modern commerce

- Why breaking down silos is so important

- Why people are shifting over to a content hub

- Initial steps for transitioning to modern commerce

Check out these resources mentioned during the podcast:

- Radically Smarter Commerce Podcas

For the entire interview, tune in on Apple Podcasts , Spotify, or wherever you get podcasts. 

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Masters of Content in your favorite podcast player.

Welcome to masters of content, where we discussed the experiences and ideas behind what's working in the marketing, content and creative operations space. Here you'll discover new insides from thought leaders with compelling stories about brand management, content production, new insights surrounding the digital customer experience and more. And now let's dive in. Welcome back to the masters of content podcasts. I'm your host, Josh Van Dyke. It's a beautiful day in Los Angeles today and today I'm speaking with a Philip Lynnwall from Columbus. Philip, how are you today? Yeah, we're thanks. Actually, it's in the evening and it's quite dark over here in Sweden by it's great to be in the podcast. Awesome. will welcome to the POD. I'm very thrilled to have filled because, you know, I think what Philip does, and you know what Columbus does, really is a culmination between, you know, product teams and content marketers. We talk a lot about content on this podcast, but how does that work when you're working with multiple teams and you know, some of those teams are product teams that are, you know, they overlay with the marketing team. But there's real collaboration that needs to happen there in order for their, you know, to be maximum success. So yeah, super, super thrilled to have Philip with us today. And you know, Philip and I were talking earlier. We actually have kids that are really similar in age. You have three, I only have two. So you have a little bit more, you know, more of your hands full. But how old are your kids filling? Yeah, there are six, three and just one. So I know what to do with my spare time, to say the least. Never a dull moment in the linnwall household, I'm sure of it. So now, I know you've been doing this for a long time, but you know no one. You know no one is like an expert, you know, automatically overnight. So maybe you could just tell our listeners a little bit more about your journey and kind of how you ended up where you're at today. Yeah, I would say a curiosity. It's one of the things. I tend to get very interested in things quite easily. I also really think that doing the right things for our customers it's always the the key, and also the tendency to really say more yes than note the things. That's not always a good thing. But but I think I like it developing myself and I like to learn new things. So that's pretty much where the reason why I'm here, that I'm today. I love it. By the way, I'm one one of my earlier pods. We talked a lot about curiosity, because I think that is one of the things. You know. I talked to my cousin about this, I've talked to other people like you. Don't have to know everything, but if you're curious about something, you'll learn about it and you'll be excited to learn about it and it will bring you really long way. So that's really cool that you said that. For our listeners, by the way, who don't know what Columbus is, maybe you could tell them a little bit about what you guys do holistically, what kind of verticles you serve and type of clients and so on and so forth. Yeah, sure, you could say. To start off, we are a global it consultancy.

