SD Partnership Profile: Logic Broker

SD Partnership Profiles: Logicbroker

The Logicbroker relationship started in early 2013 when our Director of Interactive Software, Jon Tudhope, needed to identify a Magento extension that delivered EDI translation. We were pitching to a large, multi-national apparel brand, and of course they needed a quick proposal. We started to look at Logicbroker, which was the leading technology in the space. They were immediately responsive and helpful, so we took a deeper look into forming a partnership.

Could we check the boxes for characteristics of a quality partnership (see original post)? Here’s what we found:

Quality of product or service

They had an easy-to-implement Magento extension with a history and an intuitive architecture.

Flexibility of engagement structures

They were willing to work with us on a POC, and they offered multiple, transparent pricing objects.

Trust between the organizations

This had to develop over time, but we started dealing with individuals who could commit the company, so their word was more powerful than in other instances when we dealt lower-level salespeople.

Availability and quality of the client-service team

We were given direct access to their developers and collaborated with them to craft a solution.

Access to leadership for escalation

Within weeks, I was meeting the CEO for pizza at a conference in Chicago and playing in his foursome at a local golf outing. Suffice it to say, I was at the top of the organization.

Understanding that good services businesses serve their clients, not their vendor partners

This philosophy has been tested multiple times, and—like trust—it can’t be validated in the short-term. But these guys exemplify the client-first perspective.

So yes, check the boxes for Logicbroker. Not only are they the the kings of the EDI and drop-ship automation space for Magento, NetSuite, and others, but they would make for a great SD partnership. They started with a small, niche play, and they’ve grown their product through hard work and faith in their vision.

In short, we love these guys. Just completed some roundtable Q&A between Logicbroker’s CEO Peyman Zamani, their VP of Digital Commerce George Heudorfer, and me. Here’s the transcript of our conversation.



Jon Klonsky: Peyman, what inspired you to start Logicbroker

Peyman Zamani: About 6 or 7 years ago, I was still at Office Depot running ecommerce and doing some other things. I saw these powerful platforms bursting on to the scene—Magento, BigCommerce, Demandware. It was getting easy for people to set up their own web shop and process orders. They could go from 0 to 10 to 100 million dollars a year pretty quickly. But then I realized that everyone was neglecting the middle part—what was happening on the backend. Connecting to suppliers, fulfillment centers, drop-shippers, and order processing.

Everyone was thinking that the customer experience was about a great looking website and a great product assortment, which it is—but only in part. Ultimately when you attract those customers and sell to them, you still want to make sure the products are delivering on time, and the tracking and delivery notification happen properly. That’s also a part of it. And for the merchants, they need to ensure orders don’t short-ship or overship.

So I thought, wouldn’t it be great to create a platform that does all that. It would have to account for the older technologies like EDI or flat file data transfer that companies are still using in their warehouses and 3PLs. But it would need to modernize the supply chain data integration. That was the vision.

And also I was turning 40 (laughs). It was time to leave the Fortune 500 company, do my own thing and have a great story to tell my grandchildren. So that was the inspiration.

 

JK: So George, over to you. What role does Logicbroker serve in the ecommerce ecosystem?

George Heudorfer: With Logicbroker our Tag line—if you look at our logo—it’s “connecting your ecommerce ecosystem.” And I believe that’s where we present the most value. It’s providing the connectivity for the fragmented systems that play a role in ecommerce. Everyone is striving to launch a great ecommerce presence. But often behind the scenes, the systems are disparate, and it becomes very expensive to do these one-off integrations at any type of scale. With Logicbroker it’s very easy to onboard new spokes to that hub and leverage the now existing infrastructure to quickly add additional spokes: a drop-ship supplier, a big-box retailer, a marketplace, or a pure-play e-tailer. And it’s not just the connectivity, but it’s some of the performance management. It’s the overall enrichment that Logicbroker brings to that order lifecycle.

 

JK: What type of merchant should want to incorporate your technology? Obviously you’re not for everyone.

PZ: Correct. Any merchant that is serious about growing their online business could essentially take advantage of our technology. If they want to grow it by offering product to drop-shippers, if they want to simplify their warehouse integration, if they need to improve their 3PL integration, or if they need to automate to accommodate a growing order volume. Those are great merchants for us.

 

JK: Can you describe your most unique implementation?

