Mr. Yoav Kutner with Oro Inc Talks about Change Management through Digital Transformation

In this week's Industrial Talk Podcast we're talking to Yoav Kutner, Founder and CEO of Oro, Inc. about “Change Management through Digital Transformation and the Role of B2B eCommerce”. Get the answers to your “eCommerce” questions along with Yoav's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!

You can find out more about Yoav and the wonderful team at Oro, Inc. on leveraging Digital Transformation for your eCommerce business by the links below. Finally, get your exclusive free access to the Industrial Academy and a series on “Why You Need To Podcast” for Greater Success in 2020. All links designed for keeping you current in this rapidly changing Industrial Market. Learn! Grow! Enjoy!


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Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go. All right. Welcome to the industrial talk podcast, a podcast that is dedicated to industry heroes such as yourself. But if you're looking out on video, I'm pointing at you right there. Yeah, that's you. You're bold, you're brave. You're daring greatly. you innovate like nobody's business. And you're changing lives, and you're changing the world as we speak. And that's why this podcast is here to celebrate you. Thank you very much for what you are doing. All right, we got another one. And you're saying to yourself, Scott, you always have great interviews? Yes, I do. Because industry is great. And people are great. So get used to it, because that's what we're all about. Yoav ever


could nurse. Okay, that's good. That's why Oh, a Kutner. And if you go out to his stat card, his LinkedIn stat card, you will quickly notice that he is smarter than I am. Alright, let's get cracking here. All right, we've got a couple of things that we've got to start to


do some business here. All right, I'm all about education, you know that that's what this platform is all about educating, and I'm all about collaborating, I'm all about innovation, you got to do that. If you want to survive, rebuild and prosper in this new world, you're gonna have to educate all the time. You can't come to me and say, Scott, I don't know how to educate. It's, it's a world wide web out there. There's a lot of great stuff in it. And the industrial talk podcast is dedicated to that education. Now I want to point out something that is just absolutely spectacular. This was brought to you by those wonderful people at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. It is the connected systems Institute. Now just go out to uw, forward slash CSI, get all that information and they're just educating the workforce of the future. So we talk about industry for Dotto digital transformation in everything underneath. And that organization is absolutely Dedicated To Your Success. How can you can't you can't argue against that either. This platform is just really just chock full of great stuff for you.


You'll have How are you doing? Oh, I'm doing fine. How you doing? I'm well, thank you very much. Thank you very much for being on the podcast. I'm excited about this conversation. As you can tell, I've got your to get your website up. I've got your stat card up. And I've got pretty much everything about you up even your form up. And


so we've got about about five days of information to cut into about 20 minutes of a conversation. We're not going to do that.


All right. For the listeners out there. Give us a little 411 on who you are and why you're such an incredible technology professional. Absolutely. Well, thank you for that. I I've never heard that I'm an incredible technological person. But we'll say we'll take it we'll take


your your your LinkedIn stat card is lying. Because it's it is


although your your


All right. So yeah, let me talk a bit about so again, like I mentioned when we were first contacted, I'm around for a while. We talked I talked with you. Yeah, it was around with mainframes, Vax computers. I've seen a lot of things taking over. I remember just to show you how not smart I am. When the first time somebody showed me the internet that was like that's a fad. Nobody's gonna look at these green screen withholdings data. And so, you know, that's the first time I saw




a big one. Yeah, there goes the smart compliment.


You know, I was listening to these private networks and stuff like that. That said, once it's started taking over


my claim to fame was co founding a company called Magento and 2004. Later we released a product called Magento. That was a b2c e commerce platform and open source one at that so we can talk about a bit the open source kind of approach and strategy as we call it. And that platform did very well. We got really good adoption I think at our height when I left it was about 35% market share of all online b2c e commerce stores. Yeah, that was great. With no number with no number two, No, nobody came second almost It was like very, very rare category. Maybe.


We were in some countries like Australia, we had 50% were number two was home grown. So we really took the market for the b2c market and that we can borrow some money. Yes, of course. It's my side business.


