Rogers Communications, SharperImage.com and Express each had one goal: to transform their monolithic commerce platform into something far more modern. To fulfill that mission, all of these major brands chose commercetools. So, we asked technology leaders who previously worked at these businesses – and now work at global digital agency Valtech – about their experience with a commercetools migration to give you an inside look on what working with commercetools is really like, from beginning to completion.
We spoke to Warren Cable, Vice President, Commerce at Valtech (formerly of Rogers Communications); Mihaela Mazzenga, Senior Vice President of Technology Strategy (formerly of SharperImage.com); and Tim Steele, Vice President, Commerce (formerly of Express) to get all of their insights about what a migration from a rigid monolithic platform to commercetools actually entails and all the benefits that come with it. Here’s what they said.
Warren Cable: We wanted to future-proof our tech stack with technology focused on business outcomes. We made the decision to move away from our monolithic commerce platform and started with the CMS, deciding to go the headless route. This was around 2018 when the idea of headless was not as widely adopted as it is today.
We chose Berlin-based startup Contentful for the CMS. They introduced us to commercetools, who were, at the time, also an up-and-coming startup. We got to know the team over in Berlin quite well. We loved the product and the company's vision of disrupting the enterprise eCommerce industry.
Mihaela Mazzenga: I was very familiar with SaaS offerings and the concept of decoupling your core business logic away from your presentation layer, so I sought out the best vendors in the commerce space. commercetools was chosen for their expertise and for their scalability in core commerce capabilities.
Tim Steele: I learned about commercetools when we started looking at new commerce platforms to replace ATG, our existing commerce platform. We were looking at commerce platforms that could natively support multi-channel interfaces through APIs. As we looked at commercetools, its headless and API-first approach was perfect for our use case. Furthermore, commercetools being a scalable SaaS solution matched our strategy to move our existing eCommerce to the cloud for better scalability and resiliency benefits.
Mihaela Mazzenga: We were on a very tight timeline, so we leaned on commercetools a lot for their expertise and collaboration, both through their solution engineers and standard support. commercetools acted in true partnership to support us.
Tim Steele: During the entirety of the ATG re-platform project, we worked very closely with the commercetools team. They were onsite for the kick-off and developer training, and continued to support us through our go-live. Our team had weekly touch bases with commercetools services and the success team. We collaborated and confirmed architectural and technical design decisions that helped us best leverage the platform. They helped guide us, so we had the best solutions and assisted with technical, operational and cultural changes involved with a composable commerce migration. Throughout the roll-out and deployment of the commercetools platform, they helped with performance testing and debugging. The commercetools team was very invested in the success of our project.
Warren Cable: We saw a significant shift in our team culture. Going to market with best-of-breed tools, with brands that are challenging the traditional ways of going to market – that can have a positive impact on your team culture and attracts a certain kind of engineering talent that really does make a difference to your business.
Mihaela Mazzenga: Yes, the project is live. In terms of operations, all of the active server management we were doing daily went away and we no longer had to worry about scaling for peak traffic.
Tim Steele: The project went live and was a success through a peak holiday season. After the go-live, there were several technical, operational and cultural changes. Technically, we have found integration with third parties to be faster and easier. Operationally, we could focus less on platform updates and maintenance and, instead, on new features and improvements. Culturally, our development practices shifted to decoupled and iterative deployments instead of large monolithic changes. Overall, we found that migrating to commercetools allowed us to deliver value faster and operate more flexibly than our previous platform.
Read our Customer Possibility Stories for Express and SharperImage.com to get even more details about their migrations from legacy suites – and how commercetools delivered the features they needed to get the most out of their digital commerce platforms.
In his role as Vice President of Commerce at Valtech, Warren Cable brings expertise in managing client business strategies and digital experiences for many global brands. Prior to his position at Valtech, Warren worked as Vice President of Digital at Rogers Communications.
Mihaela Mazzenga, Senior Vice President of Technology Strategy, leads the technology strategy practice for Valtech North America, with a focus on driving business value through the application of MACH to client transformations. In her previous role as the CTO at SharperImage.com, Mihaela led a massive transformation from a monolithic system to a MACH solution amidst the pandemic.
As Vice President of Commerce at Valtech, Tim Steele manages client digital commerce capabilities and infrastructure. Previously in his career, Tim was the director of engineering for US fashion retailer Express, where he led, directed and architected the brand’s commerce tools.