GH: Part of the uniqueness of Logicbroker as a platform is that although each integration is slightly different. We’re using the same infrastructure for every implementation, but configurations are unique to each client.

If I can think of a specific example, we’re working with one of the world’s leading brands in the apparel space. They happen to run SAP as their ERP system. We started integrating with their Magento store for ecommerce, and they’re a pure EDI play. It was an acquisition they had made. They needed to be up and running very quickly. With Logicbroker, they could feed order information to their ERP as EDI. As strange as that is—they sent EDI to themselves and then back to themselves to close out shipments and keep inventory in synch.

From there, we grew that integration to connect not only the Magento store, but also ecommerce properties around the world. So APAC was a big play for them—to be able to bring in order information. But that didn’t come across as EDI, they went with an XML interface. It was very simple for the SAP side to be able to consume information in a simplified, standardized format, and then Logicbroker to organize the spaghetti for each of the ecommerce properties and their details.

 

JK: That’s very interesting. Were all of the properties on Magento?

GH: They were not.

 

JK: So Logicbroker integrates cross-platform also.

GH: It’s cross-platform. There’s a Shopify connection—which we haven’t released just yet. And there are marketplaces and big box stores sending orders via EDI, XML, and CSV for the B2B division. But to SAP, it comes in the same format every time with a different ID, based on the originating order.

 

JK: So George, what distinguishes your approach to client service?

GH: At Logicbroker, attitude is a reflection of leadership. There are lots of great technology solutions out there. We differentiate ourselves on the operations-plus-technology model.

We’re dPaaS (Data Platform as a Service), and we offer that white glove model, so we invest very heavily on our resources. They’re not only up to date on technology in our sector, but also have training and roots in supply chain automation.

Our clients don’t just get a username and password to our software along with a “best of luck.” That’s not the way it works, and it’s not the way we’ve seen clients be successful. It’s dedicating a point of contact who owns all things with that client and becomes the liaison with our development resources here at Logicbroker, our communications experts, our EDI mappers, our business team. All that flows through the dedicated point of contact. And that really is unique in our space. We size our company in a way that makes sense. We can scale that because our software scales, and ultimately deliver our customers not only a faster, but a more pleasant implementation.

 

JK: Do things ever go badly? How do you respond in those instances? Because from my perspective, that’s what people really want to know.

GH: I would love to say that everything always goes perfectly–but things do go wrong. And when they go wrong, the first thing from our side is we want to be an organization that lets all parties involved know that things have gone wrong.

Responsiveness is key. We have monitoring in place to alert us and ultimately our clients and trade partners. Even if we don’t have the answer, we want to at least raise the flag and say, “we’re looking into this. This may be something small or a symptom of something larger.” And then we get the right people engaged from our side. We not only provide the data, but also the tools and services to remedy things swiftly.

PZ: And just to add–Things go wrong, like George was saying. But luckily, over the years, we’ve been exposed to the ways things can trip us up. Maybe an FTP connection is down, or something happened with a certificate on the other side, or something else is going on. We can now anticipate where the problems might be, and we have field monitoring that alerts us immediately. I always told my product folks that if we have a problem, I want us to know first—before the customer. And we built our monitoring tools with this philosophy.

 

JK: How about both of you tell me something about your corporate values?

PZ: We’re very good at balancing work and life. We work really hard. Everyone here puts in maximum effort—not because I tell them to, but because they love what they do. We do cool stuff, and the team is responding even during the nights and weekends. If the customer asks for something, we’re responding.

But we also value the personal time that people need. If someone leaves early to go to a kid’s recital, or they volunteer for the robotic team, or they’re sponsoring a charity event; they’re encouraged to do those sorts of things. And the personal seems to extend to the client relationships—where clients tell us about going to a kid’s swim meet or to a fundraiser. We’re a relationship company, which is key for our success and corporate values.

GH: Everybody is very much invested. People here are great teammates. We care about each other; we care about the platform. We OWN the car. We’re not renting it, and it’s not a punch-the-clock type organization, where you come in from 9 to 5 and you hide in a cube. There are a lot of great organizations where you can do that, but the people that we bring on want to ensure that they get a taste. We move fast here. We’re nimble, and we have big goals. We’ve got a clear vision on where we want to be in 6 months or a year from now. We want to make sure we have the right people; we have the right seat on the bus for them that can help us all execute on that vision.

