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Re-platforming: The Case For Starting Over

By Jon MacDonald
3 minute read | Last Updated: June 3, 2016

“Weirdly, it’s almost easier to start from nothing, re-platform, and build up from there.” – Quote from a client of The Good

The only thing preventing revenue gains at a company that has changed its online philosophy from marketing at customers to service for customers is old technology. While we fully believe technology itself adds no value, it definitely subtracts value, and quickly.

Old thinking, old technology, and old platforms really keep companies from moving forward.

In a perfect world, every brand would be better off simply starting over; exporting the old metrics and reporting data, and moving to a fresh, lightweight, cloud-based system that forever frees digital departments from the slow moving politics of internal IT departments.

Old technology is crippling

If your company’s progress is held back by legacy systems, it’s better to cut the cord and start over fresh, as quickly as possible. The time and cost involved in integrating new systems with old systems always ends up costing more than starting fresh.

Old technology is often a huge barrier between offering a web experience that serves customers content they are seeking and presenting stale content that is impossible to update because of the legacy system. Don’t let legacy systems hold you back from helping your customers.

If like most brands, you use digital as one of your channels for revenue growth, your website is the centerpiece. Creating a website that is meaningful for your customers and easy for you to manage is step number one.

Drawbacks to re-platforming

Aside from sticker shock, there are really no drawbacks to re-platforming.

But budget shouldn’t deter progress.

While it certainly has more up-front costs over doing nothing, starting over doesn’t mean wiping out your entire year’s budget.

SAAS (software as a service) platforms provide most of what brands need: a solid foundation for future growth, extensibility, less technical hiccups or maintenance, and a monthly payment plan. And it costs less to utilize a SAAS platform over the older, self-hosted technology that is currently in play.

You’ll probably end up saving money

In our experience, the best way to assess any budget decision for re-platforming is to determine your return on investment (ROI) of re-platforming versus sticking with what you have. In the vast majority of cases our clients have determined that the return outweighs the costs.

There are two types of costs to assess: Internal costs and External Costs.

Internal costs are the expenses of just managing and administering the website. These include everyday items like processing and fulfilling orders, marketing campaign tasks, and creating and updating content.

External costs take into account revenues lost from customers who are unable to complete tasks and leads who are not able to submit requests or access content. Calculating the revenues lost because of external costs can quickly add up to more than the cost of re-platforming.

Your platform is showing

If your customers notice which platform your site is running on, odds are it is because they have run into a problem. If they don’t, it is because you’ve invested in an acceptable baseline of technology (whether SaaS or self-hosted) that runs quickly and isn’t a huge pain to navigate or buy from.

This puts you on par with every other mildly competitive brand out there.

Your platform, CMS, and feature sets have very little inherent value. They are the price of admission to get in the game. Good technology is now the baseline, and optimizing the consumer experience by reducing all of your brand’s online conversion killers is the way to victory.

Getting wrapped up in legacy technology will cost the most time, effort and budget. Don’t let legacy hold you back.