Moving to cloud-based commerce technologies requires learning new skills and mastering more nimble development methodologies.

In the cloud, you may work with the global providers like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. You might end up embracing new technologies like Node.js and Kubernetes. Cloud-based apps and platforms will give you the flexibility to adjust your customer experience rapidly, if your staff has proper training and experience. Development cycles that used to take months can happen in weeks, if you use the right methodologies.

Moreover, you have to think in terms of two development challenges: migrating to new cloud technologies and getting the most benefit from the cloud in the years to come.

These are the primary knowledge and methodology factors to keep in mind when you’re moving to a cloud-based commerce platform:

Managing Skillsets, Knowledge and Experience 

Running an on-premises commerce suite is much different from a cloud-hosted commerce system. For instance, cloud commerce requires more knowledge on the intricacies of networking. And just because you know how to manage VMware doesn’t mean you know how to manage Google Cloud. Development that happened in hypervisors in your legacy commerce system will run in clusters and pods in the cloud. You can’t assume that this kind of knowledge translates easily.

The same concept applies to your developers and tactical leads. No matter how many years they’ve been managing applications in hosted environments, they must be trained to do the same work in the cloud.

Thus, when you’re planning to migrate commerce operations to the cloud, you have to take the learning curve into account. Progress will be slow in the beginning as people learn the ropes. After the migration, you have to adapt your development methodologies to the new cloud environment.

Mastering Cloud Development Methodologies

Conventional waterfall development is usually too rigid and time-consuming. By contrast, Agile methodologies help you iterate quickly in sprints of two weeks. When you’re running a cloud commerce migration, Agile sprints and teams help you quickly organize and implement your new environment.

Once you’ve moved your commerce to the cloud, you need strong processes and policies governing software release cycles. Here, pairing Agile practices with DevOps principles packs a powerful punch.

Even if you already use Agile and DevOps, you need rigorous planning and thorough training up-front to apply them successfully in the cloud. Don’t assume it’s easy to adapt Agile and DevOps in an unfamiliar ecosystem.

Getting Help with Skills and Methodologies

At DMI, we’ve found that it’s most helpful to figure out as much as you can up-front, before you migrate to a cloud commerce environment. That means acquiring the required skills and processes before you dive too deep into the process.

Our teams have decades of digital commerce and development experience. We’ve done enough cloud commerce migrations in enough sectors to know the common pitfalls and best practices. That’s the kind of technical acumen you need to thrive in the age of cloud commerce.

Andrew Powers, senior vice president, solutions delivery, digital commerce