Growing eCommerce business with microservices and cloud solutions – Roman Zenner | eCommerceTalks #4
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Growing eCommerce business with microservices and cloud solutions – Roman Zenner | eCommerceTalks #4


Divante presents eCommerce Talks for industry experts share their insights about the ever-changing world of e-commerce today we’ll be talking with industry analysts at commercetools dr. Roman Zenner – All right well welcome one more time and I have the pleasure to introduce you to Roman Zenner which is the industry analyst for commercetools – Hello – Thank you for coming and thank you for being here – Yeah thanks for having me – Roman there’s nobody better to introduce yourself as yourself so if you can tell us a little bit about your background and what are you doing right now in commercetools – Okay my name is Roman Zenner I work as you said as an industry analyst of commercetools my background is I started as a freelancer like 15 years ago in e-commerce where basically you know I wrote some books on e-commerce software like Magento and I spent my time you know trying to educate people about shop technology really so that you know meant doing workshops with customers also in trim project management for customers just trying to make them choose the right you know piece of software for the right circumstance like context and then couple years ago you know the guys from commercetools approached me and now I’m here at think like 5 and doing the industry analyst thing which means basically you know networking control the industry control competition producing white papers producing case study this kind of things and next to this I also run my own blog for a couple years now it’s called shop tech blog it’s in German we’re basically try to do interviews with CTOs and to weekly reviews of the shop tech world – Amazing I watched a couple of I wouldn’t say I understood everything because I don’t speak German very well but I mean the level of knowledge that is spreading is actually really interesting and I mean yeah you were saying about different conference that you’ve been attending in simple words for CTO’s a people who still a bit lost on how to grow and how to get into e-commerce and how to grow their brand and global expansion and all the buzzwords that you throwing there what are the trends right now like what people should be looking at or what people should be getting their information – Okay so I see two things first is everybody’s talking or has been talking for the last couple of years about customer centricity and that actually meant nothing to us we go so it was just a buzzword but now people understand that it’s really important to be customer centric and what that means is on the technological side is to build something like PWA’s which means progressive web apps totally focus on what the customer wants moving away from okay I show something that my shop system can do I do something that my template allows me to do we’re moving into a direction where we really control every pixel of the experience and that’s why it’s especially brands are going to right create a very unique custom experience so that’s the one thing really focus on the front end focus also on the front end on mobile devices and the second thing is clouds the second thing is really cloud infrastructure you know don’t mess around the service anymore make sure you’ve got like good grasp on processes and you know do your stuff in everywhere so in Google and that those guys handle the load and you know the infrastructure the security and really focus on that front end bit – Now this is a very personal question when we hear cloud people still scare about that yeah putting all my stuff all my data all my businesses in the cloud why people should trust it now better than a week ago – Because the first answer is because you’ve got pros who are in charge of the servers who really make sure that the servers are secure the data are secure it might sound counterintuitive because you might think well if I run my own server it’s gonna be more secure but that’s wrong I mean what we see in the market set if you talk about you know server breaches and security issues it’s mostly with smaller hosters or grief companies trying to kind of run their own service so it’s you’re better off you safer and plus you’ve got you know very elaborate and very sophisticated encryption technology these days so you really don’t have to worry about data present even if data should get lost it’s still encrypted so it’s not a problem for you – I mean after all someone come to your house and steal your server – Exactly it’s not that you know if you have you know your server in your living room or in a basement that you know you’re gonna be safe that’s not case – Now one of the things you guys do at that commercetools you help companies to evolve and adapt their e-commerce solutions or platforms and one of the things you’re doing is moving companies from monolithic to microservices how the process look like for people who are thinking about it – So okay so what’s the monolith miss in this context is just this big block of software that’s just all interconnected and it you can just really you can’t really change so if you change something at this end you really have to retest the whole thing and make sure that everything runs which is obviously bad because it you know there are situations where you say you just want to move a button from left to right and it ends up turning into a million dollar project because it takes so long that’s just horrible so and what we’re suggesting and what people are doing and the also big companies such as you know Spotify Netflix have realized long time ago is to split functionalities into what they call microservices which is like really small encapsulated services that you know can exist on their own and the strategies then to create like a bunch of those services and interconnect them by api’s and the way to go from the monolithic approach to the microservice approach is to really in a you know it’s the move is you take the functionality bit by bit and say well let’s first extract the customer section let’s then extract the catalog section let’s then extract the payment and so you move those bits from A to B one step at a time so it’s not really like a big bang migration it’s like a soft migration