By Andrew Hackett
So, why would you want to migrate your ecommerce site? Generally speaking, there are two basic drivers behind why anyone migrates, firstly the revenue you can drive from migrating, and secondly the business efficiencies you can gain from migrating. Migrating can help you meet the constantly changing needs of your online business by ensuring you can always meet your consumer where they are and serve them the way they expect to be served. For many, their previous best experience is now their new expectation and keeping up with those expectations as a merchant can not only be difficult but in some cases, impossible, for those unwilling to build around consumers with their choice of platform.
To understand how a specifically composable approach enables that, you first need to understand composable solutions and what they do. You can then evaluate your key considerations such as how composable can benefit you, and what type of roadmap you can come up with that aligns itself with the benefits you want to realise for your company. Or conversely it may allow you to realise that composable isn’t for you! A composable journey isn’t for everyone, for example you may not have the organisational structure to deal with a composable shift. but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider migrating, as platform migration can still solve many business problem statements and is an excellent way to create new opportunities to grow and scale your business.
What Is Composable Commerce?
Composable commerce is currently the direction in which all online retail platforms are headed, as evidenced by the June 18th, 2020, Gartner report. Alongside that we also know that many businesses are looking to expand their ecommerce capabilities through increased spending which in many cases will involve migrating to newer generation platforms. So, migration is worth considering for businesses who wish to remain competitive in the online marketplace.
But what is composable? Composable Commerce design principals leverage “best-in-class” commerce services, to deliver all the functionality you would have previously gotten exclusively from one eCommerce platform. This newer approach utilizes various vendors that provide much more robust and varied functionality for the singular thing they do, rather than relying on one vendor to produce standard functionality fit for everyone, such as in a traditional monolithic platform. It does this by separating the UI (frontend) from the business logic (backend) and providing the possibility to choose the best-of-breed technologies to build a flexible eCommerce stack.
So, with an understanding of composable commerce and the difference between it and a monolithic platform you’re more readily able to decide which type of migration is best for your business. There is no silver bullet solution to your ecommerce issues which is why we believe in tailoring any platform migration to specific business pain points and capabilities. composable might not be the right approach for you but you may still want to migrate based on your problem statement since elements of a monolith could be giving you problems that another platform can fix. With that in mind we want to explore composable solutions vs monolithic ones in this article and emphasise the importance of platform migration in solving ecommerce issues.
Businesses with online based problem statements are faced with two choices, stay as they are or consider progression. If you choose progression, then you have to accept the challenges that naturally follow during a migration and be prepared to consider the issues you may encounter. For example, with a composable implementation there are many more solutions to manage as you have a large number of different technologies all of which have their own customisation and maintenance. this means you now need to manage all of those individual solutions and how they’re evolved. You also need to connect all these components manually as they are not connected with one another out-of-the-box unlike in a monolithic solution where all solutions are integrated with one another.
Another consideration is your plan to move forward with and manage your online storefront while you move away from a monolithic application to a composable solution. Do you have an internal team to do the storefront build and manage that and will the content team still be able to work in that environment? Is your implementation going to be Big Bang or is it going to be incremental and which of these allows you to continue operating as normally as possible?
Migrations are naturally challenging and take some time to achieve, it’s important to accept that and focus on going from where you are today to where you want to be. They may also require you to change the structure of your organisation to include some new skill sets in order to operate your new platform efficiently.
In a monolithic system when you need to make change you often have to redeploy the entire thing, this makes it inflexible with longer release cycles as changes are often stacked so that many are pushed through at the same time in order to avoid constant platform wide deployments. This problem can intensify during migration and can often be problematic. A composable system doesn’t suffer from the same issues, as small changes can be made with relative ease compared to traditional monoliths.
The primary benefit of choosing composable commerce in your migration is that you can now utilise best of breed technology. Alongside that, every component is pluggable, scalable, and replaceable at any moment without affecting other parts of the solution. you can cherry pick solutions to meet your business needs whereas you often can’t in a monolith. UX will be exactly as required because you can deal with it as a separate entity regardless of the endpoints used. There’s flexibility, everything is customisable and inline. It’s also faster allowing for much quicker evolution of solutions, enabling scalability.
From a speed of delivery point of view, when you build something within a monolith it’s often very technically complex and a lot of changes need to be made both front end and back end in order to be able to deliver something which takes a long time. Whereas in a composable world one of the benefits is that you get certain capabilities baked into systems therefore when you have to deliver something you’re not delivering across the whole technology stack. You can deliver on focused elements which gives you more flexibility to look at implementing changes within certain areas and changes on the storefront, editing the customer experience, without changing the back end as long as your backend can still support the storefront. This means you now have greater flexibility through the ability to integrate fast changes that can make a difference based on analytics and your understanding of trends in the market.
A platform migration can be undertaken for a large number of reasons such as a desire for flexibility, scalability, faster time to market, improved customer experience, better optimization and more. However, these all tie into the primary reasons we stated at the beginning of this article, increased revenue, and increased efficiency. which type of platform you choose to pursue those things should always be a choice that’s custom made for your specific business. As we said before that is no silver bullet solution! So, while we advocate the benefits of a composable solution it’s also important to recognise that it doesn’t suit every business. Migration, however, is often the best solution for a business looking to upgrade their ecommerce capabilities. Want to discuss what a migration would look like for you? get in touch with Ayata today!