So we actually did pretty well with that we got really good


adoption, and learned a lot of what was happening in the world of e commerce at the time. We later in around 2011, finalized the sale to eBay and PayPal, actually, within eBay. And that went pretty well. I think the the product itself Magento is still around, it was bought by Adobe.


And now it's taking its own life form, it's ready in their version major version too. So great to see that the brand is still around. I mean, it's been, it's pretty caught 11 years already around. So that's Wow, that's right. That's right. Wow, that is a pretty cool. That's a cool, yeah. It's like, I refer to it as my estranged son, because we don't talk anymore. But I love kind of following up on the progression and success, you know, from the sidelines.


All right, so let's go down this road. And I want to make sure that the,


the listeners understand, can you just sort of level set, talk to us a little bit about what open source means?


Open Source, what does that mean? Well, open source is,


again, kind of a philosophy where you don't want to patent or close source, which is more the traditional term, but they they have code is that it used to be compiled. And it used to be used as a black box, you didn't see actually how things were written and done and implemented. And you would use the product, if you have to modify it or change it, you were limited to whatever configuration or API, or interface was allowed to you to use. But that was it. What happened.


I think it's already for many, many years. But definitely the 70 took a lot of momentum was developers that were not interested in copywriting if you want or licensing their software and actually provided the code that they wrote, alongside with their source code, with different licenses, which is actually the open source license, kind of story. But again, we won't get into that. But that license allows you to actually use the code and actually modify it with some limitations or not to your own use. So before all these modern Object Oriented Development and all that, that was like the best way for companies to take something that was very close to what they needed, but not 100%, modify it from the source code, without limitations and making actually sure that that works for everything they need to do. And with the biggest thing is no vendor lock in, because there was no necessarily relationship between the vendor the the actual producer of the software and the company using it, which was beautiful, right, because you would get somebody work and just build on that and use it for your own needs. That said, What happened usually around then open source is an ecosystem of a community of developers community of users, the actual software vendor. And that usually caused these open source tools to get developed so much faster, and adopted faster and get feedback faster, and move faster than the closed source solutions that were very limited. And that's why open source is something that's ongoing for the last 40 years in very high speed. I mean, a lot of people don't even realize and learn when I say people companies we talk to don't even realize that a lot of the tools that they're using are actually based or built on open source code, right that somebody was using. Now today, if we jump ahead a bit, though, this is as technical as we'll get, probably. But if I jumped ahead a few years now, today, the actual source code with older object oriented API's after I mean service oriented architecture and stuff like that maybe is a little bit less relevant, you will not necessarily go and modify the actual core code. But you'll build on top of it extended. But were open source is still very much important is like I said with the license. So what you're actually able to use it how you're able to use it, are you able to resell it, you're able to use it only internally, stuff like that. So it's all about the license today, and how you can actually use it for your own benefit. There's a big case right now going on, you know, with Google and big lawsuit there. So I think we are in a place where today open source is more about the license, the freedom to actually build on that use it commercially. Without again, the vendor lock in, which is the biggest part of so you, if you like the vendor, you work with them. If you don't like the vendor, you actually can invest in your own developers and make sure that technology works. And again, with no limitations, which is if we look at SAS platforms like Salesforce, we talked about Salesforce quickly, you are limited to whatever they expose to you. And you end up building a lot of these custom application living in third worlds around that application, not in exactly that hosting environment, not as efficient and as performance. But when we talk about open source, you can actually start


They'll modify source code if needed to get extensive use cases. See, and and from my perspective, again, correct me if I'm wrong, I like the speed. Right? Especially today. And when we start looking at, let's say, industry for Dido, all of that whole, it technology itself is just evolving at such a blistering pace. I mean, I just I don't see how you can not


get more into that open source type of mindset, and be able to deploy solutions that truly meet your business needs as fast as you possibly can. I don't see how you can ignore that. Which then brings us to this, the product that we're going to be talking a little bit about that, once again, listeners out there, it's Oro o. r. o, right, Inc is is the website. The product is a series of Oro and so they got commerce and CRM and platforms and all that stuff. And I'm looking at the website, I didn't just sort of pull this off of my head. I'm just using their website. And I'm just sort of, and the the one that just sort of fascinates me is this Oro-commerce. Can you give us a little sort of background into that? And what is it? Absolutely. So Oro-commerce actually came from what, again, what we learned through the years of at Magento. So we like I said, develop the b2c e commerce platform. The problem was that we started seeing more and more companies that were contacting us that were not necessarily selling directly to consumers, there were more about selling to other companies, which makes them a b2b company.