We are around the zero employees, so the majority of the employees is in the nordics, of course, but we have a few teams in the US and also in other places in the world for different reasons. But we focus on larger product leading companies, if you can say that manufacturing, distribution, etail, retail and so on. Every every company and have a physical product. Usually the larger ones that what the digitalize their business. So digital transformation is, of course, in the central of what we do and it's everything from ARP supply chain, business intelligence, crm and, of course, the business area that I represent, that is digital commerce. That's really cool. One of the things that I know for a clumb the standpoint from you particular, is you guys were real pioneers when it comes to the term what I would call modern commerce, right, and I think this is something you may have even coined, and the more I learned about I'm like, oh, that's really cool. And a lot of people don't think about what that means to have modern commerce. And I know you've kind of put in, you know, your lucky seven. What are the things you need to be thinking about? You kind of have these seven rules of like, if you want to be a company that has really modern commerce, what does that look like? What does that concept mean? What some these seven things movie you could share and in experience upon that for our listeners. Every company that has been doing commerce for the past years probably think that they have done it in a modern way. So a modern commerce is just a new buzz word. I would say that it's realistic way of doing unified commerce. Unified Commerce has been been around for a while. That was more like a vision utopia because the tech wasn't there. Now we see in the the rise of API technology and other third party solutions that you can connect to a commerce solution that is really there. So when we talk about modern commerce today, it's pretty much an architecture where you are future proof and really flexible in changing and adapting to new consumer behavior. Especially now during the pandemic, you can, with a solution like this, outface your competition by quite a lot. If you look into how Gardner describes this, there are other definitions within modern commerce. That is MAC architecture, which stand for microservices, API first, cloud, native and headless. That is more the technical definition, but really what you need to think about is building away from monolith. Monolith is all in one solution. That was the the solution for a lot of paints previously. Now the solution is to have a more modular architecture to be more flexible in meeting new consumer be favior. That's basically it. Yeah, and you know, I know that there's, you know, companies you guys are working with that are really embracing this modern commerce concept right, and you guys have been working with them in bringing them to speed. And oftentimes, when you're working with mega corporations, it's hard to get people to move. They often move at such a... a like a molasses pace, like it's a you know, there is no iceberg dead ahead. So what type of benefits are you explaining to companies and what hape of Buness have you seen specifically from companies that you work with when they really truly embrace that modern commerce? Yeah, I was like, there's mainly two things. One is the speed of change, which means that you can adapt and release new digital channels very quickly because you have everything in place and you can just put a new head on top of everything because the underlying logic and complexity is already taken care of. The other thing is basically avoiding disruption. It's really connected to the speed of change, but some companies they disrupt themselves because they know they can. You know, Uber, for example, are B and B and all the other destructors that just enter the market. They don't have any legacy. They can just take an existing business model and do it a lot better because they don't really need to care about the old things. They can just focus on the new things. And companies that have this legacy they are subject to disruption because they can't move as quick as new company entering the market. So that's a big benefit, I would say. And it's challenging, right, if you're if you're big company, and you know, as I kind of made that titanic reference a minute minute ago, iceberg get ahead, I mean if you see the iceberg. But you're a huge company, if you're the big cruise ship, you can move, you can't steer very quickly, right. So taking that large bohemoth in making it agile again can be, you know, definitely a challenge. I'm sure you've seen that over and over again. Yeah, definitely. And and what we see is also that the way you actually approach this is like there's a great article by a Gardner describing this and what they call strangle the monolith. You can't just rip everything out and replace it with something new because you don't have the money, you don't have the time, you don't have the competence. You do it step by step, but you need to have the clear vision. You need to know, okay, we are going here and step by step, just replacing old things with new things to move towards this modern architecture. And what we see is also that a lot of companies won't go full modern architecture modern commerce. They will go pretty much hybrid, because some solutions are packaged and fit your needs really well, some solutions are best of breed and fit your needs really well as well. So you kind of need this hybrid which is probably the most common, or will be the most common, way of doing this well, and any think probably from a user adoption standpoint it's probably the easiest as well. Right, you're not ripping and replacing everything, nor could you, but instead picking the things that you want to move on and having an order and an envision. As you mentioned, is really important to get people's buying right in that kind of you know,...

...speaking of like hey, if we're going to have a vision, we probably have to have some sort of technology around that vision that allows us to take hey, this step, now, this step, now, this step, now, this step, where you're not maturing out of the technology that you're choosing right away so that you don't get to the third step and go well, I guess we need to procure something else right. So, in terms of technology, tell you know, maybe our listeners, about how that's playing a role and how you can kind of speed up omnichannel production. You know what you're seeing out. There may be any specific examples? Yeah, I would say that one important part with modern armacists breaking down silos. Breaking Down Silos has also been around for a while as a bus word, but to really work cross functional, across organizational, to really because everything that target do you want, we want to approach is a great customer experience. You need to get up there in the customer experience pyramide with convenience and everything. So you need to break down the silos, because the customer don't care about your complexity. But you need to basically, and what we see is the rise of a silo, which is a little bit paradox and it's the content hub, which is basically the core of this this podcast, is that when you're breaking things up, breaking down silos and producing so many heads where you meet the customer, you need to have a unified way of producing storing and publishing content, and I mean pim has been around for a while. What we see now is an increase from customers in the demand for content hub where you actually produce all your content. It's not only the pim, it's also taken care of the monster data, the damn the images, the media, the articles, the blogs, everything needs to be in no place where you can control it and then choose where to publish it, because you can't store the information in the customer experience layer. It needs to be somewhere else, because otherwise you are creating new silos every time you put out the new channel. So that's basically it. Yeah, you're producing content for every channel you now that you have, versus creating the content one time and pushing out army channel. By the way, there's there's price and listeners on the pod here filp that don't know what a headless C MS is. So I don't want to go way over their head, but maybe you could just give a short explanation of what a headless C ms has and how that helps marketers when they have new channels. Yeah, there are probably many people that have their own definition of a headless cms, but the headless means that it's basically it doesn't have any real smartness. It's just as space where you show content from another space or from another database. So it's very easily to just put up a new headless C ms and tell where the content should be and then you fill the content with another database, basically. So there is no head. There is no logic or thinking in the in the Cup experience layer that this done somewhere...

