Business Owner: Let's summarize what has been said about headless for my Board of Directors.
Oleg Zhuk: Yes, let's do that. In fact, companies that want to launch a B2B portal have 3 ways.
The first way is to buy an ecommerce solution "out of the box", usually a cloud solution. Using one of the vendor-ready templates you can get the online store there. This can be done quickly and inexpensively. If later some kind of customization is required, there will be difficulties and, most likely, you will have to change the platform.
The second and third way is when system write you a solution from scratch or help your team do so. This is where the choice of the platform architecture will be including the principle of headless. Reject the proposals to make a monolithic solution for you, starting to write code from a blank screen. Instead, using the headless principle, begin to assemble a platform from ready-made modules. The last ones will take existing API-driven applications and build a solution from them. It is fast, flexible and, what is important, the already tested functional modules with a minimum of bugs are used. You are able to take the best applications on the market in your niche and integrate them into an ecommerce solution.
Now, let’s review the essence point by point:
1. Headless architecture is not an absolute and definitive advantage in IT development and ecommerce. If you see that something can be done faster with a more traditional application architecture, do it that way. Give it a try, see the customer reaction, and get a response. You may not need headless at the very beginning of this journey. You just need to test your ideas, get a response from your customers. Many out-of-the-box systems are suitable for this.
2. The situation changes when you plan to develop different sales channels. If you see you can improve the speed of development, reduce the cost of development since specialization appears, then use headless. Employees begin to focus better through team specialization. For example, you see that you can change the design faster than in the current version of the product. Or suppose you can develop your application at the same pace as the technologies around you, you want to take full advantage of new technologies, use development automation — just do it. This is all easier to implement using the headless architecture.
The headless architecture allows for faster organization of product development. Since it is possible to divide developers into groups, each dealing with a specialized module, and then dock based on standard protocols, it is possible to reduce the time to market for a software product significantly. Moreover, with headless, you are ready to change technologies since the docking protocols remain, and the modules themselves can be altered for new frameworks, new sales channels. If new client communication opportunities come along, you add such technology support to your platform, and everything continues to work within the single business logic.
3. You must be careful. That is, for every point of investment in IT, you must have an understanding and assessment criteria that technologies bring you and your business a corresponding advantage. In the absence of such metrics, then sometimes technology can even be harmful. In fact, the team should focus on the product side of the business, understand the benefits of technology and what innovative technologies will be used for.
4. Remember that working with a headless architecture requires a company to have a development team, and an experienced one. Or you will have to sign a contract with an implementation partner (aka system integrator) who will follow you, write down your wishes and do this work.
Flexibility to adapt to future technologies is the most significant advantage of headless. And the business must understand this and use this advantage for their own purposes.
If you have any questions, please contact me at Virto Commerce by email: [email protected].