Box UK survey finds 88% of ecommerce leaders concerned about technical debt following “kneejerk” digitalisation
8 SEPT, 2022. Enterprise software development company Box UK has released the results of its 2022 Ecommerce Report. The survey of 200 UK ecommerce leaders at enterprise organisations with more than £10m revenue reveals that on average, businesses lost 10% in revenue due to downtime and website performance issues in the last two years. This is despite businesses investing more in ecommerce solutions due to the pandemic and Brexit; almost half (48%) of respondents said their spending had increased in the last two years. Almost all respondents (97%) said that Brexit created ecommerce operational challenges for their organisation.
However, the majority (88%) of ecommerce leaders are concerned that these investments are creating technical debt that will impact their ability to be agile and innovative in the future. When asked, respondents estimate their current ecommerce infrastructure will become outdated within the next two and a half years.
“Ecommerce was already transforming, but businesses have condensed three to four years of digital transformation into a matter of months. Many will pay the price from this rapid “kneejerk” digitalisation without a clear strategy for delivery,” commented Allie Brock, Head of Ecommerce, Box UK. “As more services move online, the impact of poor digital performance is more significant. While a business might be able to absorb a 10% loss as a one-off, it’s simply not sustainable over time. Despite high levels of investment, most businesses are not yet realising value from the solutions they have invested in and are poorly placed to take advantage of future trends. Given the uncertainty currently surrounding the global economy, companies must ensure their investments help to build greater resiliency to external events while allowing them to keep innovating.”
Technical debt results in a lack of agility that impacts customer experiences and holds companies back from taking advantage of new technologies and trends. 72% of ecommerce leaders said they were frustrated by the speed they can make changes to their existing ecommerce platform, such as adding new functionality or integrating with third-party services. Further, businesses are missing out on opportunities due to the limitations of their current ecommerce solutions that cannot automatically deploy in new locations or be easily amended. The majority (90%) of respondents said they find it challenging to deploy new ecommerce technologies simultaneously and easily across geographical locations.
“Many organisations quickly spun up an online channel in recent years, but failed to think about new investments in line with business strategy or with an eye on the future. Given that the pace of transformation will continue to accelerate, with new technologies – from NFTs to the metaverse – set to cause more upheaval, ecommerce businesses need to prepare now to maintain a competitive edge,” continued Brock. “Businesses that remain reliant on monolithic and outdated architectures cannot integrate new features or make changes to their online operations at the speed required, and will continue to miss out on revenue opportunities.”
Businesses failing to check security and performance frequently enough
The research also explored how businesses today are monitoring the performance and security of their online ecommerce operations. It found that while 82% of businesses surveyed have experienced an increase in the number of security threats within the last two years, 36% fail to check the security of their ecommerce operations within a three-month window. When it comes to online performance, regular “health checks” are an important method of gaining insights into ecommerce performance. However, 31% of businesses fail to check performance within a three-month window.
“While advances in digitalisation are enabling businesses to build exceptional experiences, failings in technology can equally have a negative impact and force customers elsewhere,” said Riley Fike, Global Head of Partnerships, WordPress VIP. “Ecommerce operations fit for today and the future need secure and agile solutions that can auto-scale with demand. Businesses need the flexibility to rapidly deploy into new geographies and markets to serve customers seamlessly. But many are hamstrung by the limitations of their current ecommerce solutions and cannot easily roll out new features and integrations to meet customer demands.”
The complete Box UK report, Rethinking ecommerce: Overcoming pain points and challenges for a business fit for the digital future, can be downloaded here.