As we’ve covered previously on this blog, one of the most common reasons performance falters for e-commerce businesses is a rapid or massive increase in the number of visitors on the site. When site performance begins to lag and customer experience is impacted, many of these organizations decide to migrate to an Oracle or SAP solution—a process known as “replatforming.” However, replatforming can have a number of challenges, including the following:
Undervaluing Testing and Change Management: One of the most difficult aspects of replatforming is that it is typically added to the IT department’s plate on top of all of its other duties such as network maintenance, information security, and employee training. In many cases, this increase in workload causes testing to be pushed aside or completed hastily, leaving the e-commerce business open to a host of post-launch difficulties—like small bugs that testing might have caught—that can negatively impact key performance indicators like average load time. In addition to decreasing customer satisfaction, slow load times can hurt a company’s Google ranking as well (Google even provides free speed testing tools for businesses).
Launching With a “Big Bang”: Whether they are attempting to meet a deadline imposed by upper management or preparing for an upcoming peak season, many organizations take a “flip a switch” approach to replatforming, severely limiting the planning and testing stages. Regardless of the specific IT undertaking, a ‘Big Bang’ approach is often detrimental, as it was for the British government during a recent rollout of a new patient record system for its National Health Service. In some cases, companies that would prefer not to replatform using this method are forced to cram the entire process into a small window because of budgetary or resource restrictions. As you might expect, this strategy limits preparation and increases the likelihood of performance problems after launch.
Treating Replatforming as a Project, Not a Program: Like any massive technological undertaking, when the planning, testing and launch phases are complete there is a tendency for those who worked intensively on the project to breath a huge sigh of relief. But for the truth is that for these IT professionals the replatforming process is far from over. As the business continues to grow and face new challenges, the employees responsible for the replatforming will be tasked with maintaining the new system, performing upgrades and benchmarking and maintaining performance. Launching an e-commerce site on a new database is not the end of a project; rather it is simply the beginning of a new phase.
What Choices Do You Have?
If your online business is suffering from poor performance, your reaction to this article might be something like, “Sure, replatforming will be challenging. But what choice do I have? My business is growing, I can’t allow my website’s performance to decline even further.”
But in reality, you do have options other than replatforming to help you scale your database seamlessly while enhancing performance. ClustrixDB is a true scale-out cloud database built specifically for e-commerce businesses. The database can improve performance over MySQL by five times. So before your organization takes the replatforming leap, consider the full range of options at your disposal.