Partners in Digital Experience: TA Digital on the Benefits of Composable Commerce

We spoke with the CTO at TA Digital, Ali Alkhafaji on the new standards of digital commerce and what businesses need to build a commerce ecosystem.

Even as many businesses, stores and schools start slowly opening their doors again, the traditional commerce model is gone forever. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted customer behaviors on a global scale and supercharged the move to embracing a digital-first approach to all customer experiences. Recently, Acquia spoke with the Chief Technology Officer at TA Digital, Dr. Ali Alkhafaji about the new standards of digital commerce and what businesses need to do to build a sustainable commerce ecosystem in our new world. 

Digital Progress Will Never Go Backwards 

Ali Alkhafaji, Ph.D.
Dr. Ali Alkhafaji, CTO at TA Digital

Industries across the board were jolted forward in their digital journeys in 2020 and the ricocheting impact of this change will be felt for the foreseeable future. “Customers have reset their standards for what experience should look like across the board, and the desire for a seamless virtual experience won’t lessen even as businesses reintroduce more face-to-face services,” said Ali. Years ago, there used to be a much more solid divide between the expectations of a B2C experience and a B2B experience. Historically, B2B buying cycles were longer and more sales-led, while B2C retailers and services focused more on serving an individual and delighting them with a fast, personal connection. However, the influx of new digital services and channels seems to have caused every industry to prioritize direct interactions and create new ways for customers to take the lead in shaping their own journey. 

From social media to review sites to more intelligent search applications and mobile apps, all businesses must give potential buyers the tools they need to easily discover the right information to meet their needs. “Once people realized how easily they could get everything virtually, there was no going back,” said Ali. “People have much less patience for that old-world method of standing in line or waiting days for a sales rep to respond to a demo request. Everywhere from healthcare to financial services to higher education, they’re expecting that same rapid, consumer-friendly experience that they get from their streaming services or guaranteed 2-day shipping on Amazon,” he continued. Recently, TA Digital was approached by a county to develop a way to digitize the process of getting a marriage license in order to comply with the model of this new digital-first world.

Composable Technology Lets You Use What You Need

Composable commerce gives businesses the freedom to adapt or extend their commerce experiences through modular components and business applications that can be deployed and reused across various new interfaces and channels. In pursuit of a more intelligent and consumer-centric commerce approach, TA Digital developed CommerceFactory: a composable digital commerce platform powered by their expertise in the technology of the Acquia Open Digital Experience Platform (DXP) and commerce leaders commercetools and Elastic Path. “Our mission with composable commerce is about finding ways to build experiences more efficiently and giving businesses the freedom and flexibility to serve customers how they need to without getting weighed down by technical debt or stuck in silos,” said Ali. The modular fashion of a composable platform like CommerceFactory empowers businesses to add, remove and swap out capabilities without accruing technical debt or expending extra resources on a lengthy and complex implementation process.

During a recent project, TA Digital and Acquia used CommerceFactory to completely transform a global brand’s entire digital commerce ecosystem in just a few months. The composable architecture allowed the business to quickly test and deploy shoppable experiences across any channel and interface to reach customers anywhere and everywhere. This faster time to market is an essential advantage in a rapidly accelerating landscape where customers expect personal experiences from brands at all times. “Composability allows businesses to select the pieces they would like to use based on their needs and at their pace. Nothing is wasted. And this composable, open architecture allows brands to evolve and scale their approach over time without starting from scratch,” he said. 

Unlike traditional, monolithic e-commerce platforms that are rigid and expensive to change, headless, composable solutions enable brands to create immersive, shoppable experiences no matter how their business, channels or overall stack is structured. With a composable platform at the core of their operations, brands can expand their digital transformation efforts and add new sites and capabilities to their ecosystem over time without a heavy lift in terms of implementation efforts. “Digital transformation is a moving journey, not a single destination, so the ability to keep scaling and adapting needs to be built in from the start,” said Ali. 

Cultural Transformation Drives Digital Transformation

Alongside a powerful technology foundation, TA Digital believes that the biggest factor in executing a successful digital transformation begins with transforming an organization’s internal culture. “Digital transformation cannot work without changing culture internally and ensuring every team understands business priorities from day one,” Ali explained. All people responsible for building and delivering customer experiences need to be able to rapidly respond to shifts in customer expectations and unlock new opportunities through data and insights.

TA Digital works with their clients to build a roadmap of digital maturity that aligns with the direction the industry is heading and puts the structure and tech in place to help businesses define what they need to accomplish their goals. “Solutions like CommerceFactory were made to take the hard work and responsibility of implementation and getting the right architecture in place off of the client so that they can focus on how to optimize and change a few things to bring their specific experience to life. With a microservices architecture and interoperable technology that can be rearranged on the back end, the brand can keep their effort focused on serving the end customer,” said Ali. Clients can jump immediately into defining their own KPIs and building an efficient workflow across their organization that extends the value and potential of their efforts. Innovations in predictive technology and automation make it faster than ever for all teams to get what they need and go to market faster to satisfy customers. 

To discover more about how TA Digital and Acquia are helping businesses get results faster through the power of composable commerce, watch our recent webinar: 90 Days to E-Commerce Success.

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