Tech Talk, Low Code & Agricultural E-Commerce: Tech-telmechtel with Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud [Interview]

Tech Talk Low Code Agricultural E-Commerce Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud
Sven Petzold, team lead at dotSource & Salesforce B2B Commerce expert

»When I grow up, I want to be a storyteller«. Who, if not Sven, tells the coolest stories and manages to explain even the most abstract topics and the most challenging projects in such a way that everyone not only understands them, but also absolutely loves them? And guess what: today, he’s our interview guest. What a way to start our Tech-telmechtel interview series in 2021.

Tech Talk with Sven

Hey Sven. Who are you and what do you do at dotSource?

Well, this is one of those questions that could easily end up in a two-hour discussion.

I’m Sven and I’m team lead of a 15-person development team. For just over ten years, I’ve been assisting our clients in implementing and updating e-commerce systems. At the moment, we mainly deal with Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud and Salesforce Core Platform Stack.

Tech Talk: Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud

Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud and Core Platform Stack: Sven, what is it all about?

What makes it so exciting and also sets it apart from any other system I’ve come across so far is this combination with Salesforce Core Platform Stack.

First of all, Salesforce is a huge platform
• on which you can build any kind of application,
• for which you then get a generic back end
• where you can map and partially automate any process.

In this sandbox, Salesforce offers various applications and one of them is Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud. A few things, i.e. applications, are already in there. You can then use one of them for your project, license it and customise it to suit your own processes. If none of the sandbox components fits your purpose, you can use Salesforce Core Platform Stack to build something completely new. The nice thing about it is that everyone works with the same system and the same database because everything’s stored in one single system.

Tech Talk: Low-Code Platforms

No power to data silos, so to speak ? This sandbox you are talking about is – buzzword alert – a low-code platform, right?

Exactly. Salesforce has always offered this platform and now there’s finally a nice name for it ^^

So low-code means that coding amateurs, i.e. people who are not developers, can also work with this platform or the corresponding cloud, regardless of their department?

That’s right. There are different levels of adaptation, or better: escalation stages. This low-code platform is based on process automation and you can certainly do complex things, but there are also limitations. In general, it can be observed that commerce projects do no longer require as much development effort.

However, especially with complex data transformations and complicated cases, you’ll reach a limit at some point. That’s where code comes into play again. You’ll also have more degrees of freedom then.

Can you give me an example? For such a limitation of a low-code platform?

Sure. Vast amounts of data are a great example. Let’s say I want to import a million prices and ask myself: how can I get all the data in there without having to go through every data set 1000 times? This is where you have to work on the code – and you have to do so algorithmically. That means you take these low-code snippets as well as these data sets and break them up into chunks.

Tech Talk and App Store Analogies

Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud is still a relatively new solution, isn’t it?

You have to distinguish between two versions here: there’s Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud Classic, which Salesforce acquired from CloudCraze in 2018. It has a slightly different technological structure than the Lightning version.

There are basically three ways to get something into the platform.

  • 1: It’s already part of the platform. This can be compared to smartphones and app stores. When you buy a new smartphone, certain apps are already pre-installed. In the case of Salesforce, this would be Sales or Service Cloud.
  • 2: You get something from the app store. That’s how you used to get Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud.
  • 3: I customise something in the project. I write code directly and configure my platform via low code so that it suits my needs.

To stick with the app analogy: if I do this via the app I got from the app store, it has certain limitations… for this reason, Salesforce redesigned Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud and launched the initial version in the middle of 2020.

Tech Talk: Benefits of Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud

What are the biggest advantages of Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud in your opinion?

It’s clear that the platform as such unfolds its full potential when you really use the various cloud solutions together. Salesforce offers excellent cloud solutions – and cloud-only is its golden thread.

This way, Salesforce makes its customers happy with several updates a year. You actually get what the software provider promises in its sales campaigns – no immense initial costs and a system that you can develop from scratch, and you’re always provided with updates. There’s no way you’re not taking advantage of that.

Tech Talk: B2B Agricultural Commerce

You and your team have been working with many clients from the agricultural industry over the past year. It seems like Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud is very popular in this industry, isn’t it?

Digitisation has long played a major role in the agricultural industry and agricultural companies have already done a lot. However, they still need to take the last step, i.e. work on their customer relationships, e-commerce per se. They have a long way to go in that regard.

And yes, it’s precisely companies that are in the process of setting up their e-commerce business that benefit from platforms such as Salesforce and solutions such as Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud.

In some way, the last step is also a first step – the first step towards successful digital customer relationships. Thank you, Sven.

Tech Insights: Multi-Cloud Salesforce DXP for KWS SAAT

Service and Shopping KWS SAAT Multi-Cloud Salesforce DXP

As mentioned above, Sven and his team have worked with many agricultural companies, for example with our client KWS SAAT. Find out in our brand new »MVP for a Higher Service Level: KWS SAAT Launches Multi-Cloud Salesforce DXP« success story how the pioneer in B2B agricultural commerce has managed to transfer B2C standards into B2B.

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