Migrating to Composable Commerce - AmerCareRoyal shares its story
Leading B2B supplier on struggling with disparate legacy systems, mediocre off-the-shelf solutions, and setting the stage for MACH technology.
AmerCareRoyal is a leading supplier of disposables used in the catering, janitorial, sanitation, industrial, hospitality, and medical industries, providing a single-stream resource for over 6,000 disposable products used across the length and breadth of the United States.
In an interview with Andrew Wadsworth, senior director of business development at Apply Digital, Jeff DeSandre, CIO at AmerCareRoyal provides exciting insights into their technological paradigm shift to composable commerce. We summarize some key aspects below and provide some context.
Watch the full interview:
B2B supplier AmerCareRoyal struggled with a decentralized and fragmented e-commerce landscape, as a result of multiple acquisitions, and aging technologies.
The management of AmerCareRoyal decided to replatform to Composable Commerce.
The migration was planned and implemented step by step, the choice of platforms was guided by MACH principles - Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS and Headless.
The Emporix composable commerce platform lays the foundation for AmerCareRoyal's future-proof e-commerce that is 100% flexible and grows with new requirements.
When disparate legacy systems prevent innovation in B2B commerce
20 years after the breakthrough of web-based commerce, many companies are left with technology landscapes that are highly decentralized and fragmented. There are many reasons for this: most e-commerce systems have grown organically without being guided by a long-term strategy.
Often, they are the sum of countless individual initiatives sparked by separate business units that are not aligned with each other. Not to mention that many of these legacy systems no longer meet today's commerce requirements, as they were made to suit yesterday’s commerce needs.
“It's hard to innovate when your version of the truth is all over the place.” — Jeff DeSandre, CIO at AmerCareRoyal
At AmerCareRoyal, a series of acquisitions have shaped the company and its technology landscape over time. When they started to rethink their e-commerce technology, they already knew that not everything could be chopped up and replaced with new systems. Some of the legacy systems had to be retained as they were essential for shipping and other critical capabilities. So AmerCareRoyal had to find a way to integrate them with innovation. Fortunately, they were able to rely on API-based and cloud-native legacy infrastructure.
Building a strong foundation for adaptive and composable commerce
API-based and cloud-native are two pillars of modern technology strategies that enable companies to combine the business capabilities they need to deliver the most value to their customers. In B2B commerce, where no two companies are alike, this cannot be achieved with off-the-shelf technologies, but with solutions tailored to individual needs. Businesses need to lay the foundation for a highly composable commerce that allows new and legacy, as well as proprietary and purchased capabilities to be flexibly migrated whenever needed.
“I was happy that we did the hard work to do that foundational stuff, because really what we wanted to do with our portal was innovate.” - Jeff DeSandre, CIO at AmerCareRoyal
AmerCareRoyal was accustomed to buying off-the-shelf software solutions that provided clearly defined but long-term limiting business capabilities. What makes AmerCareRoyal's business special has too often been boiled down and sacrificed to fit the software. What emerged in the end was usually mediocrity - too little to compete for demanding customers. Today Composable Composable allows them to assemble the best of breed services they need to deliver superior buying experiences without having to lock into one provider.
MACH Technology as an enabler for future-proof e-commerce
MACH is an acronym for technologies supporting a composable enterprise in which every component is pluggable, scalable, replaceable, and can be continuously improved through agile development to meet evolving business requirements: Microservices, business functionalities that are independently developed, deployed, and managed, API-first, meaning all functionality is exposed through an API, Cloud-native SaaS leveraging the power of cloud computing, and Headless, decoupling front-end presentation from back-end logic.
“These are the elements that need to be embraced by the B2B vendors and retailers to take their businesses onto that next step. If they don't do that, then they're going to be lost.” - Andy Wadsworth, Apply Digital
When starting the migration, AmerCareRoyal's legacy systems were already API-enabled and cloud-native. So the next step would be to address the other building blocks of the MACH concept, microservices and headless. Both play a key role in, for example, personalizing the front-end experience and functionality for different types of customers. Embracing MACH architecture enabled AmerCareRoyal to orchestrate best-of-breed microservices and create highly personalized buying experiences without having to dig into the backend logic for every customization.
How Emporix drives the shift to composable commerce
The MACH principles are a key prerequisite for but do not per se constitute composable commerce. It also needs a unified foundation on which applications can be executed and developed - a composable commerce platform. Ideally, this platform already comes with a selection of turnkey e-commerce services and APIs so that companies can quickly get started with composable commerce, as is the case with Emporix. Learn more about the Emporix platform here.
“In the past, you always had to choose between building and buying. Now, with the MACH concept and the composable architecture, there is something in between, a third option. You can build yourself what makes you unique and you can consume all the rest.” - Eberhardt Weber, CEO at Emporix
Emporix allows AmerCareRoyal to integrate its own legacy systems to be maintained with new third-party microservices and capabilities, much like assembling LEGO building blocks. This enabled the company to replatform its commerce landscape, innovate and adapt to new requirements much faster and more focused. AmerCareRoyal invested a lot of money in increasingly complex and risky maintenance and upgrades of legacy systems in recent years. Emporix's composable architecture helped to save a lot of that effort and money for them. Avatria has supported AmerCareRoyal with the needs assessment and implementation of Emporix composable commerce platform, you can read more about that journey in Avatria's case study.
“We've been able to rewrite our entire commerce ecosystem in about three months using the MACH architecture, and we're going to be rolling it out now.” - Jeff DeSandre, CIO at AmerCareRoyal