If you’ve worked in the digital sphere, you’ll know that there are only two real constants; technology keeps on advancing and your website needs updating. While we can stay up-to-date with emerging trends and tools driven by the changes in technology, it’s easy to feel stuck in an infinite website loop of continuous improvement.
Imagine this scenario:
You’re managing a website that’s starting to look a bit stale – yes, it fulfils its purpose but isn’t very inspiring. It was built 3 to 6 years ago and so is in need of a refresh. You work together with your team to audit the site and they remind you of some of the missing functionality; the ‘weird’ workflows that don’t make sense and the limitations of the site for their current marketing needs.
You decide your website needs a rebuild to better suit the needs of your business, so you start a tender process.
You select an agency and start on your discovery and scoping, coming up with a strong data model and architecture that perfectly fits your business model. New functionality is added, those weird workflows are eliminated, and you’ve massively improved the customer and user experience (UX) on your site.
The site is built and you win awards for your innovation and you move onto your next big project, and suddenly you’re three years down the line again and you start to think to yourself that the website needs updating… again…and the process starts all over again.
What if there was a way to break the cycle?
If a system has been defined to match your existing business model and it stores the data correctly, why rebuild it again? If you want to update the look and feel of your website, why rebuild the entire thing?
Of course, there will be some changes as your business adapts and takes advantage of shifting market conditions, but in the majority of cases the fundamentals of your business won’t alter. That means your core content and data storage change at a much slower pace than your design and user interfaces. The last few decades have seen big leaps in content and data storage capabilities, but mainly in the provision of software and cloud services designed to enable more efficient use of technology.
If you’re looking to refresh or rebuild your website, then a ‘microservices’ architecture will allow you to future-proof things to a large degree. This website architecture will give you the flexibility to leverage any new technologies that haven’t been invented yet without having a complete rebuild every 5 or so years.
Creating a microservice architecture involves splitting up all of the different services integrated into your website and sales process, then creating protocols for them to communicate independently to collect and deliver their data and services to users and website visitors. This approach, whilst time-consuming to set up initially, comes with a host of benefits.
Microservices are typically added as independent, interchangeable modules, so that they each contain everything necessary to execute a specific part of the desired functionality. This means it’s easy to adapt and amend each microservice. It also has the benefit of improved levels of integration with both new and legacy systems compared to more traditional website architecture. Since each microservice module can be implemented and deployed independently, it creates a highly scalable environment with fewer dependencies, that can be built in parallel, increasing the build speed without sacrificing reliability or capability.
In practice, this allows you to use a mixture of existing legacy systems in a minimum viable product (MVP) approach, whilst providing the flexibility needed to add in new microservices in subsequent phases without the need to change the website or data architecture. This means you’ll always be able to make the most of any changes or improvements in technology in both a cost- and time-efficient manner.
Once the architecture is in place, you’ve got the core of your website ecosystem in place in a flexible and dependable manner that will adapt and change to the needs of your business and opportunities in the market.
Given that your website is one of the primary touchpoints for your customers and clients to interact with your brand, there’s always the need to update and improve your website from a design perspective. Design is constantly evolving alongside technology and focuses on improving the user experience and commercial effectiveness of your website. Microservices architecture provides increased flexibility for updating your website design, as it allows you to decouple your CMS from both the front- and back-end of your website.
Designers are then able to update the look and feel of your site without having to rebuild the back-end of your website or worry about losing content during a CMS migration. There are further benefits to this approach as it allows for omnichannel content delivery, fully personalised customer journeys and gives you the ability to integrate with new technologies and applications as they emerge.
This means that you can redecorate and refresh your website as often as you want, without having to rebuild – keeping you ahead of your competition.
When it comes to digital, our in-house team can take care of everything: from back-end development, to front-end and digital design, SEO, UX, automation, information architecture and content optimisation. And they’re led by our expert strategists, who’ll work with you to ensure we meet – and exceed – your expectations.
If you’d like to see a live example of this approach with Panasonic Industrials, click here to look at our case study.
Or if you’d like to find out how this approach could be applied to your business, get in touch by emailing [email protected] today.
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