What Makes Six Vertical Different?
"Why should we work with Six Vertical?"
I get asked this question a lot. Usually I'm talking to a prospective client and it's during the early stages of our relationship.
I welcome this question and I enjoy answering it.
When Six Vertical was started, we wanted to focus all our energies and resources on being excellent at one thing. We wanted to bring a specific expertise to the market we believe is in short supply.
Commerce technology has become sophisticated and advanced. The fast pace of technological changes make it challenging for people and organizations to keep up.
Most enterprise teams responsible for managing a digital channel are missing deep knowledge about e-commerce execution. Some companies we talk to still ask about WYSIWYG page builders, hosted payment forms and other outdated technologies.
Knowing how prevalent the knowledge deficit is in the market, we set out to create a firm that attacks it head on.
Our vision is to create a first-class digital commerce consultancy that helps individuals and organizations learn how to execute modern digital commerce at a high level.
We're laser-focused on solving the business and technical challenges of omnichannel B2B commerce. We want to connect buyers and sellers the world over.
We want to work with parts of a business accountable for revenue. Creating technologies and experiences that impact the top line is what we do.
We understand there are other firms our prospective customers can choose to work with. We welcome the competition because we're confident in our capabilities and we have real-world client success to prove it.
Digital commerce is all we do. It shapes how we recruit, hire, train and the new knowledge we gain every day.
This type of hyper-focus creates three differentiators that separate us other firms. They are:
- Commerce Implementation Expertise
- Solution Accelerators
Commerce Implementation Expertise
Large-scale B2B digital commerce implementations are complex. Commerce solutions are multi-faceted and involve a variety of systems. Implementations are not academic nor procedural and they require a team with cross-discipline expertise to be successful.
The value Six Vertical brings to the market is the breadth of our commerce implementation knowledge and experience. We have expertise across all the key disciplines needed to meet the demands of a B2B commerceengagement and bring your digital commerce vision to life.
We help our clients define the architecture of all applications involved in the delivery of e-commerce. We create documentation explaining how the various systems and subsystems will interact to create the solution.
The solution design is not limited to just to the e-commerce platform, but rather encompasses the entire architecture. Back-office applications, payment providers, identity management and integration endpoints are examples of components part of our overall designs.
Six Vertical's solution architects are responsible for the solution design. They have 7+ years leading the design and implementation of enterprise applications.
Key skills include user research, business process analysis, technical writing and user story documentation. They're trained on Six Vertical's UX methodology and have advanced knowledge of the commerce platforms we specialize in.
Part of our value we bring to the market is knowing how to create software workflows that create the desired outcomes. If it sounds easy, it's not. It takes a well-trained UX practitioner that understands commerce business processes to do it right.
We do this by conducting structured user experience (UX) research with our clients and user stakeholders. We deep dive into the needs of the teams that manage commerce channels, then build interfaces aligned with these needs with a focus on clean and actionable data.
UX research is a component of our UX methodology. Our solution architects guide our clients through a structured interview plan that's been optimized over dozens of engagements.
The output can be a variety of UX research artifacts. The ones we use depend on the nature of the information collected. The most common artifacts are user persona diagrams, workflow diagrams, user stories and wireframes. We publish UX research artifacts to our documentation management tool, Confluence.
Interface Design (UI design)
We're really good at creating first-class user interfaces. I was a graphic designer in my early career, so I have an affinity for smart and clean visual design.
But good visual design isn't enough. What makes the difference is domain knowledge and knowing what UI components belong in a commerce interface. Designers without the domain knowledge will suggest features and components without understanding why they are suggesting them. They prioritize aesthetic over usability.
This causes headaches for the engineering team, and it can slow down a project unnecessarily. It also leads to increased cost of services for the client. We like to avoid things that slow us down and create costs for our clients. The best way to do this is to use our UI designers. They know their space and they work fast.
Part of the value of using our design team is their deep understanding of commerce UI conventions. They're well-trained on the micro-nuances of interface components found in modern commerce applications. They know what components should be used where and why.
These frameworks are widely adopted. They're two of the most popular UI frameworks globally. We have expertise in both and will apply them to the web and mobile versions of the e-commerce storefront.
The value we bring to the market is our ability to develop high-performance commerce applications.