 

JK: Peyman, care to talk about your vision for growth? Keep it high-level.

PZ: I want people to think about Logicbroker when they think about supply chain data integration or data management or EDI in a digital commerce world. I want the them to just say Logicbroker—like “let’s just Logicbroker it.” The same way people use the term “Google” instead of “online search.” Did you Google that idea? We want to become a verb.

The market is very fragmented, very large. Some our competitors are generating lots of revenue from old technology. So we’re going after business with newer and better technology and better people. We can move faster and do more with what we have, and the industry is starting to recognize.

 

JK: What’s the strangest thing you ever purchased online?

PZ: Racks to set up my wine cellar.

GH: I was in a bar in Chicago, and I saw this amazing picture. It was black and white, and it just struck me. It was this giant science building at what could have been a university. It was completely engulfed in flames. And at the front of the building, in the snow, there was a football game being played. It was actually at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. The AP caught it in 1967, and I just had to have this picture. And this is early on in Internet commerce, but I tracked it down online, and I have it in my house.

 

JK: What’s the one technology that’s about to inspire change in retail?

GH: Personalization combined with artificial intelligence. In our business with drop-ship and extended aisle, the digital shelf where you’re not warehousing and you want to upload products quickly, how do you connect with your client—the brand customer, the retail customer—to make that happen? Personalization with artificial intelligence starts to break down barriers.

PZ: I’m going to say the same thing. Artificial Intelligence—around predictive behavior. We can be using it to help merchants predict what they need from suppliers. And even our support team is starting to incorporate AI in beta—so when a client question comes in, we will already know how to categorize and respond to the issue.

 

JK: Is there one company in online retail that you each admire? And why?

PZ: I admire Amazon.

I think these guys are solid, and all the competitors hate them. They have an impact in everything they go after. For them, it’s efficiency. When they pursue something, it’s all about automation. They think through what’s happening end to end, and they don’t cut corners.

GH: Zebit. They’re disrupting the underserved credit space, and I know the owners. They’re an incredible company with a tremendous idea.

 

JK: And one finale question: with conference season coming up, where are you planning to have a presence?

PZ: Shoptalk, Imagine, IRCE, Imagine and Shop.org

 

I so appreciate your time here, guys. Thanks for indulging me.

For more information on Logicbroker, visit their site www.logicbroker.com.

Will be sharing another profile in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back. Have a comment? Send one now ›

Summer Hires

New Series – SD Partner Profiles

Business can be cold and dispassionate. The rules of engagement tend to focus on bottom line and the removal of emotion. But that can’t be the only focus when you deliver professional services. Like it or not, quality professional services need to be delivered with emotional awareness also. And when you work in dispersed ecosystem, like ecommerce, it helps to identify like-minded partners, who support—or even complement—your service model.

I used to play poker with my high school buddies, and one of them would start every game by saying, “I’m not here to make friends,” which meant I don’t need to be doing friend stuff when I’m trying to make money. In my early twenties, I thought this perspective was correct for doing business. But I learned that in a services business this philosophy leads to failure.

We’ve shaped SD to build lasting, valuable relationships with our clients that transcend the daily grind and focus on long-term. And in ecommerce, your partners often become extensions of your offering. Therefore, we need our partners to ascribe to the same focus.

On occasion, you develop a partnership that transcends financial transactions, go-to-market strategies, and the typical rules of business engagement. At SD, we have several of these, and it’s interesting to call out what characterizes them:

1. Quality of product or service
2. Flexibility of engagement structures
3. Trust between the organizations
4. Availability and quality of the client-service team
5. Access to leadership for escalation
6. Understanding that good services businesses serve their clients,
not their vendor partners

The common idea here is that a high-quality partner is someone who aligns with your approach to each client. The effective handoff of an account between partners incorporates an implied trust between those partners. We’re confident that each party can stay on point and put the client interest first. Neither side takes advantage and—in the end—all parties are better served.  To make this work, you must be willing to take the long view: it’s not about a single engagement for a single client. These partnerships are long-term, spanning multiple engagements for multiple shared clients.

This series focuses on companies and people we hold in high regard. We’ve likely had multiple successes with them, and they fulfill the six characteristics above. Additionally, like us, they ARE here to make friends.

Part I coming soon—don’t miss this!

Written by Jon Klonsky, Principal and Founder