Home Insights Omnichannel Commerce Modernizing SAP Commerce Cloud: The case for composable
Composable commerce concept for SAP

Modernizing SAP Commerce Cloud: The case for composable

SAP Commerce Cloud (formerly SAP Hybris) has been a widely adopted commerce platform for over a decade. Throughout the 2010s, it was consistently rated as a leading solution in the market, providing retailers with a solid platform for efficient e-commerce operations. However, the digital commerce explosion in the 2020s introduced a paradigm shift in terms of consumer demands for hyper-personalization and convenience. Suddenly, businesses with one-size-fits-all commerce platforms were at a crossroads: modernize or lose customers. As a result, a significant number of SAP Commerce Cloud customers are now seeking low-risk, high-return modernization approaches, and they’re doing it fast.

In this blog post, we will explore the key reasons customers are looking to modernize SAP Commerce Cloud, the opportunities available to them, and how we can assist clients with the introduction of best-of-breed products on the modernization journey.

Why are SAP commerce customers looking to modernize?

There are several functional/technological factors driving SAP Commerce customers to review their commerce platforms. The monolithic architecture of SAP Commerce Cloud makes it challenging for engineering teams to deliver customer experience improvements at the pace desired by business teams.

Specifically, SAP Commerce Cloud has several architectural limitations:

  • Monolithic architecture: The platform is not designed for microservices. All capabilities are bundled into a single runtime, which slows down development.
  • Poor headless capabilities: The frontend storefront known as Spartacus has limitations for headless commerce implementations. It can be difficult to customize and integrate with modern frontend frameworks.
  • Technical debt: Given the monolithic nature, many SAP Commerce Cloud projects build up significant technical debt over time as new capabilities are bolted on.
  • Rigid upgrade cycle: As a PaaS solution allowing code changes within the platform, upgrades are often complex and costly depending on customization level.
  • Incompatible cloud infrastructure: SAP Commerce Cloud’s core platform is not cloud-native, following a ‘lift and shift’ approach from on-premise to the cloud rather than a ground-up cloud-native rebuild. This compromises efficiency, scalability, and cost-effectiveness due to its suboptimal utilization of cloud resources and architecture.
  • API-ready, not API-first: The platform’s API readiness, rather than being API-first, signifies that APIs were implemented as an afterthought, potentially leading to limitations in flexibility, extensibility, and ease of integration with external systems and modern development practices.

Together, these architectural constraints make it difficult for engineering teams to deliver innovation quickly. The monolithic approach also leads to an accumulation of technical debt.

Enter composable commerce, a modular approach to modernizing monolithic stacks.

How is SAP responding to the composable revolution?

Facing mounting customer interest in more flexibility and advanced customer experience functionality, SAP has introduced more modular “composable” licensing and partnerships to give greater choice to their customers. SAP has also just recently released the SAP CX AI toolkit, enabling access to new AI capabilities using a standalone app and the Joule copilot.

The composable licensing and partnerships open up opportunities for modernizing parts of SAP Commerce Cloud, for example, modernizing the frontend to a headless frontend or integrating with API-first products such as headless CMS.

SAP Commerce Cloud modernization partners

SAP Commerce Cloud’s approach to composable commerce allows customers to enhance profitability and agility using a robust, extensible digital core and a wide range of pre-integrated, certified partners. This setup allows businesses to innovate continuously without the burden of integrating incompatible systems at scale.

The success of digital commerce heavily relies on a dynamic partner network. SAP is strengthening its digital commerce platform by forming strategic partnerships with select, top-tier vendors from its broad partner ecosystem, ensuring access to a range of high-quality, complementary services and technologies.

We work with many of the leading commerce vendors that provide tailored solutions for SAP Commerce Cloud modernization, including:

  • Vue Storefront: A headless frontend solution for e-commerce.
  • Amplience: An API-first content management platform for commerce.
  • Algolia: A powerful search and discovery API for e-commerce sites.
  • Contentful: A headless CMS enabling seamless content management.
  • Fluent Commerce: A unified omnichannel order management solution.
  • Akeneo: A product information management (PIM) system for e-commerce.
  • Cloudinary: A cloud-based image and video management solution.
  • Contentstack: A headless CMS for building digital experiences.
  • Adyen: A global payment platform offering seamless payment solutions.

