Elastic Path, a particular brand of enterprise eCommerce software, is the leading pioneer of APIs and headless commerce. Long before other major players caught on, Elastic Path took a big risk on headless commerce. In fact, they were shifting focus and developing API-first architecture back in 2012.
The gamble paid off, and Elastic Path is expanding, as the demand for headless solutions grows. Consider Apple Watches that allow you to shop, track your fitness, answer texts, and more - all on the go. Or self-assessing cars that detect issues and alert you to get them fixed. All of these require the API-architecture in which Elastic Path is an expert.
If you are considering an Elastic Path implementation for your business, here are five key things to know.
Elastic Path Implementation
1. Set Specific Goals
Think back to all the major projects you’ve been a part of over the years. Likely, some of them were executed without having specific, measurable goals in mind. They probably ran over budget or past their deadline.
A lack of criteria also makes it difficult to determine if your efforts are succeeding, which tasks to prioritize, and if you’re staying on task.
Some examples of specific goals include:
- A 10% increase in conversion rates over a two-year time frame
- A 30% increase in web traffic over the 18 months following the relaunch
Furthermore, specific goals ensure cross-functional alignment. Executives need to be on board, but so does IT, sales, finance, operations, and more. Leaders of each of these teams need to communicate the same message, including the specific goals to which their teams are held accountable.
Ultimately, your goals should quantitatively define why the project is important to your bottom line.
2. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
An Elastic Path implementation will require immense cooperation between departments. Consequently, you’ll need team members who embrace teamwork.
In fact, per Salesforce, 86% of employees and executives cite a lack of collaboration and ineffective communication for workplace failures. So a team member who is collaborative, flexible, and willing to understand other departments’ perspectives and concerns is a critical asset during implementation.
If you can readily identify teams that have worked together successfully on other projects, consider utilizing them. If not, identify employees who have the knowledge and expertise, but also the right attitudes.
Finally, create opportunities for your eCommerce team to spend time together outside of the project. Perhaps it’s a happy hour or a hike. If you have teams that are spread out across the country or globe, spend the money to bring them together for a retreat. Teams that like and know each other will work together far more seamlessly than those that do not.
3. Go Agile or Go Home
Agile is a widely-known process for project management. Essentially, a team manages a project by breaking it up into several stages. Each stage involves constant collaboration with stakeholders.
Throughout each stage, there is improvement and iteration, continually cycling through planning, executing and evaluating. By doing so at each stage, teams ensure that they end up with the strongest product possible. Accordingly, Agile has a much higher success rate than traditional Waterfall methodology (64% compared to just 49%).
Agile also ensures that teams evolve the project as more discoveries are made, responding to new information rather than sticking to an inflexible plan.
Rather than creating the project scope all at once up-front, Agile will guide your Elastic Path implementation through a more fluid approach. This is critical, as it eliminates backtracking. Particularly in software development, backtracking can become needlessly expensive.
A strong agile approach requires:
- Automation - tests that can be conducted throughout each iteration to make sure that your project is progressing
- Case management - ongoing test cases and oversight
- Leadership - the right people empowered to prioritize, execute, and slowly but steadily roll out well-tested functionality
And the list could go on.
Additionally, you’ll need to take an Agile approach to your teams. This includes training everyone in mixed groups so that they can understand things from one another’s perspective. It also means that rather than grouping teams by department, you should group them by functionality. For example, a team that’s based around conversions might consist of marketers, designers, coders, and more.
4. Connect with Your Customers
It’s easy to forget that the entire goal of an Elastic Path implementation is to develop the best possible solutions for your customers.
Consequently, it’s worth running your initial iterations past a small sampling of customers. This may involve everyone from the general public to suppliers.
Take advantage of multiple ways to gather input:
- Focus groups - for robust but limited insights
- Surveys - for larger sampling groups
- Secondary Research - competitors’ information, industry benchmarks, etc.
- A/B Testing - for comparing approaches
This data will inform the rest of your implementation.
5. Use What You Have
Don’t waste time - and money - reinventing a path forward. Examine existing roadmaps: your current software, your vendor teams’, additional solutions available for purchase, and more. Determine if you really need to build something from scratch, or if you can buy it predesigned and tweak as necessary.
eCommerce projects are a massive undertaking, but Elastic Path solutions ensure their longevity for the future. By following these five basic concepts, you can make the process far smoother. To learn more about API-architecture and how to determine your company’s needs, contact the team at Object Edge today.