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Infosys releases headless commerce services bundle

Infosys breaks down Skava, an e-commerce startup it acquired in 2015, into e-commerce, marketing and merchandising microservices, and renames it Equinox.

A new Infosys Equinox bundle of e-commerce microservices enables headless commerce and connects e-commerce platforms to marketing automation and other customer experience technologies.

Infosys built Equinox from technology acquired from Skava Commerce, a startup it bought in 2015. Infosys put Skava back up for sale in 2019, but later it pulled it back. Equinox microservices include APIs that connect to CRM, marketing and e-commerce platforms to selling channels such as mobile, messaging and social media apps and emerging ones inside videos, smart speakers, augmented reality and gaming environments.

In headless commerce, the back-end content, shopping and payment systems are decoupled from the "head," or front-end interface. Breaking Skava into individual microservices will help large companies using enterprise e-commerce systems such as Oracle CX Commerce and SAP Hybris tackle headless commerce deployments on new channels, said IDC analyst Jordan Jewell.

Skava originally catered to B2C companies that wanted to spin up mobile versions of web-based stores. It grew into its own e-commerce platform, eventually. As that was happening, service integrators like Infosys found that large companies needed help selling over new mobile channels. Offering Skava Commerce as microservices finally gets Infosys a way to offer it to customers in ways they can use it.

"The alignment with Infosys wasn't all there," Jewell said. "I think what drove Infosys to acquire Skava is headless commerce implementations ... they're trying to offer those commerce capabilities."

Traditional vs. headless CMS
Headless commerce

Equinox still available as a platform

Since Equinox is its own e-commerce platform as well as a bundle of API-driven microservices that can augment other e-commerce platforms, it poses competitive issues.

Equinox connects to existing customers of enterprise e-commerce systems such as Salesforce Sales Cloud, down to small and midmarket ones like Shopify to open new selling channels. But for Infosys customers launching new e-commerce sites, Infosys theoretically will compete with those other e-commerce technology vendors during the platform selection process, said Karmesh Vaswani, Infosys executive vice president and global head of consumer, retail and logistics.

"We are platform-agnostic," Vaswani said. "We will do systems integration and consulting engagements for our clients in the platforms they choose.

"We have created the Equinox platform because we see areas where our customers are struggling: If they go on a SaaS platform, they launch their brand and they achieve a certain scale. But then when they want to globalize, and when they want to expand, they're constrained because the SaaS platforms do not integrate seamlessly with their enterprise systems," Vaswani said.

Infosys also said that Equinox can support online marketplace channels, or "superapps" and "digital malls," such as Alibaba, WeChat and Grab. While these marketplaces are popular in Asia, they haven't taken off yet stateside, Jewell said, and it will be interesting to watch how and if they evolve in the U.S. and Europe.

Helping Goliaths take on upstart Davids

Even if the concept of digital malls doesn't take off in the U.S., microservices can help massive companies like Infosys customer The Kraft Heinz Co. -- which sell its goods through distributors and retailers -- reach consumers. Kraft Heinz built a digital hub on which 250 global brand sites run, as well as B2B e-commerce sites, recipe sites and direct-to-consumer sites, according to an Infosys press release.

Many of these companies may use monolithic e-commerce platforms that either don't support headless or are just starting to. Some of them even run legacy e-commerce systems they built themselves -- which means they have to write code to launch a headless commerce deployment. That's where pre-built microservices from integrators like Infosys come in, Jewell said.

Equinox microservices will enable enterprises with long-established brands to compete with smaller, more agile internet upstarts, Vaswani said. Jewell said they need the help.

"[Consumer packaged goods] companies are being killed by the Internet and online commerce," Jewell said. "They were built for in-store commerce. They were built for selling into big-box retailers like Walmart and Target, and they optimize their entire business around selling to them. So when some mom-and-pop shop can kill them on Amazon just by having better SEO product content, [they] can't outbid them for shelf space because there's infinite shelf space online."

Don Fluckinger covers enterprise content management, CRM, marketing automation, e-commerce, customer service and enabling technologies for TechTarget.

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