Your Guide to Replatforming
There’s no word that quite instills fear in a CIO like the word ‘replatform.’ You can almost hear them questioning it now.
"Replatforming will be too expensive. We’ve already invested so much in our current solution, we can’t afford that sunk cost. Can you imagine the time it will take to execute? What about our SEO rankings? Can we assure a return on our investment?"
And who can blame them? You’ve probably had the same thoughts yourself. After all, if anything goes wrong, it will be your job and reputation on the line. So whether you know you need to replatform or you’ve just begun to consider it, it’s important that you spend some time on the following tasks:
Traditional legacy solutions consist of rigid and opinionated architectures that prevent brands from having the control they desire to implement custom backend logic changes to satisfy their complex business requirements:
- Define if this is the time for your company to commit to replatforming
- Understand the replatforming process that your company will undertake
- Choose a new solution for your unique needs to make the switch to
Rest assured you are not the first company to reach these crossroads, and you certainly won’t be the last. Elastic Path customers Jenny Craig, Pella Windows and Doors, and Illumina were once in your position. They knew their incumbent platforms did not offer the control, ease, and scale they needed to support their unique digital vision. While they may have been overwhelmed at first, once these brands committed to replatforming, planned migrations, and implemented new solutions, their businesses have seen countless benefits.
If your business is committed to digital differentiation, like these brands, yet you feel frustrated by your current platform it’s worth considering a replatforming project. Explore this guide to better understand if you’re ready to replatform, the top technical considerations for migration, and the different types of commerce vendors available to replatform to.
Illumina Experienced Growing Pains
Illumina had originally chosen their vendor of four years because of their out-of-the-box functionality. However, as a brand that is committed to unique differentiation, they had to customize their solution to a large degree that took way too much development time and cost. After replatforming, they were able to leverage Headless Commerce to build and continuously optimize their customized user experiences they wanted, in a fraction of the time.
How Can I Tell if My Business Is Ready To Replatform
As the eCommerce space continues to evolve and new, cutting edge technologies like Headless Commerce and Composable Commerce emerge on the market, you might be inclined to take the leap and make a switch. This can be especially attractive if your incumbent commerce solution isn’t operating at the level you had hoped. However, we urge to consider these 4 factors when evaluating your current state to better understand if replatforming will be worth the investment.
Your current solution can’t keep up with the growth of traffic to your website. As a result, peak sales often cause the website to go down, losing your valuable revenue. As customers continue to demand digitally native, engaging and seamless commerce experiences, you will need a solution fit for keeping up the growth of your business, along with quick and seamless transactions expected by customers.
Maintenance and upgrades are time consuming due to the rigidity of your current solution and thus slow down your deployments. More often than not you find yourself saying, “We can’t do that.” If you’re the type of business that is committed to consistently updating and optimizing your commerce experience, you may need to consider a solution that utilizes API calls to quickly handle changes.
Adding new features, customizations, or partner technologies to your solution have proven to be difficult and sometimes infeasible. You recognize that these capabilities are imperative if your goal is to outpace competitors and continue to engage and retain customers. To do so, you will need a solution that utilizes a modular architecture to ensure that you can keep up to date with the market.
You have experienced exuberant unexpected costs throughout your eCommerce journey. The more you add customizations and make changes to your commerce experience, your developer costs continue to increase due to the rigidity of your architecture. If you continue to make changes, you will need a solution that allows you to innovate and experiment with a smaller impact on your budget.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list of indicators, and you may choose to explore replatforming due to slow speed of your website, lack of features offered, inabilities to integrate, and the end of life of your existing platform. However, we recommend taking all aforementioned considerations into account before embarking on such a replatforming journey.
Jenny Craig Decided They Were Ready to Replatform
Jenny Craig recognized the need for a change when they struggled to achieve a unified commerce experiences. They were no longer satisfied with customers being redirected to a new website with a completely different look and feel every time they wanted to make a purchase after engaging with their content. After deciding to replatform, they were able to not only engage shoppers seamlessly across all touch points but also added new touchpoints as they emerged. They now provide better customer experiences all while spending less on development.
Is Your Company up for the Challenge?
You may now have enough confidence in your decision to replatform, but your company may not be at the right state to do so. Depending on the problems you will be trying to fix, and the new features you are excited to implement, your company will be required to be at the right level of digital maturity.
By digital maturity, we are referring to the technical capabilities of your team, and/or system integrators or agencies you hire, your internal processes, organizational structure, and level of intention to leverage technology to unlock a competitive advantage in the market. Your level of digital maturity will give you a good understanding of the type of technology vendor you will work best with and thus understand what can realistically be achieved.
For e.g. : Companies on the Level 1 scale of digital maturity will have little-to-no established competency or intention to leverage technology to their competitive advantage, and thus may not be best suited to migrate to a solution that gives them freedom to deploy unique customizations.
Digital maturity will play a major role in the feasibility and the success of your migration. To identify your organization’s digital maturity, you can utilize our scale and get a better understanding of the type of vendors you should be considering.
Pella Decided On Making The Switch to Composable
After one year of trying to implement their commerce solution with their previous vendor, Pella decided it was time for a change as deadlines and budgets were piling up. After choosing to replatform to a Composable Commerce solution, they were able to quickly implement an MVP solution so as to rapidly optimize based on business and customer needs, and deliver 3 new busines models to reach more customers and outmaneuver competitors, while still leveraging their existing technology and processes
Top Considerations When Replatforming
Before embarking on your journey you will want to have a precise strategy of how you plan to carry out the process, the timeline of the project, and agreed expectations.
Choosing the Right Vendor for My Business
Though the eCommerce market continues to flood with new solutions and vendors, we believe there are three main categories to choose from:
Is “Going Composable” Right For Your Organization?
Composable Commerce might be the newest buzzword on the market but we have to admit, this option will not be right for every business. This approach quite literally puts the control back into your hands so you never have to compromise on your vision, and are able to react quickly to out maneuver competitors and unlock growth.
However, this level of control may not be desirable for you if you don’t value:
- Quick starts that eliminate the risks and complexity of piecing together MACH
- Adaptable functionality to support unique and changing businesses across geos, complex product catalogues, multiple business models, and more
- Flexible technologies to reduce your total cost of ownership
- Solid extensibility frameworks to customize your unique experience
If these characteristics do resonate with you we recommend exploring the benefits of Composable Commerce and the vendors that offer this approach. If you would like to talk to one of our internal experts about migrating to Elastic Path and deploying Composable Commerce-as-a-Service, we’d be happy to help.