We were much younger, and definitely have the ego to match that. And we were open source and flexible, etc. We said you know, we can do anything. So when we got approached, we said, Yeah, absolutely, we can serve your needs, we can build on top of what we we have already. But because we were so focused on the b2c side of the equation of this, yeah, we kind of left a lot of the basic kind of architectural features


out, right, we didn't focus on them. We didn't even know them about b2b at the time. So when we started working with b2b companies, we saw that fundamental features were missing in the platform. So fast forward, when I left the Magento. Eight months later, we created a new company called aura. And Oro, one of the products we kind of worked was on was the b2b e commerce platform, which is kind of our take on e commerce, but for companies selling to other companies. And so


yeah, so I got us a step in. So for the listeners out there, let's try to simplify it in a sense, it's like, Hey, I'm Acme, your beta, we can use this platform to engage in commerce Is that it? That's in a nutshell, that's it, we have three main use cases that we kind of talked about, and then we kind of start breaking out from but the first one is exactly what you said, which is the buyer seller interaction. Yeah. And that's the buyer doing some research finding a seller or manufacturer or brand or distributor that he wants to work with, they get in contact to get in touch, submit maybe a request for a quote, or CRISPR, pricing, get this pricing, and then put in an order, right. So taking all that world digitally. That's our main focus, basically, because this world is changing this world is, especially with COVID, we've seen that that conferences, trade shows were not even an option, right? That's where a lot of these b2b business and orders were actually done introductions, etc. So we're really trying to move this whole world digital, that's kind of so so I'm Acme. I'm a buyer and I'm looking for a seller, do I go through the Oro commerce platform to find buy sellers? So I can be in your platform and say, hey, check it out. That's, that's a company and whatever the details associated I can do that in your platform? No, I mean, unless you build the marketplace, which we'll get into that part. But when we're talking, we're just a software provider. We don't provide any services.


Right. So the best way to find you is where actually most researchers start today is on Google or on any other search engine. I won't get into that war. But let's say any search engine is where today, most researchers and buyers are starting their search today. And that's overtaking any kind of tradeshow, any kind of conference, anything like that. So if you build your site with a platform like ours, you'll be searchable and indexable and then people can actually find you. So you don't have to go through us nobody needs to know who or is we like to be in the in the shop. We like to make other people upfront and successful. So we're not like an eBay for b2b or,


or anything like that. We are not a marketplace on our own. We do provide a marketplace is one of our features or actual products.


But we are definitely about running your business, making your business so visible. And that's a big change and a big kind of attitude change, I guess, for b2b companies that they have to be visible online today. They're missing out on so many potential customers, so many potential orders, so many potential deals, because they're not searchable and indexable online.


So does your platform optimize that? Seo? Whatever, you know, dealio? Why? So I'm once again, I'm Acme. I'm interested in finding a seller of


I'll make it simple spoons. Yeah, go on my, my search engine. Right. And, and it's because of your platform, which is embedded in their site, whatever this spoon site,


you you give them a level of robustness that I'm able to find. It's like, hey, check it out, man.


spoony is right there. Yep. And that we will be actually running the website. Usually in most use cases, we are even running the front end the whole experience, customer experience, etc. We have Yes, we have other implementation, headless, pw a etc. But in a nutshell, we actually are the website that most people will hit either directly or through a CMS if it's a very big company, and they have this content management system in front of us. But we actually have the front end and the back end, you get everything in one. So let me start, let me maybe simplify our first


our first kind of steps that we usually do with a lot of very traditional b2b companies is just published or catalog online. So that means that they do have a way to get the catalog out of their eirp order management system where where we're not or a Pim, Product Information Management System, that where all the product information sits. But that information has to be published in in a e commerce style catalog style CMS, which is what we built. So we have a very good