...else. It's just a space where you show things, basically. Yeah, so makes it easier to, you know, have multiple channels in you know, push that out and as you have a new channel to be able to push it out. I think you know, you guys have done some work with seven eleven over in Sweden, the Sweden seven eleven, and they've had some great success. Maybe you could just talk a little bit about what some of the things you did over there and what that looked like. Yeah, it's an interesting case because they chose censure as their pain. They were actually looking for an item database, but when we looked into their requirements we saw that it's much more. It was cantaigned planning, it was producing content and also publishing that two different heads. Like a cms, maybe an APP, maybe in store, these lace, etc. Etc. So what we saw was that it was basically there the core place where the marketing will work. They didn't have a real earp system either and they needed to connect it to there is a regulations in Sweden and rest of the world basically around G is one. Now you validate the information related to food and those products. So everything was managed in this content tap and what we saw now is that they wanted to use the headless module in censehare and where they could publish information from this content tap and then just pick that up from a headless cms to create new brand site, which was really cool to see how that works together. What is that brand side look like and what was the purpose of it for for listeners in terms of like what was its function? It's a new brand for them in Sweden that they are about to launch, so they wanted to create that new brand site. It's still the same products basically that they have. They have the seven advt chain and also another well established chain. So when they are starting in the third chain, they already have the information, but they can show it in a different way, which is really amazing. I mean a coke is a coke. It doesn't matter where you sell it. But still you need to produce the content and you don't want to create another sil of for a different brand. Yeah, and I know you know knocking down silence is really important, right, like you said, that's been a buzz word for a while, and one of the other brother's words that's kind of come up is is this content hub concept. Right. And so, in terms of that shift, maybe you could explain to our listeners why you're seeing that shift and why it's so important where people are kind of shifting over to a content hub? Yeah, I think that a lot of the companies see that. We need a pin, we need a dam, we need some MDM, we need some workflow, we need to can pay management, we need a publishing tool for in design, we need a place to publish to market places and so on. And when you lay out this plan for your future commerce architecture and the customer journeys you want to to cater for, it becomes quite clear that you need a unified place to really work with all of these content, because you also need to translate it, you need... break it up and work with in different ways. So I think that it's the evolution of all the other standalone systems that comes together. Basically, the companies don't really want to procure a lot of different systems in that way because if you have a system that can do it all together, it's better. Yeah, I mean then it actually talks to itself or to each other, because if you have, you know, five different systems, often times they don't play Nice together. Right. You're like, Oh, we can build an integration or we can connect to this, which is true in sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't work as well. Right, and you know, we were talking earlier about you know, what does that look like when someone actually starts to create that vision in that plan? And I talk to a lot of, you know, people on the marketing side and on the product side and supply chain side and whatnot, and oftentimes where they see that downfall of what they've done in the past is when they said I got this Pesky problem, I need to solve this one little thing, so I'm going to go procure this standalone system that solves my one little problem. Right, and then all sudden you end up with thirteen systems in data everywhere and you're like, Oh, now we've got this problem. We have a whole different problem right. So I kind of think of it as more of like, are you taking a tactical approach or strategic approach? Do you have that North Star vision of what you're looking to accomplish? And, as you said earlier, fill up? It's like people can't do it all at once, but if they have the vision to be able to say, all right, here's what we want to do, here's the steps we're going to take over the next three and five years, and they procure the right system that can do it, they're not out there procuring a bunch of other silos right. And what we see is also a sustainable part of this, and not sustainable lasting climate is more sustainable ass in when you approach this and do it the modern commerce way, you can actually find that reusing existence systems will be more relevant, because then you find that, okay, we have this fission, okay, we already have a system that can do this, but if we add this and this together, it will be quite good. And it also takes down the sense of urgency of replacing things. And another part of this is that when implementing a content hub, when you're releasing logic from the different channels. You bring the content back to one place from the channels, then it's really easy to replace those because then what is left is only technical platform that you can pretty much switch to another one or merge them, because the content is held and managed somewhere else, and that also creates a little bit of breathing space when evaluating what you should keep and what you should remove and so on. For those in like, you know, product teams or content marketers out there, they're like wow, that sounds pretty amazing. I would love to do that in our organization, but man, that seems also daunting or challenging, like, you know, taking down the situation. What might be first steps to help them maybe get some buy in, you know, and...

