Social media, mobile devices, multimedia, and even the prospects of the metaverse, are increasing the ways customers and suppliers interact. Emerging technology, like big data analytics, provides deeper insights into customer behavior. The omnichannel experience will pressure organizations to build larger web and e-commerce footprints. With that increasing pressure, we expect web/e-commerce staffing to also increase.
However, Figure 1 from our full report, Web/E-Commerce Staffing Ratios, shows that the percentage of the IT staff dedicated to web/e-commerce stayed at 3.1% at the median in 2022.
Web/e-commerce staffing has always been relatively volatile, representing a smaller portion of a large IT staff. Another contributing factor to web/e-commerce staffing is outsourcing. Costs generated from hiring and in-house training are comparably less when outsourced. During the past two years, this category of IT workers has plateaued as a percentage of the IT staff. Still, we expect customer demand following the pandemic to drive more growth in the web/e-commerce job function.
This IT staff position became even more important with the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Social isolation policies imposed at the beginning of the pandemic significantly increased the volume of e-commerce transactions. During lockdowns, consumers got used to ordering things that otherwise they may have been more hesitant to order in the past, accelerating a trend that was already well underway. When the lockdowns were lifted, in whole or in part, consumers continued their online ordering habits. As a result, organizations are increasing their investments in integrated web commerce systems as demand increases for products.
“Web and e-commerce systems are well-established, with support tools that are available at reasonable costs, even to small organizations,” said Tracell Frederick, senior consultant at Avasant, based in Los Angeles. “However, you need to do some benchmarking to ensure the web/e-commerce function is sufficiently staffed.”
Our definition of web/e-commerce staff includes web developers, designers, administrators, and other individuals who work on the company’s public websites, as well as those who maintain intranet sites. It also includes personnel who are dedicated to e-commerce activities, such as EDI specialists. We have a separate staffing category for personnel supporting communications and messaging systems.
When considering the ratio of web/e-commerce personnel, it is helpful to keep in mind that the size of web/e-commerce support operations varies widely by industry sector, depending on an organization’s need for e-commerce and online customer service. For CIOs to calibrate their staffing requirements, the full report provides benchmarks for staffing functions related to web and e-commerce development and operations. We benchmark web/e-commerce staffing with two ratios: web/e-commerce staff as a percentage of the IT staff and users per web/e-commerce staff member. Finally, we examine the influence of sector on web/e-commerce staffing.
This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Web/E-Commerce Staffing Ratios. The full report is available at no charge for subscribers, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).