BORN Group CEO Dilip Keshu’s CV includes stints at a variety of companies that include an aeronautics firm, a consultancy, and a handful of software providers. As his LinkedIn profile reads, “Over the many years, I have been involved in the acquisition of six companies, the divestment of three, and the listing of one.” In his current role, he oversees BORN Group, a creative design, content production and commerce solutions company that provides systems integration services to eCommerce sites, among other things. We spoke with Keshu to get his take on the mergers and acquisitions taking place in the eCommerce sector, some tips on evaluating vendors, and a lesson on the lineage of a few Tolkien characters.
TurnTo Networks: There’s been a significant amount of acquisition and consolidation among eCommerce platforms in recent years. How will this affect the eCommerce sector?
Dilip Keshu: Small agile companies are usually the first to address new areas of functionality that find appeal with customers—over time larger companies buy these boutiques and stitch them under one logo. This doesn’t really mean that under the covers the large companies have retooled the products they have acquired or even integrated them perfectly.
So for a while customers leaned towards large companies—all stack—but there are signs that the pendulum is preparing itself for a correction. The signal is the growth of microservices based architectural solutions.Customers are buying best of breed products again and combining them with all-stack solutions. So the mergers and acquisition activity in the eCommerce space is creating market discontinuities in solutioning, and clearly redefining the services landscape as systems integrators have to offer many specialisms to stay in the game.
TurnTo: How should online stores who want to replatform evaluate the services available to them?
Keshu: eCommerce platforms have somewhat caught up with each other. So the criteria to pick a product to meet the requirements of a minimum viable product has to extend to many other parameters.
That includes things like internal ability to support the tech stack; fast-follow requirements of your industry—B2B, B2C, banking, finance, manufacturing, retail, fashion, et cetera; architectural support—all stack monolith versus microservices; cost of ownership over a certain number of years; width of coverage—CPQ, CRM, OMS, PIM, DAM, ERP, CMS, loyalty, segmentation, analytics, campaigns, and so on.
At BORN we help clients assign weights to the anchors that are important and help score fit, function and form of various solutions to make the best choice.
TurnTo: You’ve got a cat called Batu Boromir that appears to be named (at least in part) after a character from J.R.R. Tolkien lore. What appeal does the author’s work hold for you?
Keshu: Tolkien’s legendarium is a fantasy-retelling of Armageddon so it has timeless value in as much as people are interested in good triumphing over evil. It is a story of hope, temptation, success, failure, love, reality and magic, beasts and humans, war and peace, eternity and the ephemeral qualities of life.Some great author will write a newer and fancier interpretation of the final battle referenced in the Book Of Revelation and a whole new generation will read it and love it. Till then the book trilogy will stay necessary reading and for the more visual lot, the movies will be popular.
But you have it a bit wrong. Batu Boromir is the great-grandfather of Denethor, who sired Boromir, who was born in 2978, and who features in Tolkien’s epic. You see Batu B was not named after his great grandson—but the other way around.
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