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Four Tips when Upgrading from SiteGenesis to SFRA

Astound Commerce is the Storefront Reference Architecture (SFRA) expert on Salesforce Commerce Cloud. We were the first to launch a customer on SFRA—and we’ve done it many times since.

In Part One of our five-part series, The 5-4-3-2-1 on Upgrading to Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s SFRA, we took a look at the Five Reasons to Upgrade to Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s SFRA.” Here in Part Two, we discuss important considerations when upgrading your ecommerce site from SiteGenesis to SFRA.

Scott Boreing
Solution Architect Manager, at Astound Commerce

Train Your Trailblazers

SFRA is different from SiteGenesis in a number of ways. For developers, one difference that will particularly stand out is in the code. Both SFRA and SiteGenesis use a popular software architecture known as MVC, which stands for model-view-controller. However, the architecture is implemented in very different ways:

  • Models provide the system objects and data. In SiteGenesis, models are surfaced via prepackaged pipelets or custom scripts using a proprietary JavaScript-like language. In SFRA, server-side JavaScript is utilized with syntax that allows extending objects stored in Salesforce’s database.
  • Controllers control business logic. This is where the code differences are most profound: SiteGenesis uses a graphical programming language called pipelines, while again, SFRA uses pure JavaScript.
  • Templates control the view of the application. Here the code format did not change—Internet Store Markup Language (ISML) is still the syntax of choice—but in SFRA, the MVC pattern and client-side frameworks lend themselves to more modern techniques.

Your Commerce Cloud developers must be introduced to SFRA’s different concepts as early as possible to set your project up for success. Salesforce offers such training via Trailhead, while Astound can augment that training upon request. If you are interested in learning more, please get in touch.

(Re)consider Your Customizations 

Your current website has served you well. It’s time to upgrade, but you’re still fond of the years of development that you’ve put into it. You are appreciative of the business logic you’ve added and the user experiences you’ve customized. It’s uniquely your site and a reflection of your brand’s vision.

Upgrading to SFRA is an opportune time to take a fresh look at these customizations and reconsider what the reference application provides you out of the box. In SFRA’s case, those out-of-the-box features and plugins are fairly robust. Between buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), Einstein predictive product recommendations, mobile payments, social logins, and more, you may find that what SFRA provides can serve your business even better than the custom logic you’ve implemented on your current platform. 

Instead of insisting on carrying over every business customization, focus on the true differentiators for your brand. If it’s not an experience that sets your brand apart, consider what SFRA provides out of the box—this open-mindedness will save you time and money.

Coordinate a Feature Freeze

The migration of your Commerce Cloud site(s) to SFRA is no small task for your development team. They will be very busy architecting, building, and optimizing—in some cases, all while learning a brand-new tech stack. Every stakeholder in your Commerce Cloud operation must understand that your team will have a singular focus throughout the migration process. Every deviation from this focus comes with a cost.

It might be tough to swallow, but during this development, consider when you will enforce a feature freeze on your current website. Presumably, every new feature you add will need to be reimplemented on the new website. Understand that such changes will impact the scope and timeline of your migration. If you can, try to limit this as much as possible, especially late in the project. Define a feature freeze milestone up front in your project plan to limit impacts down the line.

Pick the Right Partner

Each SiteGenesis site only gets migrated to SFRA once. There might be no bigger decision than the partner you choose to aid you in this journey. Check for these criteria:

  • A good partner will have a robust portfolio of clients whose sites you can browse and test-drive.  
  • On top of that, they should be able to provide a handful of direct references from those clients who are willing to speak to you about their experience.
  • A good partner will have certifications both at a human level (Salesforce-certified individuals) as well as a business level.

Astound is pleased that we can check all of these boxes.

Furthermore, a good partner devotes real time and energy to understand you, your unique business needs, and your particular ecommerce strategies. A good partner is more than a passive LinkedIn connection but a valuable resource for years to come. They are not in the business of cranking out projects and leaving you with the mess of running the site.  

Astound would very much appreciate the opportunity to show you what good partnership is all about.

Need help implementing SFRA on Salesforce Commerce Cloud? We’re here for you; please get in touch.

Headed to Dreamforce and want to speak with us in person? Visit us at booth #1729.

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