On this note, let’s look into a best-practice modernization approach for SAP Commerce customers.

Incremental SAP Commerce Cloud modernization

Phased modernization is often the preferred, lower-risk approach as it entails introducing specific best-of-breed components bit by bit based on business value. Selected components could include:

  • Modern CMS
  • Frontend
  • Search
  • Multichannel PIM
  • OMS

This approach reduces the upfront cost vs a full replatform while still unlocking significant agility advantages over SAP Commerce Cloud on its own. Crucially, this option brings with it the architectural and organizational changes necessary to deliver innovation and business value at a greater pace.

The benefits of an iterative approach to modernization

The benefits of this iterative approach include:

  • Tangible value: Realize benefits and ROI in each phase to justify further investment.
  • Operational continuity: Keep the existing platform running while new components are integrated.
  • Flexibility: Pivot plans if market conditions change during the program.
  • Manageable change: Iterate in stages to allow the organization to absorb changes.
  • Reduced risk: Make incremental changes rather than a higher-risk big bang project.

An iterative transition is often a pragmatic option for more risk-averse organizations. Our consultants can guide customers through this multi-phase process, and advise on best-of-breed solutions fit for unique use cases.

Grid Dynamics experience and capabilities

Our digital commerce consultancy has extensive experience helping clients modernize their SAP Commerce Cloud solutions, leveraging our partnerships with leading technology vendors.

With deep expertise across both SAP Commerce Cloud and composable architecture, we are uniquely positioned to help companies make the best decisions when considering SAP Commerce Cloud modernization. Our sweet spot is mid-market and enterprise clients who want robust capabilities without overinvestment.

Our multiple projects with a diverse range of clients, ranging from phased modernization to big bang replatforming, underpin our end-to-end capabilities around SAP Commerce Cloud modernization, including:

  • Architecture design: Leveraging our expertise in composable commerce and extensive experience with various platforms, we offer comprehensive architecture design services. We develop scalable, flexible, and modular architectures tailored to meet the unique requirements of each client, ensuring that the solution aligns with their business goals and supports future growth. Our architects are well-versed in designing microservices-based architectures, API-first approaches, and event-driven systems to enable seamless integration and interoperability.
  • Release strategy: Grid Dynamics provides robust release strategies, optimizing the deployment process for efficiency and reliability. Our team employs continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) practices to automate the build, test, and deployment pipelines, enabling rapid and frequent releases without compromising quality. We tailor release strategies to suit the specific needs and preferences of each client, ensuring smooth and predictable software delivery cycles.
  • Testing strategy: With a focus on quality assurance and reliability, Grid Dynamics offers comprehensive testing strategies for commerce modernization implementations. We employ a combination of manual and automated testing techniques to validate the functionality, performance, and security of the solution. Our testing services cover unit testing, integration testing, system testing, regression testing, and more, ensuring that the solution meets the highest standards of quality and reliability.
  • Composable partner network: Drawing on our partnerships with leading composable commerce vendors, we offer customizable starter kits tailored to accelerate the development and deployment of composable commerce integrations. These starter kits provide pre-built components, templates, and best practices that enable rapid prototyping and implementation while ensuring flexibility and scalability. Our team collaborates closely with clients to customize the starter kit according to their unique requirements, accelerating time-to-market and reducing development costs.
  • Training and support: To empower our clients to effectively manage and maintain their modernized commerce solutions, Grid Dynamics provides comprehensive training and support services. We offer hands-on training sessions, workshops, and documentation to equip clients with the knowledge and skills needed to leverage the full potential of their solution. Additionally, our dedicated support team is available to provide ongoing assistance, troubleshooting, and optimization services, ensuring that clients can maximize the value of their investment.

If your organization is facing challenges in meeting the aspirations of the business to deliver innovation and value at pace, and SAP Commerce modernization is of interest, we would welcome the opportunity to offer guidance based on your specific business needs and context. Reach out anytime to continue the conversation!

Get in touch

We'd love to hear from you. Please provide us with your preferred contact method so we can be sure to reach you.

    Modernizing SAP Commerce Cloud: The case for composable

    Thank you for getting in touch with Grid Dynamics!

    Your inquiry will be directed to the appropriate team and we will get back to you as soon as possible.


    Something went wrong...

    There are possible difficulties with connection or other issues.
    Please try again after some time.