The innaugural Virtual WebSphere Commerce User Group meeting took place on Wednesday 5/22/2019 as an experiment. Typically, user group meetings are done face to face with open sharing of ideas, success stories and challenges. While in-person user group meetings are optimal, it’s not always possible to be there with travel and the time committment involved. The virtual meeting is a great way to still get together and collaborate without having to sacrifice time and travel expense. John Beechen, of IBM and soon HCL, moderated the group. There were over 50 of us on the call including WCS customers, IBM, HCL and Business Partners.
David Dobrindt, HCL, Executive VP, Sales, North America, talked about the transition coming up with the confirmed date of June 1, 2019. He shared his excitement with the group as to the new opportunities opening up for Commerce and expressed his gratitude for the users and partners who were there. His immediate plan is to build out a Development team and accelerate time to delivery for the roadmap as proposed by his team. As soon as the transaction closes, he will communicate within 48 hours and plan to spend as much face time as possible with customers. He aims to make HCL easy to work with and transparent and the onboarding process as simple as possible.
While we cannot publicly share the roadmap as it is under NDA, there are a few things that got me excited so here we go.
IBM will deliver by the end of Q2 the OneCommerce code base to HCL and customers can choose to run it anywhere, on-premise, or in the cloud. Hallelujia! What a simple concept! and this will take away the confusion that has honestly hampered sales.
We also learned that WC REST APIs have been upgraded to Level 3. John referenced RMM (Richardson Maturity Model) which is a step by step way of understanding the concept behind restful thinking and a suggestion that REST APIs may be an attractive way of integrating systems, if not the recommended way for most situations.
We discussed the Administrative APIs, which allow B2B customers to build a single user interface where administrators coud add or delete users and give them the ability to purchase products on the same website without going off to the Management Center. Simple and super convenient!
We are excited about the Storefront APIs which are instrumental to building out SPA (Single Page Application) such as Mobiecom as a headless storefront.
There was talk about the Shopping Cart being separated into its own container as well as the Pricing subsystem. So does this mean that we can do Shoppable Instagrams to let customers shop wherever they are? And manage price in Dynamic Pricing scenarios where businesses need the ability to control price across different channels such as online, stores, B2C, B2B, outlets and across multiple promotions?
We even heard good news for the developers as well. They may rejoice at a new developer experience where there will be separate SDKs for store, search, xC etc. It’s wonderful to hear.
Following the roadmap discussion, the Business Partners presented their specific showcases of API-driven commerce: American Girl, Debenhams and Mobiecom. Keith McCormick, President of The Bishop Company, gave a very candid talk about his experience launching Mobiecom and described how shocked he was when his shoppers raved about the new UX! Even his competitor called him up when they discovered how fast his website was.
It was the longest online meeting I had attended but well worthwhile! Thank you John for putting it together and it was nice seeing so many familiar faces! I look forward to seeing everyone at the next meeting and it will be hosted by HCL next!