Article originally posted at Grid Dynamics Blog

Replatform ATG’s Black Box with Microservices for a True Omnichannel Experience

If you want your customers to have a seamless shopping experience no matter where they are or what device they’re using, but you’re stuck with a black box legacy system like Oracle ATG, you may think a true omnichannel experience is beyond your reach.

It’s past time to migrate off ATG

Why are we telling you about this now? When we first warned, back in 2017, that it was time to get off of ATG, we showed how the platform failed to support real-time inventory, couldn’t scale catalog services, and crippled efforts to use the cloud to meet peak performance needs.

  • Omnichannel commerce is fundamental to today’s retail experience. But legacy platforms are stuck back in the ’90s when the web was the only digital touchpoint to worry about. According to Marketing Week, the average consumer in 2003 typically used two touchpoints when buying an item, and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today, however, consumers use nearly six touchpoints, with 50% regularly using more than four. Using ATG and other monolithic third-party products for omnichannel commerce poses even more significant challenges, which we’ll get into in a future post.
  • Legacy systems like ATG aren’t cloud-native; rather than investing time and effort to shoehorn aging platforms onto the cloud, it makes more sense to retire them and focus future investments in modernization and re-platforming. The legacy behemoth can’t be deployed easily through any modern cloud providers, requiring companies instead to load up on hardware to meet peak demands — servers that then sit idle for long stretches of time. It is possible to use brute force to get ATG into the cloud, but such lift-and-shift isn’t worth the time and effort involved.
  • Perhaps worst of all, ATG’s exorbitant license and maintenance costs represent an ongoing budget drain. With limited budgets, it’s much more cost-effective to spend on building out a cloud-based solution rather than try and configure ATG.

Go “headless” for omnichannel

What retailers actually want is a unified omnichannel platform, something legacy ATG struggles to be. But that’s where a headless microservices commerce component option can shine. It can be deployed in the cloud and at the edge, with UI components to cover the web, mobile apps, and the point of sale.

  • SaaS, or software as a service. Only buy what you need from the smorgasbord of software tools on the market and only pay when you use it.
  • Licensed tools. Another form of buying what you need, but you pay for use during a specified period of time.
  • Open-source tools. If your needs are basic, there may be any number of no-charge open source projects that already provide the functionality you seek. In some cases, you can buy licenses for customized versions of these tools.
  • Stick with the cloud
  • Weave everything together with APIs
  • Always connect back to data

It’s up to you: rapid or incremental

Once you’ve decided to re-platform, there are two main paths to accomplish this headless commerce component approach — rapid and incremental.

How we can help make the re-platforming leap

The advantages are clear: A headless commerce component approach provides a modern e-commerce platform that legacy ATG can’t achieve. If you want to lower costs, increase flexibility, enjoy differentiated experiences and deploy your choice of best-of-breed tools, it’s time to move beyond a purely build or buy scenario. Sound too risky? Engage an experienced engineering services company like Grid Dynamics that’s been through the process and knows how to guide you around any potential hazards.

We accelerate digital transformation of Fortune-1000 US enterprises. We bring expertise in customer experience, data analytics, and cloud, lean software, etc.