Make your platform migration a success
As customers demand ever more sophisticated online interaction – driven, in part, by the rapid advancements in technology – businesses can only stay relevant by delivering a satisfying and engaging online experience. Problems can arise where the existing web platform simply isn’t up to the job, in which case, moving to a new one can drive improvements and significantly boost efficiency.
But the complexities of executing a platform shift shouldn’t be underestimated and careful planning is essential to avoid the many pitfalls that face the unwary. We see the same issues crop up time and again, preventing companies from deriving optimum benefits from their migration. Here are our top five platform migration mistakes.
- There’s no clear roadmap
Most platform migrations are implemented with the aim of improving the customer experience. But be aware that no single solution is likely to encompass all desired outcomes and you may end up trading improvements in a few key areas for compromises in others. For instance, if your new platform offers greater personalisation, it may well result in a correspondingly higher load on your servers, while ironing out performance issues may impair functionality. Review your business processes, assess your needs, define a successful outcome and identify areas in which you’re willing to make compromises. If you’re clear about your priorities, you’ll be that much closer to achieving your goals.
- Your plan is too ambitious
When businesses migrate to a new platform, they often feel it’s also a good time to carry out a complete revamp of the existing website design. The problem is, if too many changes are made concurrently, it can adversely affect the customer experience. It’s important to ensure that the user is familiar with at least some of the features and processes and can interact confidently with them. Don’t over-engineer your solution. Focus instead on making sure that re-platforming seamlessly integrates legacy information, successfully interfaces with business systems, and performs well under pressure.
… or it’s not ambitious enough
On the other hand, organisations don’t always take advantage of the opportunity a platform migration presents to address business inefficiencies and transform operational processes. All too often, concerns over preserving existing workflows override the drive to make improvements that might not only help business to run more smoothly, but also benefit the bottom line. When considering the migration plan, it’s worth asking staff how processes could be improved and inviting technical and development teams to suggest ways of incorporating more efficient workflows into the new platform to replace outdated ones.
- You overlook SEO
The risk to SEO from re-platforming is considerable, so it’s a good idea to make someone responsible for managing SEO. Moving to a new server, even with the same domain name, can significantly impact search engine rankings if overlooked. You’ll need to implement 301 redirects for any product and category pages and ensure you retain your hard-earned search ranking foundation. In short, don’t ignore the front end in the rush to get the back end up and running.
- There’s not enough time for training
Often, all the resources for effecting a platform migration are channelled into the development and transition stages, with little left in the tank to ensure that staff are up to speed with the new system features. It’s crucial that internal users are completely au fait with the new platform and comfortable with the workflows prior to full data migration and integration. This will allow any business problems, technical issues or unmet requirements to be identified early in the project when changes are less disruptive and easier to accommodate.
- You don’t put the new platform to the test
A well-managed platform migration should result in a better online experience, more efficient workflows and – hopefully – a boost to the bottom line. So, it’s important that nothing is left to chance. Analytics tools can offer some insight but there’s no substitute for real data from a customer’s actual online experience. thinkTribe’s load testing and synthetic website monitoring services will ensure the website is ready, picking up otherwise undetected glitches and paving the way for a smooth transition. Make sure to test before launch and after, to measure the impact of migration on performance – and leave enough time to make changes and test again.
Oh, and keep the old site running till you’re 100% sure you’re happy with the new one!
thinkTribe provides cloud-based, managed services precisely tailored to each client’s business and designed to optimise web performance. If you’d like more information about how taking a more realistic approach to load testing could help improve your customer experience, download our ebook here.
Read our case study to find out how realistic load testing helps minimise the risks of platform migration
In our next blog we’ll be providing a checklist for ensuring a smooth transition for platform migration.