The MARTEC360 team of experts has performed countless eCommerce Replatforms over the past 20 years. We provide consulting to choose a new eCommerce Platform, in addition to leading an implementation for your business.
There are 3 key elements that will be part of your new eCommerce Replatform:
Below are the steps to plan for a successful replatform. Please contact us to learn more about Project Management for Implementations.
- Define the vision for the new platform
- Build business case for new platform
- Define the business requirements
- Perform an “gap-analysis”
- Audit existing systems and infrastructure
- Prioritize the project requirements
- Research ecommerce systems and providers
- Determine your Implementation Team
- Gain consensus on schedule and launch timeline
- Stay realistic with expectations
You are making this change for a reason, and it is a huge investment in your future. It will bring value to meet with your team to establish goals and document pain points that you want to make sure are solved in your new platform.
Keep in mind your business process and meet with each department to document requirements before you do a project kick off. This will support the research that needs to be completed to establish a budget and timeline.
The is the first “list of requirements” that you will create with your team. This list will evolve over time, during and after the project. While your new platform will solve for your old pain points, it will also offer new solutions that you will want to utilize to full advantage. It is recommended the you work with an out-side (3rd) party on these requirements to remove ambiguities in the requirements as well as confirm that they are focused on a solution that is not an additional customization that can increase costs in the middle of the project.
Perform an “gap-analysis” against your current website, your wish list of features, and your new platform. It is important to know, before the project kick off, that all the stakeholders understand what is possible for the Implementation, and what will need to be budgeted as a fast-follower or scheduled for a later date. Most of the time we try to fit all of the requirements into the initial implementation, but the more time you spend planning and budgeting up front, the less risk your project will have of going over budget or not launching on schedule.
Audit your existing IT systems and infrastructure for compatibility with the new platform. Often we see clients sign up for a new platform which will also require an entire new hardware systems. This is not a cost that you want to risk incurring right before your website is ready to launch. Check your systems before the project kick-off so you you can budget and plan for your IT systems to support your new platform.
Now that you have defined everything you want, it is time to determine what is most important and what is a “nice to have” regarding the business requirements. As you go through the project development cycle, there are many risks that can impact a replatform project. By meeting with the stakeholders, and defining the priorities of each use case, everyone can be in agreement on the project before the project is started. This review will include considerations regarding what the out-of-the-box solution is for the new platform, additional costs and effort related to customizations, and how each element will impact the schedule and launch goals.
Now that you have determine what you want in a new platform, researching the vast options of commerce systems will be much easier. Additionally, you will be able to directly compare each system to determine which will meet your business and budget needs most effectively.
One area of risk that is often overlooked is the time commitment that will be added to your current team’s roles and responsibilities. Before you commit to a replatform, meet with the stakeholders and determine who will be working on the project on a day-to-day basis. Ensure that they will have time in their schedule to commit to the project and support the implementation of your new business processes as they relate to the new platform. This is the time to consider if you should bring in a full time consulting team to manage the entire project, from development to training, as a replatform will touch everyone and every part of your team.
The schedule will depend on cost and team availability. The easiest and more reliable way to build a schedule is under the assumption that each implementation team member will be 100% dedicated to the project. However, this scenario is rarely the case and the schedule will need to consider the true availability of each team member. Ideally, you will want to choose a launch date during a non-peak season to provide enough time for production verification and training the team on the new platform.
While the team will be excited about a brand new platform, there will be a learning curve in addition to customizations on top of the out-of-the-box solutions. It is very exciting to get a new technology with fun new features, but it will require significant effort in your team and organization to get to the launch date. As you come across missed requirements and changes, keep in mind that you are moving into the next phase of your growth as a company, and the new platform implementation is just the first step.