...this type of vision and, insertingly, get some planning internally to start putting something like this in the action over the next year? Yeah, I think there are companies out there that we meet that that's a we need to do some homework before we contact the supplier. I respect that fully, but if you find a supplier or consultant firm that has done this before, you can get some great help, somebody you can trust and work with over time that can help you lay out the strategic plan to really lay out the steps that you need to take, because it's not only tech, it's also organizational salts of process. Wise, it's the business that needs to change with this, because everybody knows by now that implementing a new system won't solve that much if you don't follow it with the rest. So I would say bringing the competence somebody that has done this before. I would say it can be hiring someone, bring in a consultancy or whatever. It can be. Yeah, you're right. I mean a new piece attack doesn't solve the problem necessarily. It is it's people, it's culture and then it's technology. Right, in terms of people that you worked with, is your kind of like this commonly held belief that maybe you question if it's effective or not. I think that we work a lot with it to be companies as well, and what we see is that there's still a lot of companies that have a hard time leaving the traditional way of selling and doing marketing. They are still in this product expert era where you haven't really transitioned into maybe the thought leaders or maybe even the empathic leaders, that there's something else than just a great product. You need to work with the customers and the convenience for the customers and some blockers is that you maybe have a sales force that you work with. They also need to change and and the digital channel should not be a threat to them. It should be something that helps them to sell more, sell more with the same maybe automate things and help sales people to focus maybe more on the physical interaction that creates more value. So you streamline and you work more with what matters when you do physically and less with things that you can actually do automatically or digital. So that would that's one of the beliefs in the B tob industry up saying yeah, and I hear you full on there, we've had a kind of wild last year and a half, right, you know, global pandemic. Have you seen companies make a shift because of that? And what have you seen were people are in your companies have pivoted? Of course, all etailers have had a great one and a half years. Yeah, massive. Yeah, massive, really really good, and the companies that had really been prepared for increasing volumes as of course, been really good off. What we've seen also is that we have had a dramatic increase from B tob companies in really starting this journey that they should have started a few years back.

So the one and a half years probably saved US five years time, I would say. In this transformation now all be to be companies want to work with customer portals, they want to work with self service, they move towards Iot, they were, work towards services, to say stun or doing not selling products. They sell products as a service, which is also really intest thing that needs a digital support. So I think that has been really great as well, you know, and a Clumus, like you said, has like twozero employees. That's a pretty large staff. You know, it's a pretty large consultancy. So what do you do, or you know any best practices on staying up today, informed in kind of this changing landscape, in kind of that Martek fashion in where that overlaps with product right here. There are a lot of different contents you can look into. I follow a lot of people on Linkedin that I know are into certain areas. I also follow a few podcasts that are quite good masters of content. Is, of course, one. There are a few others focusing on bet be marketing and be tob sales. That is quite good as well, and of course, logs videos. There are a lot of content that you can get into. It's really up to what what you're interested in specifically. Yeah, in for our listeners who want to learn a little bit more about modern commerce. I know you were on another podcast where you had to talk quite a bit about what that is and dive specifically into that topic, and I think you had to choose your rapper name, which was something fun that they do on their pod. What was the name of that podcast and when at work with it? Where could they check you out there? It's a podcast with the APTUS and the podcast is called radicalist market commerce. I think that's really good podcast, focusing a lot on software as a service, and that's pace, but also everything related to commerce. But there are a lot of great things out there. If you just search on any podcast, the platform on modern commerce, headless smack, you'll find a great things. There's also the MAC alliance. There's a lot of companies in this space, led by commerce tools. They create a lot of great content. Also, they have a podcast as well, and if our listeners wanted to connect with you and reach out to you, Philip, or Columbus in general. What would be the best way for them to do that? I would say linkedin. Just reach out on Philip Lindwall. You'll probably see my name here in the description, and just reach out on Linkedin and we can have a great discussion on pretty much anything right on. And that's Philip with an F, by the way, which is probably a lot more common in Sweden than it is in America. Yeah. Well, Philip, Hey, it's been a pleasure having you on the pod. I really enjoyed it. I'm sure our listeners will enjoy this. So thank you so much and I'll let you have a lovely rest your evening. Yeah, thank you so much. Great for having me. You've been listening to masters of content. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Like what you hear. TAP The starts to leave a rating. To learn more about marketing and tools... help you nail your digital customer experience, visit sendsharecom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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