Why WebSphere Commerce v9 Needs a First-Class CMS

Although many IBM customers are making the move to WebSphere Commerce v9, I've been hearing that people aren't yet utilizing everything about the new system. Because it's a big move. From optimizing servers and DevOps, to moving the code over to Java Persistence APIs (JPAs), to separating out customizations and detaching the storefront from the app server, there's a lot to do.

Granted, it's a move that means you can develop code faster and more often, and even publish customizations more easily. But one area where v9 falls short is in its digital experience functionality. Pagebuilder, web activities, complex templating, and the various personalization techniques of WebSphere Commerce are all a challenge. And the fact that the entire digital experience is tied to a product category data model (rather than a page-based model) is confusing to anyone seeing it for the first time.

It's not at all straightforward for a line-of-business user to publish landing pages and informational content that lies outside of the commerce category hierarchy. This is problematic because most enterprises have a publishing process where content authors never even see the WebSphere Commerce tooling.

So this is exactly why a first-class content management system with its eCommerce roots in WebSphere Commerce is critical. Readers of my personal blog know I have a long history with CoreMedia, and this is for a good reason: CoreMedia really is the best CMS for eCommerce. The entire design pattern in CoreMedia was built around IBM WebSphere Commerce. Now it's available for all major eCommerce platforms.

This integration with WebSphere Commerce should be intuitive to users of WebSphere Commerce. But if you're not familiar with it you can watch my “Made Easy with CoreMedia” series on YouTube. It shows not only an easy-to-learn user interface for marketers, authors, and site contributors, but also a world where content and product live together harmoniously in a single authoring environment. From image maps, image cropping, banner personalization, translation, or page layout changes, it's all quick and simple with CoreMedia Studio.

From a technical perspective, CoreMedia makes perfect sense for WebSphere Commerce shops. It’s based on the Java platform and uses Spring as the Model–View–Controller (MVC) framework. Both searches are based on Solr, so integration at the frontend should be familiar to developers. I actually know many IBM WebSphere Commerce customers that have already standardized on frameworks like Spring.

So with that, I'd like to extend an open invitation to let me or my team walk through your digital experience and brand management options with CoreMedia. Look forward to hearing from you!

Update: CoreMedia recently launched a new initiative with Zilker Technology to help customers of IBM WebSphere Commerce optimize existing WCS investments, including a free, three-hour consultation to discuss next steps.


About the Author

former Vice President, Solution Architects, Americas Bob Balfe joined CoreMedia after a long career as an IBM Distinguished Engineer, where he managed a team of solution architects and developers supporting worldwide pre-sales demonstrations and partner integrations for the Watson Customer Engagement division. His team was known for creating innovative tools to streamline demonstration capabilities of over 20 offerings. Previously, he was a senior developer leading a global team working on IBM’s Lotus and Domino product lines. A devoted blogger and frequent contributor to YouTube, Bob is always up for sharing his perspective on software development, eCommerce, and digital experience.