Do you dream of the day when your work priorities can shift to things that provide real value? How much more long-term growth could your team be driving if they could focus on enhancements like improving customer experience, merchandising, search and enhanced features for customers instead of operational time suckers like uptime, availability, security and support? A future that features happier customers, more predictable online interactions and increased revenues for your company is no longer a far-off dream. A strategically planned and robustly supported move to the cloud can transform that vision for the future into a real-time reality.
Hybris/SAP Commerce has been one of the market’s leading commerce platforms for the last 20 years. Those two decades have created a catalogue of experience that includes a multitude of implementations and a vast collection of unique customer use cases, deployment strategies and hosting scenarios. A few years ago, SAP made a keen observation about where the market was heading and, leveraging its immense bank of knowledge, started offering solutions for moving to the cloud and enabling related services. SAP’s initial cloud offering for Commerce was a Managed Service option, which essentially was hosting Hybris in SAP Data Centers and offering operational assistance from the SAP Support team. Over time, Hybris solution has evolved into a true cloud subscription model called SAP Commerce Cloud. SAP Commerce Cloud is hosted on Microsoft Azure public cloud, powered by Cloud Automation Engine, it provides containerized deployments and a self-service portal that allows customers and partners to be in full control of environments, builds, deployments, and monitoring. The new offering enables full commerce functionality of Hybris and offers additional technologies that can help your team drive big business advantages.
The One-Two Upgrade/Migrate Punch
Unfortunately, assuming that making the transition to the cloud is a simple upgrade that can be executed internally is a costly mistake we’ve seen too many companies make. While the upgrade to a Commerce Cloud-supported version is an essential first step, the work doesn’t stop there. Unless your upgrade is paired with a strategically executed Cloud Migration that considers your company’s unique environment, technology, data, media and code adaptions, you won’t be getting the most value out of your technology investment. In addition to ensuring you can take advantage of SAP Cloud Automation Engine’s full suite of features, like automated scalability and disaster recovery, a well-planned migration will minimize business disruption and get your team and systems operating on the cloud quickly.
Getting the Right Coach In Your Corner
The best boxers have an experienced coach at their side every step of the way and that's where SMITH comes in. SMITH’s best practices for executing a cloud upgrade/migration combination ensure your process is delivered efficiently and effectively.
As a first step, SMITH takes all clients through a short questionnaire to gauge if cloud migration is a viable option and determine the level of organizational effort that will be required. In some instances, a clean implementation/re-implementation of SAP Commerce offers a more efficient path forward, but those are unique scenarios. Factors including your company’s current version, the number of customizations that have been made, how any previous upgrades have been executed and industry requirements and regulations are just a few of the criteria that factor into SMITH’s upgrade and migration decision and planning.
Following the questionnaire, SMITH completes the groundwork for the migration with a streamlined Solution Review. This holistic review combines functional, technical and strategic analysis, including:
- Technical review and code analysis
- Business analysis across day-to-day management and functional usage
- Strategic opportunities and performance improvement
- Creative and UX analysis
- Support and operations process review and recommendations
The Solution Review forms the basis for a detailed analysis and a project plan, aligning your team and SMITH’s support team on timelines, existing extensions that will be kept moving forward, critical integrations and the key resources required from both sides to enable a successful migration that offers quick wins and addresses significant pain points.
Single Project Strategy
During migration, SMITH keeps a laser-like focus on eliminating platform downtime and limiting disruptions to your business. One way we drive these efficiencies is by combining the upgrade and migration steps, starting with the latest release of SAP Commerce in the Azure environments, bringing in the “must keep” extensions and data as needed and merging the delta of the current platform toward the end of the overall project. This approach dramatically reduces code freezes and testing cycles that a typical migration project would require.
SMITH also works closely with the SAP team to ensure the Azure Cloud is optimized with the right number of environments and the entire CI/CD pipeline is established. This typically involves a combination of local and cloud development, build and testing. The SAP Cloud Build Server is fully responsible for the build and deployment pipeline, pulling customer specific extensions, combining them with the base commerce image and creating deployable containers, with the entire process managed from the Cloud Portal by the customer and/or partner. From there, the Cloud Development environment is used for basic unit testing, which is then promoted to a staging environment for full regression testing. Only after success at this stage does the project move on to production.
Code Adaptations and Data Migration
Another important part of the migration is code adaptation. There are a number of changes that are critical to a new cloud deployment of Hybris and its ability to run on Azure. These changes often include:
- Adapting code to reflect the fact that third-party software can no longer be bundled with the build
- Implementing third-party SMTP Relay Service for email support
- Replacing Hot Folders with Cloud Hot Folders, moving from sFTP/NFS to Azure Blob Storage
- Enabling dynamic cache region configurations
- Performing direct database alterations
- Adjusting database queries
Along with the technical support of coding, configurations and extensions, SMITH evaluates and creates a strategy for data and media migration. Product, customer, content, site configurations, search configurations, privacy and regulations, and cart and sessions data are all taken into consideration during this phase of the project.
Validate & Deploy
During the final stages of migration, SMITH conducts automated and manual functional testing and performance testing. We also support your team with onboarding and enablement and provide you with options for go-live and post go-live support. The key to success is working as one cohesive team throughout the entire project. When you partner with SMITH, your team’s roster also includes experts from the SAP Cloud team. The SAP Cloud team brings exceptional Cloud Support expertise to the project, including their Cloud Readiness Check, which features solution design, code quality, data maintenance policy, security and performance checks.
Would you like to learn more about how SMITH can support your team in upgrading and migrating to the cloud more effectively and efficiently? Let’s connect to discuss your business’ unique needs.