Ever since the launch of Magento 2, there have been floods of articles circulating the web which are based on the technicalities of moving from Magento 1(M1) to Magento 2 (M2). This comes as no surprise, being the most popular open source platform and with its ever growing community, Magento has the most developed and extensive marketplace, with thousands of customised extensions and creative solutions for any operations needed for the eCommerce. This alone draws many retailers to opt to build their eCommerce experience for their business on Magento.
With tons and tons of complex and technical based topics and discussions trending the web among the Magento and the eCommerce community, one vital aspect of the migration process has been overlooked, we even believe not discussed enough: “Preparation and Planning” of the move to M2, what needs to happen before we even think about writing the first line of code, what impact and how to prepare your business for this big move?, how do you support your team through the transition? what’s the 10,000ft view of the whole thing?
Below we break down, and outline the most important questions and key factors to consider to move effectively forward with the transformation while keeping your business on track.
Deadline, how long do you have?
In 2017, Magento announced that support for Magento 1 Community Edition (CE) will be discontinued after November 2018.
What this mean for CE retailers, who haven’t completed the migration by then?
End of November 2018, they will stop its Magento-released security patches, these vital security updates, your store—and your sensitive customer data—will be at risk. Gradually M1 extensions and third-party solutions will fade-out as the open source community starts shifting its attention completely to Magento 2.
There have been some suggestions around the web, that support for Magento 1 Enterprise Edition may be extended past November 2018, but Magento hasn’t yet confirmed or denied that. For now, the safest course of action is to complete your migration before November 2018.
High Demand, Limited options
Let’s say you start the move from M1 to Magento 2 now, you would nearly have 12 months to launch, that may sound like plenty of time, but in reality that’s far from realistic when you start considering the specifics below:
- Magento 2 marketplace is still new, not many extensions are still not available – What happens to your connection from Magento to your ERP, CRM, marketing automation and other tools? As with many retailers, most of your eCommerce operations rely on extensions and third party integrations to run effortlessly.
- Development teams are still re-building and tweaking extensions built for Magento 2, this means you will most likely need some custom development work to get your Magento 2 website launched and running smoothly – as will everyone else moving to M2.
Agencies like us, digitalmakkr and developers experienced in Magento 2 with the capabilities to do custom work, are in short supply, with M2 migration projects booking up quickly. These type of big projects are in mass demand with limited production capacity. The longer the retailers wait, the more constraint and limited flexibility they will have, as this leads to extended timelines and large budgets, no matter which agency or developers you partner with. Our advice, don’t delay, act swiftly and effectively.
Points to consider: Determine your needs and your business calendar
Establish a rough estimate of time for your migration considering your current setup and business needs
Take into estimates, your business calendar to identify the best period to focus on this project. e.g. Q4, working around business seasonality and primary industry events is vital to continually run your business without major impacts is key.
Example of Magento 2 Migration Timeline:
With vast amount of experience in successfully working on complex migration projects, we have developed our very own adaptable framework for such projects, feel free to implement and adapt according to your projects needs.
Internal Business Planning: 1-3 months
Never under-value the importance of planning, identifying requirements and scope of the project, allocating team and assigning specific roles for your team and your agency partner. You must with your team understand and document all of specifics mentioned before, so you can work effectively with an agency. It is very evident from past experience, the direct correlation between retailer’s level of homework done for preparation for the project and the length of the project timeline. The way you prepare before the project starts and the way you conduct yourself during the project will be the biggest factor in how quickly the project is completed.
Questions to ask:
- Who will manage the project on your team?
- Is it you or one of your employees?
- Who will need to give input or approval for decisions along the way? – Many delays can be avoided by drawing clear lines around the decision-making process and making sure everyone is kept updated and aligned.
- Does that person have the time to focus on a major project like this? If needed, move some responsibilities to other team members’ plates. This isn’t a project someone can manage on top of a full everyday workload.
- What business initiatives will need to be put on hold while you focus on your migration? What needs to move to your “stop doing” list? We can all be guilty of trying to accomplish too much at once. That can be a dangerous trap to fall into while working through a complex migration.
- Where will the capital come from? As you’ll recall from your last site build, these are not small projects. Planning for the expense is crucial to launching successfully and on time.Hopefully, you’ve already been setting aside some money for your next replatform project. Internet technology evolves quickly, so we advise all of our clients to start saving for their next store as soon as they launch a new store. If liquid cash isn’t an option, will you need financing or third-party investment? It takes a long time to acquire either of those options, so plan accordingly.
Agency Partner Selection & Contract Writing: 2-3 months
If you don’t have an in-house development resources, you are more likely to work with an agency like ours to re-platform to Magento 2 before Magento 1 fades out.
Points to consider: For agency Selection
Most effective method of easing your agency selection process is first of all is doing your preparation, do your homework in listing out your requirements, goals and objectives, this will dramatically facilitate you on your selection process. Agencies like us love clients who are well prepared, one of the main factors we consider is the level of preparation the potential client have done prior, as this means less risk and less overhead for the agency, so we can offer a more competitive pricing.
Another vital aspect of the agency selection process, is taking your time to meet up face-to-face and on-site visits for both sides, as there’s no better way to get to know someone than spending time with them in their “own home”, seeing and experiencing, yours and the agency’s operations will help both parties fully understand in-depth if you and the agency are the right fit for each other.
Surely it comes down to brilliant client/agency collaboration to deliver the strongest return? The best results always come from great teamwork. It is after all, a symbiotic relationship. It’s surely the holy grail that every agency is chasing – a relationship based on a collaborative partnership rather than a client/supplier set up – a much more fulfilling and positive experience both financially and creatively for both parties.
This reassurance is well worth whatever the travel expenses are, make the investment – you won’t regret it.
Just remember when you are ready to find your next agency partnership, don’t hesitate to contact us! We can draft up a detailed Statement of Work (SoW) with a fixed timeline and fixed price as quickly as 2 weeks after our first meeting.
Site development: 6-12 months
Realistically factors such as technical complexity, integration requirements and the amount of custom development required to power your business will determine the actual timeframe of the project.
Ideally minimum of 6 months needs to be allocated for page design, data migration, training, development, integration. and plenty of time for testing and quality assurance.
Small company with small team can relatively move fairly quick compared to big enterprises with multiple website stores and stakeholders, those cases the timeline is more likely to extend accordingly.
Team Training: 2-3 months
One of the essential part of the migration project is ensuring your team is properly trained and its vital that their daily processes are clearly defined and documented.
Make your documentation simple, for example, some processes or tasks can be quickly defined in a numbered list on a single page. Create reference material on these new processes and tools will make the transition from Magento 1 to Magento 2 much easier on your team. And your customers will feel the benefit. Avoiding frustrating and costly customer service complaints, incorrect orders, or confused team members should be a very high priority.
Act now to avoid heart-aches
As its evident, projects like this will roughly take between 11-21 months for delivery, based on the scale of your store and complexity of the build, you could be already behind on schedule, better to act now than even delay further.
Start thinking about your requirements, identify your team roles, scope out your expenses, and just remember when you are ready to find your next agency partnership, don’t hesitate to contact us!
We can draft up a detailed Statement of Work (SoW) with a fixed timeline and fixed price as quickly as 2 weeks after our first meeting. Let’s work together.