platform to build your website that will actually make all your products visible online. Oh, no, of course, then SEO friendly and indexable and searchable, etc. So a lot of times, that's the first thing we do we come to a company, we say, look, if somebody searches for your products, they find nothing. Best case they find some, you know, this static website that somebody has a phone number on that's frequently goes to a


phone number to a sales rep that doesn't work there anymore. Right? And, and, and that's what we do we actually create, you know, I'll go all the way back for about 15 years, we create dynamic websites, right, that are actually not static, you can actually update them, you can like any CMS, like you would do for any kind of website, but focused and specializing in catalog publishing. Okay, I got I got it. I gotta interrupt real quick, because you know that that data is absolutely horrible. When you go to a customer and you say, Hey, hey, let's just get this thing online. Let's make it all robust in everything. Give us your catalog.


That's when it starts. Absolutely. With many we have manufacturers of nails. So when we told her to give us a picture, we say, well, and nails and nail, you know. So yeah, we just have to adjust to how we show the data. So yeah, images, maybe not the strongest suit for that industry. And that's acceptable. Again, you are dinged on Google and all that. But you know, it doesn't change the fact that your competitors will not have better pictures of nails. Right. So for that industry is so cool. Okay, continue man.


Asian By the way, I'm enjoying this conversation a lot. Thank you.


I sometimes Yeah, it's nice to meet people that find b2b e commerce. Interesting, because a lot of people would say, Yeah, when I say um, yeah, when I say I'm like in the b2b commerce business, everybody's like what Say again? What, what is that? It's like,


No, no, but we really love it. I mean, one of my passions and the reason I'm actually doing this, it's,


it's because I really like coming to companies and kind of automating digitizing a lot of what they do. It's really something I've been doing for many, many years since I, my first professional, out of the army was, like, career as a developer was on a salary program that I was we were developing way back then. And just like for HR and stuff like that, and we would come to companies and automate the whole, you know, HR salary kind of processing and stuff like that. So it was like, you know, who cared, but back then we were, you know, making people's lives so much easier. And it's something that we were, I really liked. I really like coming to a company and saying this, three months down the road, that how much we can help them how much we could have saved them time and, and made their life easier and more productive. And I think when we talk about e commerce, we're putting that on steroids. It's like we can today, really, this


digitize any process that your company does? automated? And the big question is, what our big problem is we do not replace the sales guys, we actually make them more efficient, more able to find new customers easier, right, which is a lot of the CRM pitch. But we are definitely helping the companies stay relevant, be able to survive pandemics and stuff that a lot of people didn't realize that might happen. But really the way the world works today, it's digital. Right. And, and we're seeing this throughout the sales process. Like I mentioned, most research will be started online today, even if


I have to go on a tangent here. What's your viewpoint on? Because I'm all into what you're talking about? What's your viewpoint on? conferences?


Well, conferences are great. I mean, especially we have we have a lot of business in Europe. And and they're shaking hands, having a cup of coffee is still a part of how you do business. I think the shock of the pandemic and and our European customers was a bit bigger. We actually had still salespeople traveled there, and we were like, what's happening today? Well, they will, they won't shake, you know, they won't sign the deal without shaking the hand. So it's something that it's still relevant, I don't think it will go away, I think, you know, people are still happy to meet each other. But like I said, you can come much more informed to the to conference, right? If you before you go to a conference, you can actually start searching online, some of these companies. Now, if you come in form, you can maybe already start requesting pricing before. So when you get there, you just don't waste your time on the whole cycle of the meeting of handshaking. And then you can come much more prepared. And, and not only that, let me let me give you another thing we're doing for a real customer of ours. And we went through their trade show, we saw how that happened. That works there in the animal, kind of their animal supply distributor, and they're like, pet food, pet supplies, stuff like that. Yeah. And that's a huge conferences. It's really a thing to see. Right. I went to Vegas, we saw that conference, that the thing that we're helping them accept everything that we're doing on the online strategy, and all that, with the conference in mind is that we are digitizing how the orders are taken in the conference itself, right? We added these booths with touchscreens that a sales rep can walk in with,


