How to simplify the platform migration process

The digital landscape is characterised by constant innovation and increasingly requires that brands adjust to this pace or risk being left behind. Unfortunately, the emphasis placed on innovation by many organisations is often undermined by the perceived disruption that such work would cause. A common example of this deterrent effect concerns platform migration, unjustly perceived as a process that is both time and cost-intensive.

Dispelling the platform migration myth

A crucial component of any replatforming process is migration from legacy systems to new solutions. Unfortunately, the prevailing understanding of platform migration centres on the ‘big bang’ approach – where the new platform is built in its entirety – which is a method that’s often fraught with complications. Understandably then, brands are often apprehensive when it comes to introducing new solutions.

However, a more measured and flexible approach could alter the migration narrative considerably. This ‘phased approach’ better protects against operational disruption and complications while delivering faster returns-on-investment.

Adopting a phased approach, your business can port new functionalities to your platform to replace legacy systems, one by one. This allows you to prioritise the build of your most important functions at a pace that suits your business’ needs. Then, once your development team are satisfied the new functionality works correctly, they can move onto the next integration. This type of approach is best supported by headless ecommerce architecture, where the front-end presentation layer is removed from back-end functionality.

Why platform migration is a task you can’t afford to avoid

The significance of embracing agile platforms cannot be overstated. According to eComm Insights, 40% of digital retailers expressed intentions to scale and refine their digital initiatives in 2020, with others currently in the ‘initiating’ stages.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to accelerate this urgency and intensify digital competition, as consumers increasingly look online due to obvious reasons. Brands with currently inactive offline channels should use this interval as an opportunity to update or reinvent their digital presence.

In addition to current market conditions, there are various commercial and technical factors that frequently drive platform migration initiatives. These include:

  • Pressures to match industry challenger services or to meet more demanding customer expectations
  • Opportunities to optimise revenue streams
  • Opportunities to monetise customer data through personalised products or services
  • Difficulties establishing or building a digital presence
  • Realising existing infrastructure cannot accommodate future business objectives
  • Constant software updates required for current infrastructure

Platform migration: key considerations

While the various market, commercial and technical factors should inform and drive any decision to migrate infrastructure, an analysis of your legacy system should be the first step when determining your project scope and processes. To streamline your future processes, you should refine your brand’s User Experiences:

  • Assess functions individually and consider which add the most value to your business
  • Prioritise must-have features and identify redundant features that can be removed
  • Locate any gaps and consider how they might be addressed

Once you have a detailed project scope, it’s time to align and optimise your business processes. This involves structuring your platform and team in a manner that’s conducive to future iterations.

Executing a platform migration necessitates specific consideration for the migration of data and the accommodation of new systems in your infrastructure. The former task is accommodated by headless cloud solutions that enable users to make real-time updates to the data model directly at API level. Meanwhile, the latter can be planned by mapping out an integration matrix.

Achieving business goals through platform migration

Platform migration is a necessary step for ambitious digital brands. Whereas this blog outlines key considerations and strategic steps, a comprehensive and fully informed approach is the only way to yield maximum value when migrating to new solutions.

Sign up to our headless ecommerce professional development programme for further insight and structured learning and find out how to execute a successful platform migration, ensuring the achievement of current and future business goals while minimising operational disruption.

Module 3, Platform Migration, is available to download from 17 June 2020.

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