When Do You Need To Replatform and How Do You Justify The Investment?
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When Do You Need To Replatform and How Do You Justify The Investment?

Join Paul and James, two experienced ecommerce professionals, as they explain and discuss valid reasons to replatform, using examples from real-world projects they’ve worked on.

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Replatforming can be complex and costly, therefore it’s essential you have a valid reason to commit to this type of project. Having worked on a wide range of projects, from startups to FTSE50 and fast growth DTC brands, James & Paul share their experience and explain the most common drivers for ecommerce replatforming.

Tl;dr: what we cover:

  1. The most common reasons to replatform
  2. How you build the business case for investment
  3. Scenarios when a company has to pivot and throw away an existing migration

Key Discussion Points

1. Common and justified reasons to replatform:

  • Has a total cost of ownership (TCO*) that is cost-prohibitive and unsustainable
  • Isn’t performant during peaks, causing issues with downtime (CX) and added cost to provision for increased capacity
  • Is slow and/or complex to develop, so time to market for site updates and new features is too slow, creating a competitive disadvantage
  • Is a closed system whereby you can’t customise or influence the technology decision and are reliant upon the vendor’s roadmap decisions
  • Needs constant maintenance, patches & upgrades, which take up more time than proactive changes and enhancements
  • Isn’t fit for purpose based on the latest ecommerce good practice standards & release cadence is too slow
  • Doesn’t perform well consistently, so you have technical and user experience issues that adversely impact conversion rate
  • Is becoming obsolete! This does happen e.g. Magento sunsetting Magento 1 following the release of Magento 2
  • Has a limited/stagnant ecosystem e.g. few development partners, hard to find qualified developers, limited 3rd party partnerships for extending feature set
  • Doesn’t align with your technical and business principles for ecommerce

2. Use cases when a business might throw away a project and switch to an alternative platform:

  • Project takes so long the stack / situation isn’t now as relevant as other options
  • Learning during discovery that the project is more complex than first thought and the cost to achieve desired functionality is prohibitive
  • Poor project structure: not enough people consulted so the current platform scope isn’t aligned with business needs
  • Under-estimated the complexity, for example moving from standard COTS vendor to a composable/headless commerce platform
  • Unmanageable cost e.g. maintenance cost becomes prohibitive due to internal engineering needs
  • Shift in business strategy e.g. a project where the business decided to refocus on B2B for growth adding international and less on retail, wanting a single platform that could do both B2B and B2C

3. Building the business case for investment:

  • You first have to get a detailed understanding of the current cost model, not just the license fees and dev costs
  • Also look at opportunity cost; a few clients have struggled to get the right pace of change due to platform/vendor limitations and cost of adding simple things like marketing tracking tags is too high
  • Look at your roadmap, assess key enhancements and then estimate the cost ‘as is’ vs. ‘to be’ based on what an alternative platform offers as standard or via proven connectors to minimise dev efforts
  • Also consider the cost of inefficiency e.g. one client struggled with setting up campaigns and promotions due to a clunky admin panel, it took them 3-4 hours to set up a simple promo code and then get the devs to ‘turn it on’ >> this cost can be removed with the right platform

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