from A to B and that’s what was happening and it also doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of your want it all together it for most people it means that you can sort of make your monolith more modern by stacking microservices around this whole thing so just imagine you’ve got a retailer who sells glasses and they might want to offer you know the virtual glass thing where you can just check in so much exactly yeah so that might you know up for the standard solution and then just build a microservice for this pretty little bit on top so they can keep all things so you keep there you know the infrastructure as it is and they can add new cool stuff for the micro service and that’s what most people do these days – Okay so it’s not something that you have to I need to shut down my shop for three months before micro services are ready something that can happen during the – Exactly and this is by the way this is something you should never do this ever again because it never works it’s painful it’s expensive and it’s really it’s horrible doing these migrations I mean we’ve seen millions of euros and dollars wasted mainly in those projects – Now what will be the top pro of having microservices what you think is the top reason why people should migrate is it how easier to use or how easy to make change what will be your take on – It’s agility its speed it’s just making sure that you know you can react as fast as you can so if there’s a new thing you have to do like a new business model behind this or you move by a competitor you want to be fast and that’s the only reason because it’s not really saving a lot of money it’s not something that you do because you want to save money it’s basically just to make sure that you have a structure which allows you to be more agile – I should’ve mentioned that you’re a doctor and I told you before that I thought you were a data scientist and then actually your philosophy literature little shop that’s ya later is not so yeah so you take in the person you take into this is actually from human nature this is how people react or interact with the shop and obviously nowadays we all have an extra limb which is a mobile phone I mean nobody loses or nobody let the mobile phone go so how do you think the commerce an e-commerce is moving into the mobile platform is it still are we there yet or are we moving forward slowly or how – Well we’ve seen peak PC usage in 2016 so that was the point where the mobile traffic actually was bigger than the desktop traffic and since then we’ve seen a huge increase in mobile usage and I guess you know standards like doing 80 percent of its turnover on mobile so it’s really amazing and I mean it make sense especially in the fashion industry I mean there was this one person says well you know you actually carry around your mobile phone it’s close to your body as it can be right it’s close to your heart is close to you you take it to bed really so you know that’s the – I do – you know usually do that’s something it’s very personal device and it becomes more like a personal shopping device my feeling is that you know in the western world you know as far as the east as China and Asia in general and that you know for example mobile payment it’s not really there yet people are not really used to use their phone to pay for stuff so that’s we’ve got some we need to develop a bit more in this direction but for sure it’s really the idea of having as you said like your another limb that’s really important – So looking at the environment right now most companies don’t think locally anymore most companies as soon as they’re created already thinking of the global expansion even small companies when they have a small team a small tech team even a small marketing team or it’s just one and it’s a CEO CMO CTO together what are the first steps for them to move into a global expansion obviously ecommerce focus – Well it depends on where you start really I mean is it rooky approach I mean if they are really I mean if it really just the beginning and I don’t know whether budget is an issue at the stage if budget is an issue and really high really recommend building a very small use case to get you going becouse most people they tend to over engineer these things even made in very early stage they go like okay in five years time I’m gonna I’m gonna need this and this and this therefore I need a software which is prepared to do this in this in five years that makes it extra expensive and extra long to implement instead they should be asking themselves okay so what’s the first thing I need and for most people it’s just a Shopify I don’t know installation or Shopify usage you know just pay 30 euros per month and that gets you going and you know you get wiser on the way you understand your customers better and that it’s so much more valuable than people think people you know tend to over engineer their models and that technology – One of the questions that we usually go through and this sort of to close in and encapsulate all the advice you given what would you recommend a good podcast beside yours of course a good podcast or a good book where people should start building their foundations with – Well if you are well you should go for Exciting Commerce that’s the first thing I’d recommend because they are the guys who actually organize decay 500 so that’s like the mothership of all podcasts then there is a custom stone which is a similar business oriented podcast series – Where people can find out more about you and your recommendations – So if you just hit you know my name is in Google then you probably find me and it’s a romanzenner.com it’s just my address and then you find all those links and links to my podcast and blog posts and these things the reason why we do this podcast as well is because there is still a lack of you know technological podcast if you will most people talk about business aspects business models and the KPIs but the tech aspects are still bit under the radar so I really hope to see more of those podcasts as well – Cool that’s how business will generate some sort of environment – Absolutely – Well I mean thank you so much for joining us it’s been great having to talk and yeah we hope we have to have you again and thank you everybody for watching and thank you -My literature little shop that’s ya

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