Technology is always changing, and organizations are busy. Your team is making changes, other departments are making changes, your partner is making changes. So how do you keep track of what your technical ecosystem looks like?
An ecosystem map visually showcases third-party touchpoint and data flow, allowing both deep technical and less technical people alike to understand how your website works. As a partner, we find ecosystem maps are critical to discovery discussions, documenting technical changes, and knowledge sharing (internally in your organization and with partners).
An ecosystem map will document your data as it relates to how your e-commerce platform works and functions, as in the example below:
Your organization’s ecommerce ecosystem map can:
- visually show where all of your third-party touchpoints are and the integrations used for the touchpoint,
- document your systems of records,
- map out the data flows (from where to where and how)
- ensure all data is accounted for ( PIMs, ERPs, data feeds, OMS, email providers, loyalty programs, etc.)
It helps to have an ecosystem map to visualize both your current state and your future state. If you have a current state ecosystem, it can help your partners get up to speed more quickly, ask you more pointed questions during discovery, and understand how your ecosystem works. Your future state ecosystem map can be documented as you begin your replatform or large project, mapping the changes made in data flows or third-party integrations.
It’s important to note that your ecosystem map is a living document to help document changes and handle change management as you are replacing or adding tools. Not only should updates be made as part of a replatform, but you should also continue to update your ecosystem map post-launch, any time a change is made to your ecosystem.
Lastly, ecosystem maps also help retain knowledge and align teams, both for your partner and internally. Many of us have heard of or experienced those situations where a technical or ecommerce team member leaves, and documentation is lost. An ecosystem map ensures your technical documentation and knowledge base stays within your organization, and it bridges gaps in discussions on what your systems are capable of doing.
If you don’t have an ecosystem map, you can build one internally or with your partner. You’ll find the value of your ecosystem map extends far past your replatform!
Bonus Tip: if you have questions about your data and processes, get clarification! It may just be the best time to challenge the way things have “always been done” and innovate for the future!