When is the right time to upgrade to Magento 2?

Magento 2 has been talked about for years and we were certainly excited when the stable version was finally launched in Quarter 4 of 2015. Many Magento store owners are now asking the question ‘When is the right time to move to Magento 2?’.

6 main concerns we hear from our clients are;

  1. Given that Magento 2 has a new codebase, are there skills available for such a new technology?
  2. Is Magento 2 stable?
  3. Upgrade process- Will our own custom code and third party integrations require a complete re-write?
  4. Are third party extensions available for Magento 2? 
  5. What added features does Magento 2 provide over Magento 1?
  6. Feasibility of such an upgrade process?  

Magento 2 skills at KPMG Crimsonwing

5419_Magento2_Trained_Badge_56x118As Magento enterprise partners (formerly known as gold partners) we have obtained our Magento 2 trained solution partner accreditation in 2015 and have already developed and implemented websites on Magento 2. Here at KPMG Crimsonwing we have been working with Magento since 2009 and have been pleasantly surprised with the significant differences between Magento 1 and Magento 2.  Enhanced performance, less hardware requirements, improved Magento admin user interface, improved security and the more scalable nature of Magento 2 are just some of the reasons why we like Magento 2. (Refer to section Added features of Magento 2 for more information on Magento 2 enhancements)

Is Magento 2 stable?

There have been substantial changes between the Magento 2 beta version and the stable Magento version that is available now.

Realistically any platform, especially a new platform is prone to have bugs that require fixes from time to time. As a Magento enterprise partner we are able to report any Magento enterprise bugs and get direct support from Magento. Moreover, by using our Magento skills and experience we are able to find work-arounds with fixes that take a bit longer to fix from a third party extension supplier and thus reduce delay in website implementations. 

At this point in time the Magento 2 platform is stable enough and we would definitely advise our customers to start planning for the upgrade process.

Upgrade process

Magento have created a Data Migration tool to assist in Migrating products, customers, store configurations, orders and promotions to Magento 2. However, some data still needs to be migrated manually (Media, admin users ACLs and also the storefront design). Moreover, any custom features or third party integrations cannot be transferred using this migration tool.

Magento 2 has a completely different codebase when compared to Magento 1.  An upgrade to Magento 2 is not necessarily straightforward and will need to be carefully planned and analysed to ensure a successful transition. Magento 2 uses new approaches and technologies that provide merchants with added advantages (refer to section Added features of Magento 2). To take advantage of these improvements custom themes, modules and integrations will most likely require a code change if not a rewrite.

An upgrade between 1 and Magento 2 depends on the level of customisations you have on your site.  We are well aware that this is a significant piece of work and we feel it is our responsibility to aid our customers in such a process.

Magento extensions for Magento 2

One of the main advantages of using Magento is the number of third party extensions available. However, with Magento 1 we did sometimes find extensions that were not up to standard and opted not to use them altogether. With the new Magento 2 Marketplace, Magento is now vetting each extension to ensure that the development is up to standard prior to allowing them to be visible on the Market place. Although the number of third party solutions available for Magento 2 will be much less than those that were available for Magento 1, the standard for such extensions is much higher and the biggest and most popular extensions are already available.

 

TIP: If you are used to using a particular third party extension for your Magento 1 site and find the equivalent extension for Magento 2, check with the supplier to ensure that the features available are those that were available in Magento 1. From experience, some suppliers launched their Magento 2 extension with limited features and are using a phased approach to launch the full feature stack that was available in the equivalent Magento 1 extension.

 

Added features of Magento 2

Enhanced performance, optimised hardware requirements, improved Magento admin user interface, improved security and the more scalable nature of Magento 2. These are just some of the main enhancements available as part of Magento 2.

Other features include;

  • A faster and enhanced product data import feature.
  • A simplified product creation workflow that allows users to create configurable products without having to manually create each simple product.

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  •  Ability to link videos with products not just images
  • Improved checkout with ajax add to cart feature
  • Tight integrations with popular payment gateways including PayPal, authorize.net, Braintree and World pay (enterprise edition only) and Cybersource (enterprise edition only)
  • Improved SEO features.
  • Magento staging module that allows you to work with future campaigns specific to products, categories, catalog price rules, shopping cart price rules, CMS blocks and CMS pages.
  • Magento 2 testing framework that minimises the effort required for manual testing.
  • Split database. This means that admin users working on Magento won’t affect the performance of the front-end your customers are using.
  • Magento 2 site architecture also facilitates the customisation process and allows developers to add custom code faster.
  • Adding and removing columns in orders/ customers management grid directly from the admin panel with no need for development.

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With all these advantages many are making the decision to move sooner rather than later and take advantage of these enhanced features.

Feasibility of such an upgrade process?

If you are contemplating using a new payment gateway, new CRM or ERP integration, a major re-design or a significant customisation, it may make sense to develop these on Magento 2 and include them as part of your migration process rather than developing these on Magento 1 and then having to redevelop such customisations all over again on Magento 2. Some of our clients are already scheduling Magento 2 migration as part of their road maps and have started to scale down major development work on Magento 1. It may also make sense to phase the migration alongside any of your Magento 1 development work.

 

Note: Support on Magento 1 will cease in the next few years and Magento enterprise merchants new to the Magento eco system are now only offered Magento 2 licenses from Magento themselves.  Support for Magento 1 is mostly related to security patches and important fixes, no new features or improvements are coming for Magento 1.

 

It all comes down to your business objectives and whether you intend to continue using the Magento platform. If you are going to start development on a new Magento platform you should definitely go with Magento 2. On the other hand, if you already have a Magento store and intend to continue to use Magento, the move to Magento 2 is inevitable. In case you would like to discuss this further do not hesitate to contact us.

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