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How do we meet the data challenges in the B2B e-commerce sector?

2 November 2022

According to a study produced by the BPI (French public investment bank) on the major trends that will transform the global economy over the next decades, the pandemic has accelerated the digitalisation processes carried out by PMEs and ETIs. The effect is even greater for companies from the B2B e-commerce sector because online sales exceeded €129 billion in 2021, compared to €112.2 in 2020 or €103.4 in 2019*. Companies must now reconcile their sales strategy with the digital world. Between technological changes and economic competition, how can they meet the data challenge?
Managing the arrival of big data in the company

The B2B e-commerce field is seeing a context of profound changes. The acceleration of digital technology is changing the requirements and expectations of French companies: the user experience, real-time availability of products, and transparency in the use of personal data must be up to standard. 
To ensure operational excellence and the provision of comprehensive solutions, data exploitation, and its integration at the heart of the company strategy are becoming vital. In this way, we’re seeing a massive increase in the volume of data processed in all companies. This is happening at such a speed that some processes are unable to adapt fast enough for their value to be extracted. We must emphasise that data collected does not necessarily add value from a business point of view, whether in operational or strategic terms. To guarantee optimal data exploitation, it’s essential to qualify the source of information, understand its involvement in the business process, and ensure the resulting veracity.

In terms of data exploitation, ETIs have a competitive advantage over large companies due to their small size, which allows them to be more agile. This characteristic enables them to develop their technological platforms more easily and replicate these changes throughout their different business lines or subsidiaries. However, they remain facing the same regulatory requirements as the largest groups as to how it is used, without necessarily having the same budgetary capacities to guarantee its exploitation.

Recruiting and onboarding employees in data culture 

To manage and exploit data, a company must invest in its employees. Establishing a data culture enables it to put in place change management and training programmes on the company’s data tools and services. For example, the deployment of new data training modules open to all employees gives an additional advantage to the company in terms of data exploitation and processing thanks to better team awareness. 

Recruitment is also key in the current labour market context. We’re seeing a hyper-specialisation of the data profiles available, as well as a strong demand from companies which are currently deploying their digital transformation. Beyond technical skills, the requirements towards people with these profiles are constantly changing. For example, they are expected to have the ability to explain their models, in total transparency, to as many people as possible. They must also be able to guarantee certain ethics in how the data is used, and a certain level of control over automated decisions.
Attracting, recruiting, and retaining talent are without a doubt THE biggest challenge that occupies the minds of all data Managers’ today. Above all, this requires working on the company’s digital transformation project. The more innovative the company project is and the more it concerns widespread and recognised technologies, the greater the company’s appeal to candidates will be. Similarly, they will feel involved in a large-scale project for the company that is stimulating on a daily basis. 


To be both effective and attractive, every company must know how to make the most of its data. This is achieved with teams that play a vital role in data analysis and evangelism, and Top Management establishing a data culture among all its employees. 
*Fevad report


photo of Guillaume Duval, CDO Manutan groupBy Guillaume Duval, Chief Data Officer of the Manutan group
published by Cadre & Dirigeant Magazine (September 2022)