Three Lessons To Accelerate Your B2B Commerce Initiative



CI&T recently had the honor of hosting a group of senior executives from global B2B industries, including Consumer Packaged Goods, Healthcare, Life Science, Retail, and e-Commerce. In a private and intimate setting, and following the Chatham House Rule, we facilitated candid discussions on topics relating to digital strategy, transformation, and operational excellence. Our goal to examine how digital innovation takes place in B2B commerce also nurtured a peer-to-peer exchange of ideas and observations that transcend any one enterprise or industry.
Based on the overall feedback and attendee engagement, the event was an apparent success. More importantly, we left with a treasure trove of insightful business lessons that we felt would deliver value for broader audiences. Below we summarize three insights from the event, complete with examples illustrating how they take shape inside the modern enterprise.

1. Use Simple Operating Principles:

Use a set of principles to evaluate initiatives that should be tackled by your organization. Making these principles simple to understand and execute consistently by your team empowers decentralized decision-making for a faster, more efficient organization at scale.
A CEO shared with us the two questions he forces his organization to answer before taking on new projects. When considering new initiatives, the team asks:
1. Does this initiative add value to our customer immediately?
2. Does this initiative allow us to be more competitive in our current market?

If either of these questions yields a “yes,” the initiative moves on to to be prioritized and executed. Otherwise, it’s placed in a parking lot and revisited down the road.

2. Fund it, Fix it, or Flush it:

Leaders must have the courage to take bold actions on initiatives that are not yielding results. Whether it’s making changes to the project resources, team structure/scope, or shutting a project down completely to redirect people and funding to more critical initiatives, leaders must actively explore options that promote accountability and operational zeal.
A Senior IT Executive shared a case where an IT project team developed a particular solution based on a platform bet that didn’t pay off. The tech was excellent but didn’t get used by the enterprise. In other words, it was a solution in search of a problem. Despite the impressive technical achievement, the project team and scope had to be adjusted to align more tightly with value-generating priorities in the enterprise. 

3. Build for Good Enough and Validate Quickly:

It’s crucial to align the solution complexity to the business requirements. It’s easy to overshoot the solution scope for the sake of elegance, or future conditions that don’t yet exist. Organizations need to balance capturing market opportunities with the appropriate level of validation to justify dedicating precious time and resources.

One of our Global VP guests provided a case regarding a B2B platform built by one of the organizations’ regional teams. The project took several years to build out. The final platform was very robust and elegantly constructed, but by the time the solution was ready, the requirements and operating environment had significantly changed, yielding the platform useless. 
Meanwhile, a separate team was moving quickly to validate their ideas and secure funding. To glean accurate signals while moving fast, they opted to run rapid internal validations to eliminate some ideas before testing with sales and B2B trade partners next. The graduated validation process allowed the team to manage project scope while maintaining an impressive velocity.

We hope you find value in these ideas and encourage your feedback and comments. Do you have a similar example that illustrated one or more of the lessons from above or a different case? We want to hear from you. Connect directly with us with your thoughts.