Today’s e-commerce market calls for Agile Platforms
Agile is the most recognized and widely used methodology in software development presently and for a good reason. It offers some clear advantages for businesses, like
• reduced time-to-market when building a minimum viable product
• shorter planning stage, especially when migrating complex systems
• ability to gather dynamic feedback to avoid developing unnecessary functionality
• greater flexibility to continuously improve your solution over time
Cumulatively, it helps reduce costs and allows a business to stay ultra-competitive in today’s dynamic e-commerce market.
Using the Agile methodology is a necessity because of the fast-paced environment and healthy competition in e-commerce. Also, new digital marketing technologies evolve and can drastically increase the effectiveness of the already existing marketing channels and logistic options.
Regularly, new disruptive technologies appear that change user experience entirely. The way we approach customers is being reimagined and redefined by new touch points every year. Supporting cross-platforming and accommodating omnichannel strategies have become essential in today’s market, as bigger brands may have to work with hundreds of new customer touchpoints. This environment creates risks for new integrations, and custom development can become time-consuming, cumbersome, and costly for bigger companies, resulting in increased time to market.
Another major challenge that top brands face is a geographical expanse of the sales. A lot of platforms lack the ability to rapidly monetize new technologies and to support geographic regions that require adjusting to local currencies and payment methods, as well as working with local partners, accommodating for local laws, taxes, and logistics.
An internal challenge often presents itself for the major brands when a lot of different legacy and new systems need to be integrated with each other - from ERPs to SalesForce type of tools - or when a business starts growing by merging with smaller companies. All the participants of this process might already have their established digital eco-systems, which are often extremely challenging to combine. Plus, lots of older backend systems are not built to handle the requirements of the modern e-commerce sites (performance, 24/7 availability, instant pricing, etc.). As a result, many of the traditional processes need completely rethought.
The advancement in technology and the rise of the e-commerce space itself create new challenges and make it critical for businesses to be extremely adaptable to keep up with the rapid changes. Feedback gathered from our clients shows that not being able to keep up with the market dynamics is the most common reason for migrating to a different platform. And a migration is never an easy process.
For these reasons, many leading brands are migrating entirely to new Agile digital eco-systems that can be built and shaped as needed, yet their pieces plug into each other seamlessly and form a stable structure.
Choosing an Agile Platform plays a key role in a project’s success
As an e-commerce platform vendor, we often face the challenge of defining what kind of platform and what kind of business model is best to offer our clients to provide long-term competitive advantages in such a dynamic market. What kind of customer relations model should we choose to ensure the high success rate of project integration and development?
There is no simple answer to that. Our experience shows that these challenges don’t get solved just by choosing the “right” platform, there also needs to be a more sophisticated approach. The vendor needs to be actively involved in the realization of your solution’s implementation project.
Each business is unique and requires a personalized approach to setting up its new system. That’s why it’s essential to have the vendor involved throughout the entire process of developing your platform’s architecture, as well as setting up team roles and DevOps flow. Doing this would help establish one seamless process of creating client value. A lot of our customers also found it extremely helpful to have the right support in building the infrastructure for development, management, and maintenance of their new solution.
Here is one of our latest case studies on successful integration as an example:
“The new platform takes advantage of a lot of the latest thoughts on high-performance, high-quality software development. By adopting this solution, we are adopting technologies that will allow us to better structure how we build the rest of our systems internally. It’s the flagship for our re-engineering of our technology practices.” - says Kevin Cory, VP-Technology and Strategic Planning, GC Incentives.
From the vendor’s side working closely with our clients on implementing their customized solutions provides us with constant feedback from the actual market where our software is being used and ensures that we stay Agile in our platform development.
Here’s how we do it
We stick to some core principles that we believe are helpful in meeting today’s standards of e-commerce market and keeping up with its fast pace:
• Virto Commerce platform is open source (check out our GitHub repository)
• The Roadmap is open and always available to all the users and generally to anyone, who’s curious about our plans
• Our backlog is also open and is being built based on demands of the actual current projects
• The platform has modular architecture and is evolving and scaling naturally
• Open ticket system
• Our development, testing and support processes, including all the tools, are easy to clone and implement
The resulting impact is that our platform development team and the customer’s solution team can work together. While our client has their team or development partners work on their customized solution, we’re adjusting the platform to their needs on our side at the same time.
There is always a possibility for our partners to influence our development priorities. Their demands go directly to our backlog, which allows us to be responsive to the customers’ most urgent business needs. The use of this dynamic collective knowledge lets Virto Commerce get continuously enhanced and updated most efficiently.
These elements also ensure easy integration with our team and the Virto Commerce Platform and create a seamless Agile process (Platform - solution), high customer value and the best time-to-market.
Advantages for the vendor
• Working with real business cases and getting great insight, as well as real market-based experience
• Receive the latest information on the market from the end-user, as well as from business analysts and software architects
• Constant dynamic feedback on the processes, quality, and resources
Advantages for the solution provider
• Access to the agile, constantly evolving platform
• Getting a complete, fully ready management, development, testing, scaling and support infrastructure that is continuously enhanced and upgraded based on real projects
• An opportunity to influence the platform’s development process and priorities to have it accommodate the company’s needs
• Gaining access to the vendor’s vast knowledge base and experience