How will deploying to SAP commerce cloud transform your digital business

When talking to our clients and customers at Techwave we hear consistent messages and themes developing around the deployment and management of SAP Hybrid and SAP CX as an enterprise commerce solution. Maintaining an up-to-date platform and keeping up with the newest releases; keeping the platform always up and always available; scaling and maintaining the right infrastructure, and staying secure to protect their customers.

A significant challenge with implementing and managing an enterprise commerce platform has always been building and maintaining the infrastructure required to support it, especially in high-volume, high-transaction systems. SAP CX/SAP Hybris implementations are no exception.

In previous versions of SAP Hybrid, customers needed to deploy and maintain complex infrastructure, covering all the required environments (typically at least 3, development, staging/test, and production) and ensuring backups, failovers and load balancing were in place. Not only did this add to the development and support tasks of the IT team, it also impacted the effort and time required to undertake upgrades and implement new features, reducing innovation and adding technical complexity.

In recognition of these challenges to adopting and maintaining a SAP CX Commerce environment, and with the launch of SAP CX Commerce release version 1905 in May 2019, SAP launched their dedicated Cloud hosted version of CX, SAP Commerce Cloud; commonly referred to as CCv2 (Commerce Cloud V2).

What is SAP Commerce Cloud?

SAP Commerce Cloud is a fully managed public cloud hosting solution based on Microsoft Azure that utilizes Kubernetes for automating application deployment and scaling. The backend database is Microsoft Azure SQL DB.

SAP Customers can access the backend Cloud Automation Engine via the online Cloud Portal which provides a full range of self-service tools including backups & snapshots, Build and Deployment management, disaster recovery, scaling, application logs & monitoring

In front of the Cloud Portal sits the provisioned Commerce applications, running the latest versions of SAP CX Commerce, with automated version upgrades following SAP’s half-yearly release standard. The latest versions of SAP CX Commerce come enabled with the decoupled Spartacus (based on the Angular framework) storefront, which uses in-built OCC Rest APIs to communicate with the backend, and the ability to deploy headless commerce applications using Progressive Web Apps, enabling SAP CX customers to build and deploy innovative, agile customer experiences on top of the solid engineering of the SAP CX backend.

If you are not ready to move to Spartacus or a custom-built headless storefront, then the existing SmartEdit-based B2C and B2B Accelerators continue to be developed and supported; enabling a largely like-for-like migration from on-premise SAP Commerce to SAP Commerce Cloud.

In addition, as part of the SAP Customer Experience suite, SAP Commerce Cloud offers tight, out-of-the box integration with SAP Customer Data Cloud, SAP Marketing Cloud, SAP Service Cloud and SAP Sales Cloud.

SAP Commerce Cloud Features

CCv2 enables customers to consolidate and centralize the management of their commerce experience and utilize the latest best-practice in deployment and service automation. It’s all about DevOps enabling your team to concentrate on innovation and experience (which is where your ROI lies) and rely on automation tools to manage code, performance & stability.

The Benefits of Moving to SAP Commerce Cloud

Moving from an on-premise SAP Commerce deployment to cloud hosting with SAP Commerce Cloud comes with immediate & long-term benefits and opportunities

Simplifies and Reduces the TCO

  • Your engineering team can focus on feature development and UX design, rather than keeping the lights on
  • Removes the need for complex, costly application and database hosting
  • Reduces operating costs by automating deployment and operational processes
  • Access new features without additional expenditure – technologies like microservice frameworks, progressive storefronts, automatic scaling, and disaster recovery are built-in and included in your subscription.

Enables you to build agile experiences for every audience

  • The decoupled architecture of headless commerce enables faster and easier changes in UI and new features.
  • Release updates and new experiences to your customers quickly, with shorter development cycles
  • Use PWAs and JavaScript-based storefronts to deliver first-class, interactive & feature rich websites and apps to different devices, all from the same common backend.

Innovate easily with built in integrated extensions

  • Drastically reduce time-consuming upgrade cycles, so that you can exploit the new features of each upgraded version of SAP CX
  • Introduce powerful sales and marketing features by taking advantage of the close integration between CX Commerce Cloud and other SAP CX products like Marketing, Sales, and Service.

Meet Scaling and Availability demands

  • Leverage cloud-only features to scale rapidly on demand as your customer and order base grows
  • Reduce your risk of downtime and outages, and heighten reliability with SAP Commerce Cloud’s 24/7 services
  • processing of orders – the secure, scalable, and reliable SAP Commerce Cloud is available 24/7, scales automatically, and is highly safeguarded.

When should we move?

SAP CX Commerce and the previous SAP Hybrid product are released in versions, most recently with version upgrades released every half year. Like most software products, customers are recommended to keep their systems up to date and running on the most recent, stable versions.

This is doubly true when it comes to e-Commerce systems, platforms that are designed to handle customer payments online, and therefore amongst the most targeted systems by cyber criminals. Keeping systems updated and patched correctly is a critical security and data protection issue.

Following standard software practice, SAP will end the release of versions, and ultimately end technical support, after a given period. The end of life (support) for the most recent versions of SAP Hybrid/SAP CX Commerce is listed in the table below:

Release VersionRelease DateEnd of Life
6.7April 11, 2018August 8, 2020
1808August 8, 2018August 29, 2021
1811December 12, 2018August 29, 2021
1905May 29, 2019August 29, 2021
2005May 13, 2020August 13, 2022

This means that if you are operating any version of SAP CX or Hybrid that is older that 2105, you are already at risk of running an unsupported platform.

With the strategic focus for SAP is now entirely Cloud oriented, such that all current and future versions of SAP CX will be released for Cloud rather than on-premise, making the option to upgrade to the newest releases, but on-premise, a much more difficult option.

If you are an organisation that is running any version of SAP CX Commerce that is below 2105, the time to consider, and prepare, for the upgrade to Commerce Cloud, is now.

Am I ready?

There are clearly a lot of considerations to be made when deciding on your team’s and organisation’s readiness to move.

Outside of budget and resource considerations, there are issues to consider around organisational digital readiness. The move to Commerce Cloud will result in your technical team needing to get to grips with, and be able to manage, in a far more DevOps orientated world.

There is also the question of the organisation’s readiness to exploit the added value and benefits of SAP CX in the Cloud – can you take advantage of the opportunities for omnichannel commerce using an headless architecture? Are you able to make use of other products in the SAP CX suite to enhance marketing, personalization, service, and sales? What cost savings can you identify in infrastructure deployment and support services by removing the need for on-premise/dedicated hosting?

This is where Techwave can step in and support you, both with our overall Digital Value Mapping that assists businesses to identify their organizational maturity, provide comparative benchmarks, and elevate digital capabilities now and in the future; and with a close-in review and analysis of your Commerce environment and current SAP Hybrid/CX platform, working closely with your technical and business teams to identify value, opportunities, and challenges.

We will help you to determine your Cloud Readiness through the services of one of our experienced SAP Commerce Solution Architects, reviewing your code, technology and processes.

What to know more and see how we can help you make the transition?

Let’s get started