Recently I had the opportunity to do a deep dive analysis and evaluation of 2, of the top 3 eCommerce packages on the market. IBM Web Sphere Commerce & Hybris Multichannel eCommerce. The other comparable product is ATG and since it’s recent acquisition by Oracle was not a consideration.
Both packages that I evaluated have their relative strengths and weaknesses. Neither one is completely superior to the other, choice comes down to the unique needs of your business.
1. Powerful “out of the box” capability. If your business is more of a traditional eCommerce vertical you may not need much customization.
2. Acquisition of Sterling Commerce provides a best in class OMS. While not a part of the WebSphere Commerce product, the integration is pre-packaged.
3. “Nobody ever got fired by using IBM”.
4. Documentation is easy to use and access from anywhere.
5. Their “Smarter Commerce” strategy makes a lot of sense from a business perspective.
6. Integration with Coremetrics is tight and opens up a lot of opportunity to improve digital marketing.
1. Content Management (WCMS) is quite weak and will most likely require a 3rd party product to fit the needs of your content developers.
2. WebSphere Commerce OMS capability is weak, will likely require the additional Sterling Commerce OMS product at additional cost and integration complexity.
3. IBM’s strategy has long been to buy technology companies and “Integrate” them with WebSphere Commerce. This strategy is great for marketing and quickly adding capabilities but is a huge problem for their customers. Maintaining the integration between all of these products is a lot of overhead. A survey of WebSphere Commerce users indicates an overwhelming percentage of them are on versions at least 2 major releases back. Upgrading the product is a significant undertaking.
3. The product architecture EJB requires a fairly highly qualified and expensive engineering team to customize and maintain.
1. Highly flexible platform built on the Spring architecture.
2. The Product Content Management (PCM) capability is best in class. Managing structured or unstructured data in relation to a product catalog is very powerful.
3. WCMS is good out of the box, the UI is a little clunky but once you get used to it the capability is powerful.
4. The Hybris production was built with internationalization in mind, adding multi-currency and multi-language is straightforward.
5. Great consulting firm partnerships for implementation and integration.
6. Recent acquisition of iCongo greatly improves their OMS capability.
1. The administrative UI is clunky, Hybris is aware of it and has greatly improved it but there is room to improve here.
2. Product documentation is lacking, most of their information is exposed through a Wiki and quite technical in nature.