The previous 20 years of e-commerce has taught companies that a fast commerce site is a must to be competitive. The modern digital customer won't tolerate slow-to-respond search queries and page loads. It's gotta be fast. Period.
Old site architectures fall short when it comes to performance. Smart companies no longer build e-commerce storefronts as "websites." This is where data, calculations, computation and business logic are executed server-side.
Modern digital commerce experiences delivered through a browser are architected and built as software applications, not websites.
They consist of sophisticated client-side software that run in the browser. They require a specific and specialized skill set to build.
The value Six Vertical brings to the market is our expertise building Progressive Web Applications using our own commerce framework that utilizes Angular.
Angular is a Google technology, and it's the core of our e-commerce and web configurator software. Today, our engineers are using Angular 4.
Important note to reader: AngularJS is not the equivalent of Angular. Make sure you understand what this means.
Our front-end developers are customer-facing with at least five years of experience building responsive interfaces for web-based applications. They have a specific expertise in the design, development and deployment of Salesforce- and Azure-integrated Progressive Web Apps.
Technical Design & Backend Development
Also part of the value we bring to the market is our boardroom-level technical knowledge and leadership. We must be strong technically because the architecture of solutions we create are always complex. Always.
The solutions we build often involve a mix of CPQ, e-commerce, web configurator and partner portal software. Product and price data is spread across multiple data stores. We must support a variety of payment types. Single sign on, call outs to ERP for inventory data, multiple Salesforce communities, language translations, multiple currencies, worldwide customer base ... you get the picture.
B2B commerce solutions are complex and can have dozens of systems, subsystems and integrations. Anything less than top-shelf technical talent need not apply.
Part of the value we bring to our clients is our rigorous quality assurance process. Our QA processes consists of a well-defined set of artifacts and activities. We use best-of-breed tools to gain efficiencies and cover a lot of testing scenarios in a short time period.
We have well-trained QA engineers on staff. They have 3+ years of experience with both manual and automated testing techniques.
We use BrowserStack for cross-browser, cross-platform testing. We use Selenium for automated regression testing.
Our solution accelerators consist of a growing repository of project-ready assets. These assets include UI components, APIs, screens, icons and more. They're optimized to work with Salesforce, Azure and APTTUS. They're tested, pre-integrated and ready for use on day one of the project.
The value our accelerators deliver to our clients is greater developer productivity, shorter development cycles and lower cost of services.
Our accelerators are the starting point of the project. With them, we don't build the application from scratch. We start with a code base that has 60 to 70 percent of features of the final solution ready to go!
Our e-commerce accelerator has the following screens and built-in capabilities. Our screens come in both web and mobile versions.
- Forgot password
- Category listings
- Product listings
- Product details
- Order Review
- Order Confirmation
- My Account > Profile & Preferences
- My Account > My Addresses
- My Account > Order History
- My Account > Quote Management
- Web responsive page layouts
- Contract pricing
- Multi-level menus
- Breadcrumb navigation
- Product image carousel
- Product recommendations
- Share cart (via email)
- Order on-behalf-of
- Address management
- Credit card payments
- Invoice payments
- Upload Purchase Order
- Email sign up
- Email templates
- Web configurator integration
- APTTUS and Salesforce Quotes integration
Web Configurator Accelerator
Our web configurator accelerator has the following screens and built-in capabilities:
- Select option group
- Select option
- Select attributes
- Product image visualizer
- Request quote
- APTTUS and Salesforce CPQ integration
- Inclusion/exclusion rules
- Default attributes
- Attribute add-on costs
- Attribute expressions
- Tool tips
- Required add-ons
- Suggested add-ons / up-sell
- Bundles with sub-bundles
Six Vertical's consultants are trained to solve the specific set of challenges that pertain to e-commerce. We hire experience and maturity. Our consultants lead from the front and speak with authority on digital commerce matters.
Joshua Enders is Founder and CEO at Six Vertical. He's committed to building a first-class digital agency that helps companies gain a deep understanding of how digital commerce works.
While involved in many parts of the company, his favorite part of working at Six Vertical is designing its talent development programs. He enjoys seeing the Six Vertical team of consultants grow into authorities in their disciplines. It's this growth that helps Six Vertical clients win.