Re-platforming – Lows & Highs

Evolution is all about looking forward – Gerard Pique

"Cranes by A-Runway of Haneda Airport" by ykanazawa1999 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
“Cranes by A-Runway of Haneda Airport” by ykanazawa1999 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

When you talk about re-platforming to an online business , it starts to give butterflies to everybody around you! The feeling is an obvious one given that it is not going to be straight forward and will touch everybody in the organization. A re-platforming phase will cause strain on internal resources and the impact to business is also not ruled out, as one starts to touch the very foundation which it uses to conduct it’s business operations.

First reflections always would be to label re-platform as a bad idea but in reality it is a necessity not only to keep the stack fresh and adopt the next wave of tech but also show doors to huge opportunities that might be in front of us.

While many would view global expansion or launching to new marketplaces as an exciting business evolution, re-platforming also needs to be treated as a first class citizen for its successful outcome. Re-platforming is not migration or a parity generator for past but a re-look into where the market is, where the business fits in the current (and future) landscape and reviewing everything from customer experience to technology. For example being on mobile was considered competitive advantage but now it is part of standard behavior. As new age start-ups come into vogue and adopt newest stacks , things that were considered high barrier to tech adoption have become default offering.

The Opportunity – Innovating At Edge Of Enterprise

There is surge in customer touch points and high emphasis of how customer interacts with us. The sophistication level in this area is increasing non-linearly. Voice activated commands , IOT and several other touch points are changing the landscape of customer experience taking beyond just a site or mobile-app. This innovation will have to be powered by headless commerce to stay ahead of the competition. This is why re-platforming strategy should have an API-Led approach, allowing for faster performance and long-term agility to develop or experiment with user-experience and evolve
with the e-commerce landscape.

The Lows – Where we will land and might not recover

Under-estimation of what we are signing -up

Digital platforms have a 360-degree view and thus are central to strategy but it has been often seen that there is lack of understanding around this , which leads to second-guessing on how much we would end up doing before we are back from the free-fall. Re-platform is not a back-yard initiative , it will hog pole position & thus requires attention.

New Capabilities are not Silver Bullets but Lead Bullets

There is always an underlying assumption that new is always good. A kid always likes new over old and thinks this is what he always wanted but this is not true with new tech. There aren’t any silver bullets here , what we have is a bunch of lead bullets that sum the platform and provide ability to fire shots. There is work involved to create these lead bullets and target our problems. Right solution will always be greater than the sum of its parts !

Another Migration Project

My old experience should work as it is and thus this is only technology driven initiative , marketing will not have an involvement ! This is a make or break mindset which needs to be reset for everybody who is getting engaged with re-platform. It is not a fun initiative and definitely not a migration project! This is the time when processes , experience and how we conduct business would need a re-think and in some cases one should expect a re-boot for a better baseline.

Things To Consider

Compliment Technology Vision with Business Strategy

The value and criterion should be clearly articulated top-down. It is important that lead and lag indicators around the whole initiative should be very clear so that we do not loose pulse or skip heart beat during the process.

Technology Ramp

As much there would be anxiety attack across the business , there will also be double the chaos within technology organization as it fights to balance priority between RTB (Run The Business) & re-platform. The unit will run risk of being torn apart and thus would require astute and skill leadership from technology operations stand-point. A team of quick learners can do wonders and thus having great engineering talent on the team with leadership that carrier operational spine will make a great difference to the re-platform initiative.

Modernize Mindset

Readers who are also avid long distance runners will understand that after certain distance it is not about technique but mindset you have towards the milestone. Everybody will be eager to know and understand that are we done ! BUT the truth is you are not yet done because when you will save yourself from lows and hit the chords for a re-platform to get going  , one would need to climb the highs…that is when the benefits will start unlocking itself. It will require to embrace the fact that you have to…

Build the plane while you’re flying it

The Highs – When the free-fall ends !

Pave Way For More Personalized Experiences

In general Of the 75 percent of carts that are abandoned, 20 percent don’t complete a purchase because checkout processes are too long or confusing.  A customer-centric
experience is vital and this is the platform needs to support business to evolve, grow and deliver a better shopping experience now and well into the future 

Data – Give me more !

When re-platform leads to more decoupled systems and the business is able to to gain more insights from data getting collected at the edge of the enterprise which empowers it to take decisions that are more real in nature.

Provide Faster Performance at scale

As systems grows so does our ability to maintain agility and speed to upkeep performance. A re-platform initiative also aims to solve this problem by providing flexibility to use technology at different levels that helps us to leverage benefits to give better performance. From static complication to scaling , the elasticity of a re-platform that orients itself around distributed cloud infrastructure gives enough room for engineering to deploy solutions in favor of the customer thus the business.

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