Amzed Hussain is Echidna’s Sr. Director of Technology & Innovation. What does that mean? Well, we’ll let him explain. Watch the video and follow along with the interview text below.
Luke: To get started, introduce yourself.
Amzed: Hey, I’m Amzed. I work as a Senior Director of Technology and Innovation at Echidna. I’ve been with the company for the last five and a half years. My role is pretty much to look after the technology needs, as well as the delivery and innovation parts.
Luke: What eCommerce technology trends do you see coming in the next three years?
Amzed: I think the trends are going to be evolving with newer and newer users coming online. The shopping behavior is constantly changing, and with this change, the technology’s going to be pushed pretty hard. And then we have this current trend SMAC — Social Media, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud — which is going to get consolidated further. And there will be new opportunities emerging in social commerce. B2B markets are going to get much bigger. We also have new markets emerging, and especially the payment systems are really evolving, with Google Wallet and Apple Pay. There are exciting times ahead for the technology, especially with the commerce needs changing every month, every day. I think we’re going to see technology going through a pretty drastic shift in the next three years.
Luke: What kind of projects does Echidna like to work on?
Amzed: If you look at our portfolio of work, it’s pretty unique. That’s one of our unique selling propositions — we do different projects and a lot of unique projects. Not only unique and different in the technology and experience, but also the industry. If you’re asking about something specifically, we did one really interesting implementation last year with company called Boathouse Sports. The requirements were pretty unique — they had to build hundreds of microsites every month, and with the conventional commerce approach, it wasn’t possible. So we went really outside of the box in terms of our thinking, pushing the technology and meeting the need. It was not only building microsites; it had a lot of business rules like thresholds, reports getting generated automatically, the store getting automatically closed — we made the whole process automatic. The processes which we automated used to be done manually by the customer. So they maybe did one site a month before, and now they can do it in a couple of minutes. That’s one of the coolest implementations we’ve done recently.
Luke: What’s Echidna’s approach to R&D?
Amzed: I think as a company we spend a lot of time and money in R&D. We build base products, which helps to reduce the timeline and the cost for our clients’ projects and makes it very competitive in the market. As a systems integrator partner, we bring a lot to the table with these base products. We have pre-built integrations also, so we don’t have to go through a huge process for key integrations like social, checkout, recommended products — with a little bit of customization, they can hit the market. One of our key strengths is building hybrid apps, where in a short period we can use the hybrid app technology and cater to clients’ iOS, Android, and Windows needs. We’ve also done quite a bit with beacons, checkout, and apps. We’re constantly looking for new futuristic opportunities and what the retail industry needs, and we focus some of our energy on doing those things.
Luke: What advice would you give to a company looking to do an eCommerce replatform?
Amzed: Companies looking to replatform need to change their approach of how they’re going to evaluate the new platform. Traditionally, we have seen companies looking at features and functionality along with cost. But because eCommerce on its own is going through such an evolution every year, people need to look at future needs and what they’ll want in a year or two. Whether it’s social plus mobile, an omni-channel experience, analytics, an app, integrations they need with changing industry conditions — people have to keep the futuristic industry needs. More business users want more flexibility in terms of changing the content dynamically and frequently, and these are a few key things that a company needs to keep in mind in terms of a replatform. It can’t just be features and cost anymore. And you also have to look at the timeline. Some of the larger platforms take a lot of time to implement, and with the current trends evolving every year, companies should look at a platform they can implement and upgrade in phases, rather than going all in one shot.