you know, a new customer or an existing customer, for that matter, pull all their data, pull the relevant catalog, pull all their special pricing in front of them. Before that they had these booklets right with this huge price books and stuff like that. And everybody had to remember, and there was constant screaming when I went there was constantly No, did you know the price for that guy, he's from Cleveland, you know, what's the best that we can give them? It was more like a meat market and actual like a sausage grinder Yeah, then then like a like a conference for you know about having a relationship with your customer. And once we did some pilot with that, we saw that one of the things that actually really helped was we decrease the number of errors in entering these orders the king in these are errors, the order sorry, later, right? Because you would write it on paper. All these papers, go back to the office, and then the sales reps used to start keying them in counting mistakes and not being able to read that. So just there, we were already improved. By the time the customer got back home from the conference, the order might have already been waiting for them there. Right. And it's something that we're really changing and improving. I think the customer experience, usability efficiency.


That's all connected to our system. This these kiosks are just another front end, basically, instead of a web based. It's just another front end of our application.


Okay, I mean, I'm all in. Why aren't people all in? Well, big deal. Yeah, that's that's where we started seeing the challenges. So I think one of the things and again, I'm looking at my previous life at Magento versus where I am today, in the b2c world, we really hit the wave on the right, I'm from California, sorry, I might have some surfing


analogies, but


but we hit the wave really, when it was peaking. And we really, you know, everybody was changing the way they're doing business. They understood that they have to sell direct to consumers, a lot of brands, we actually, when we released Magento a lot of brands that were not traditionally selling direct to consumers, even big brands decided because of the old kind of crash, that they have to start improving business and why not start selling directly to consumers. So we saw a lot of that happening. So there was really a perfect storm in terms of how people were changing their attitudes on selling directly to consumers. I think today with the b2b, we are on the cusp of the same kind of moment. A lot of businesses have to kind of update the way they're doing business. They have to maybe get out of their circle of customers and expanded International. I know


a bad word for many. But selling cross border, especially in Europe, we see this more and more taking over and and for a while in Europe, of course. But I think in the US, the US market will also have to kind of learn to deal with other countries. So definitely have to have b2b


kind of platforms that will allow these features to be implemented. So companies can actually modify the way they do business. That's it when we come to companies and we talk technology to sometimes a surprise how behind the curve they are when it comes to technology. We talked about mainframes and let me let me throw another term with you as 400. Still around europese, right. that are that are archaic, you cannot change anything. They're like, No, we asked him, can you change this API? and


Roger will pick up the phone, he's retired, you know, it's like, these are the answer is yes. It's expensive as Hell, yeah.


It is expensive. But we're really, really finding that they're really behind the curve and technology. Like I said, a lot of times where we start from is just


publishing their catalogue online, which seems trivial. But like you said, it's not at all because the product information is not there, the quality of the product information is not suitable. So that's not an easy, I talked about it like it's a trivial thing. It's not it's changing the culture of how you talk about your product, what content you have about your product. What if you, if you are a distributor, you need to get that content from your merchants that are selling through your manufacturers, to your manufacturer, you need to get it from your supply line, right, who's ever giving you those descriptions? So a lot of a lot of non trivial things on the culture of how the company is actually operating. And that's across the board. We're getting pushback from the marketing team. They don't know what to work with, necessarily with online marketing. They know more about print marketing. It's about the sales team doesn't want.


We're just telling you right now. All right, we're gonna have to wrap this up. I mean, come on. You guys have got to be in Hey, if you guys go out to orange ink, that's o r o Click on orocommerce. There is a demo a demo of the platform that I think you need to take notice of listener. Don't come to me and say you don't have an idea or a solution. This is cool stuff. Dead sexy. Are you active out on LinkedIn there? Yup. Yep, absolutely. Okay, you're gonna have every gun link, no demand for this company, this individual and the value proposition that they bring to the table. b2b is the way to go. I like it a lot. Thank you for joining


it, this was great. We could talk for hours, I'm telling.


I'm just trying to spare the listeners of the the this. All right, we're gonna wrap it up. Thank you very much. We're gonna have another great interview just around the corner. So thank you.


You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.

Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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