In our new research, Forrester establishes standards for which technical functions are core (required) and common (often included) to the primary categories of commerce tech. Our Function-First Tech Buying Framework enables digital businesses to identify just the functions they need and reduce tech ecosystem bloat.

The Problem

Digital businesses inadvertently build commerce tech ecosystems that are bloated, inefficient, and unnecessarily costly.

Why? The market has recognized only categories of commerce tech, like order management systems (OMS), content management systems (CMS), and commerce solutions. Solutions in each category provide a combination of technical functions with lots of variation between vendors and overlap between categories. There haven’t been parameters to define the functions and how they actually solve business problems. Legacy solutions have amplified the problem with all-or-nothing, monolithic tech.

The Ensuing Pain And Cost To Digital Businesses

Digital businesses have to attempt to compare solutions across the categories of commerce tech without standardization of which functions each category must provide (core function) and which it might provide (common function). Vendors’ marketing messaging adds to the confusion. Without standard definitions in place, vendors go to market with solutions that are incomplete, overly broad, or otherwise ill-defined, meaning tech buyers have to tease out the core and common functions.

This situation results in ecosystems with lots of overlapping functionality and exponential complexity for digital businesses to maintain. At the same time, businesses wind up with unexpected gaps in functionality and struggle to identify just the functions they need to fill the gaps without evaluating another large system.

The Solution

Rather than seeking a category of commerce tech as an investment (e.g., OMS) digital business leaders should identify the tech function that will solve their current business problem (e.g., store fulfillment tools or distributed order management). Look to vendors to provide only what you need.

Forrester’s new Function-First Tech Buying Framework defines the primary core (required) and common (often included) functions across nine commerce tech categories. For example, order entry and processing is core for the POS category and also common in commerce, OMS, and billing.


How Digital Businesses Can Apply Function-First Tech Buying Now

1. Follow our guide below to identify the high-level functions that you need today.

2. Use our new report, Master Commerce Tech Evolution With Function-First Thinking, to find the function you need and identify which categories offer it.

3. Get in touch with your Forrester analyst to pressure-test your plan. We’re here to help!

4. Stay tuned for our content that dives deeper into what you can expect from the functions included in each category.