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Exploring e-commerce replatforming with Enrise

Written by
Carla Hetherington
Published on
June 27, 2024

With new technology emerging every day, businesses must prioritize technological flexibility if they want to stay ahead of the competition. One way to do this is by replatforming and ensuring your IT is able to keep up with your emerging needs. In this interview, we discuss replatforming with Steven de Vries, a solution architect at Enrise, one of our integration partners. As a software expert with an extensive technical background and decades of experience, Steven is heavily involved in replatforming projects at Enrise and was eager to share his knowledge on the subject. During this interview, Steven discusses how replatforming works, the importance of strategic planning and flexibility in replatforming, common myths surrounding replatforming, and how businesses can leverage replatforming to navigate technological changes and maintain a competitive edge.

What does your day-to-day look like as a solution architect?

“As a solution architect at Enrise, my primary responsibility is to bridge the gap between business needs and technology solutions. The consultation services we offer are transparent, unbiased, and always in the customer’s best interest since we are platform-agonistic and, therefore, not affiliated with one specific provider. Since we offer bespoke software development and consulting, we have complete visibility and ownership over projects since we are in charge of both the design and execution. As such, I spend a lot of my time collaborating with clients to understand their requirements and figure out what solution will suit their needs best. I also make architectural sketches of their current technological situation and their desired future state in five or ten years’ time and create a roadmap with specific steps and goals outlined. One of the most vital considerations is the long-term effect of any project. Granted, it is important to deliver value quickly, but we also need to ensure that the solutions we offer our clients are robust and future-proof instead of simply being a quick fix.”

In your words, what is replatforming?

“Replatforming is the process of looking for a new platform for your current solution. You might have an entire IT landscape with diverse platforms, and replatforming entails changing one or more of those platforms with another one.”

Why and when should someone consider replatforming?

“You should consider replatforming as soon as your current platform or entire landscape can’t accommodate your ambitions anymore. This can be anything, from having a long time to market to really high support and maintenance costs. Another typical scenario is that legacy systems reach their end-of-life, meaning they are so outdated that the software provider may discontinue support, they might not be available for purchase, or will depend on obsolete technology to run and maintain. Besides these, some common reasons behind replatforming are that customers want to leverage new technologies on the market, improve their user experience, optimize their performance, and, above all, stay competitive.”

What is e-commerce replatforming?

“E-commerce replatforming is the process of choosing and switching to a new e-commerce platform or any system involved in e-commerce to improve performance, expand capabilities, and enhance customer experience. When it comes to e-commerce, you're looking at platforms like payment systems, PIM (product information management), ERP (enterprise resource planning), OMS (order management systems), CRM (customer relationship management), and the e-commerce platform itself. In the past, e-commerce platforms were essentially a one-stop shop for everything, which we usually refer to as a monolithic solution. Nowadays, with the emergence of composable commerce, you have the option to have a diversity of platforms in your landscape and hand-pick the solutions that cater better to your needs. As such, many companies are adopting this modular approach to have the freedom to swap out applications easily to enhance their e-commerce operations instead of having to change the entire system.”

What role does composable commerce play in replatforming?

“Composable Commerce essentially makes replatforming easier since it enables a technological landscape to be more flexible when it comes to replacing applications without much hassle and cost. However, composable commerce is not for everyone. Smaller businesses with straightforward requirements and a small portfolio might not benefit from a fully composable approach. For instance, if an e-commerce platform's built-in tools are sufficient for their needs, adding separate systems might be unnecessary. However, they might need to consider moving to a composable approach if they expect growth in the future since a composable landscape is easier to modify and scale.”

How long does replatforming usually take?

“It depends. Some clients have a small landscape or need to replace just one platform, which can take only a few weeks. Others have huge landscapes with multiple interconnected platforms, which can take months to optimally research and plan out before starting the implementation process. In both cases, we guide our customers throughout the whole journey, working closely with them to ensure we make the right choices for the business and ensure the right platform fit. Once we have handled the setup of the new platform and the integration, we work alongside the client’s IT team to facilitate a smooth handover of responsibilities once the implementation is done. This collaborative approach ensures a smooth transition and knowledge transfer that add to the future-proof aspect of the project. In the end, delivering long-term positive effects is our top priority, and that takes careful planning and consideration. It is not a sprint but a marathon.”

Are there any myths or common misunderstandings about replatforming?

Replatforming costs more than staying with your current platform (false)

“Yes, there are a few. For example, people often assume that replatforming always costs a lot more than staying with their current platform. This is a misleading thought since, despite an initial investment, a replatforming strategy always has a future-proof vision and will, therefore, cost less money in the long run and will result in a positive return on investment. Additionally, costs will vary significantly depending on the implementation and license fees. During our discovery phase, we provide advisory and consultancy services, covering total cost of ownership (TCO) to help our clients understand what costs they can expect for the first year and over a five-year period, enabling them to make informed business decisions.

For example, for several clients, such as FonQ, BigGreenEgg, and Simpel, we have created a strategy to replatform their IT-landscape in a phased approach over the next few years. This strategy includes a platform selection using a TCO over multiple years, which provides detailed insights into the implementations costs, maintenance costs, and license costs to see how these measure up against the added functionality and flexibility. In the end, not only does replatforming save them money in the long run, but through their consultation with us, they also have a full overview of their costs, preventing budget overruns."

Replatforming means swapping out all applications at once (false)

"Another misconception people have is that replatforming entails them swapping out all their applications at once. However, replatforming is a gradual process and does not mean that an organization’s entire IT landscape has to change overnight since that is simply impossible. Sometimes, it makes sense to run an extra platform alongside the existing one and gradually switch over. In other cases, especially with end-of-life systems, we might replace components step-by-step to mitigate risks while ensuring business continuity. Either way, the goal is always to not disrupt operations or rush through it."

Replatforming only involves technology (false)

"Something that also comes to mind is that some people believe that replatforming is just about technology when, in reality, it also requires consideration of the people involved. When undertaking a replatforming project, one of the crucial aspects to consider is whether you have the necessary technical resources to accommodate this replatforming and how your current employees will be affected by this process. New platforms often come with new functionalities, and if the team isn't trained or aware, it can create a knowledge gap. For this reason, ensuring that the IT solution fits the business and vice versa is crucial to avoid disconnects.”

Is replatforming a one-time process, or is it something businesses should anticipate doing again in the future?

“Replatforming can be an ongoing necessity, especially as technology evolves. However, as I mentioned earlier, it should be done in phases and not all of a sudden. As we do with all our customers who are looking to replatform, we ensure that each step is aimed at making their landscape more flexible, allowing for easier future adjustments or additions, such as incorporating new marketing tools or business intelligence systems. This is fairly straightforward if you already have a modular/ composable landscape, so replatforming shouldn’t be seen as an issue on the horizon but as an opportunity to make the most out of your applications and ensure your technology can keep up with your needs.”

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About our partner
Enrise an independent digital agency in the Netherlands focused on solving complex IT issues through expert consultation and development services, specializing in mobile apps, custom web apps, and e-commerce platforms. Enrise is an Alumio integration partner and provides Alumio platform trainings for customers.

Steven de Vries

Solution Architect

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