Ready, Set, Maintain

May 18, 2021

By: Corey Gelato, Senior Strategy Consultant , Adobe

Accelerating Commerce blog header

Tips for maintaining your Adobe Commerce & Magento Open Source sites to maximize business value and uptime

Once your Adobe Commerce or Magento Open Source site has successfully launched, your team enters a new phase with big opportunities for the growth of your digital business. The work of fine tuning site performance and optimizing your digital storefront for maximum sales creates possibilities for your digital experience to get even better over time.

It is hard to overstate the importance of taking advantage of the opportunity to maintain your site. Imagine if you were running a brick-and-mortar store: customers expect you to keep the store clean, continually update merchandising, and add new features like interactive displays that help grow sales. The same is true for your digital storefront. Regular maintenance and upgrades ensure site security and performance, while also allowing you to add new features that improve the customer experience, increase conversions, and support rapid growth.  

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If your business depends on e-commerce for a significant share of its revenue, site maintenance is a business-critical function. Delaying maintenance and upgrades can lead to unplanned downtime, which can leave your customers stranded—and directly affect your company’s bottom line. For example, research suggests e-commerce giant Amazon could lose roughly $13 million per hour of downtime

Outages aren’t your only concern. As hackers and malware become more sophisticated, it’s essential to ensure site security is always up-to-date. If not, you can find yourself dealing with a data breach, as well as collateral damage to your business. According to IBM, it costs the average company $3.86 million—and takes them 280 days—to deal with the fallout from a data breach.

Fortunately, implementing a solid maintenance plan can virtually eliminate these risks and allow you to extend web store capabilities as your business grows and changed. This post provides proven tips for maintaining—and enhancing—your Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source websites.

Create a maintenance plan—and stick to it

Because maintenance is routine, it’s easy to put off. When you’re dealing with a long queue of requests from multiple stakeholders—all of them urgent—you may be tempted to let things slide. A written maintenance plan—coupled with notifications and reminders—can help keep you and your team on track. Your plan might include weekly, monthly, and quarterly activities.

Some activities that might fit into a weekly or monthly maintenance plan include website speed and performance checks, security patches, and testing forms and links. If you’re running Adobe Commerce 2.4 or Magento Open Source 2.4, the Site Wide Analysis Tool can provide helpful insights on website health, security updates, and more.

Treat updates like small launches

Beyond routine maintenance, you also need to stay current with system updates.  When updating your Adobe Commerce or Magento Open Source site , it's a great idea to revisit some of the processes that made your initial rollout a success. In fact, it can be helpful to think of a system update as a “mini launch.” 

Adobe also makes it easy to plan and budget for patches and upgrades. We provide information about Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source releases a full year in advance along with a detailed compatibility matrix for our tech stack. 

Update your requirements document

For each new version of Adobe Commerce or Magento Open Source that you install, you need to understand how the core feature set has evolved, how the new functionality works, and which features your organization might need to customize. You also need to investigate how the upgrade could impact the customizations and integrations that you’ve already deployed as well as any third-party extensions you’re currently running. Often, new releases of Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source include enhancements to core functionality that allow you to remove certain extensions or customizations.

Depending on the extent of the upgrade and the impact of feature changes, you should connect with key stakeholders who use the site or rely on it for critical inputs. Ask them to review both the incoming features as well as your plans for customization. Use these conversations to  create a new version of your requirements document that can be shared and approved by stakeholders before any development related to your upgrade begins. 

Revisit your launch checklist

As referenced in our Ready, Set, Launch post, Adobe created a pre-launch checklist based on conversations with hundreds of our commerce users. Most of the recommendations in this checklist also apply to your upgrade. In particular, you’ll want to update your User Acceptance Testing (UAT) script to account for functionality introduced in the new release and to make sure that you thoroughly test features, integrations, and your site content (for example, product information pages, search, themes and assets, and so on).

Taking the time to test your upgrade before deployment can virtually eliminate the risk of pushing out a new version of your site and then having to roll it back.

Remind users of the business value each upgrade brings.

If business users and other team members are reluctant to engage in requirement discussions or test new functionality when it’s time to upgrade, gently remind them of the value they will get with the new version of Adobe Commerce or Magento Open Source. 

Generally speaking, new releases come with new features that can help your business deliver a better experience, increase conversions, and reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO). New releases can also deliver new capabilities to your business—such as curbside pickup—and make it easier for developers to work with the platform.

Moreover, if you postpone upgrades for too long, you can find yourself facing an end-of-service deadline, which means you won’t get certain patches and enhancements until you upgrade.

Consider annual website “performance reviews” 

While a regular maintenance plan helps you identify and address any performance challenges in the short-term, it can also be valuable to look at website performance trends over time. In particular, look at year-over-year website performance for key sales periods for your company. If you notice performance degrading while traffic and transaction volumes are going up, it might be time to look at scaling your cloud services and infrastructure

To learn more about analyzing performance trends and scaling your infrastructure, see our post on the Four P's of Peak Season Performance.

Add value with maintenance

A thoughtful, forward-looking approach to Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source maintenance and upgrades can help your organization grow its digital commerce business and keep end-customers happy and loyal. It's an opportunity to add value as well as perform the business-critical task of keeping your company’s site up-and-running. 

We also recommend regularly sharing key metrics—such as uptime, page load speeds, and so on—with business teams so that they can understand how the work you do contributes both to customer satisfaction and the bottom line. You can find guidance on conducting a site-wide performance review in our earlier post: The Salesperson of the Year Is Your Digital Storefront.

If you have any questions about your next Adobe Commerce upgrade, don’t hesitate to connect with Adobe support. If you’re a Magento Open Source client, check out the Magento Forums.

 

See also:

Ready, Set, Launch