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Adobe Experience Manager in the Cloud: Is it time to make your move?

Adobe has moved to the cloud with its enterprise content management system, Adobe Experience Manager. With cloud-based content management systems (CMS) quickly becoming the standard for CX at enterprise scale, it’s time to take a closer look at cloud migration.

In this first of our brief series of blogs on AEM to cloud migration, we’ll explore both the benefits and challenges of making the move, and help you understand, organize, and prepare your own migration strategy and timeline.

What is AEM as a Cloud Service?

Essentially, 'the cloud' is computer resources such as storage or computing power in a data center which can be accessed via the internet. Nowadays, more and more services are offered via the cloud including some of our favorites: Netflix, Spotify and Google's G-Suite - which enable collaborative work entirely from the cloud. In these examples, and all cloud-based platforms, software is no longer installed locally on your computer or on a server in your data center, but the user obtains a service from the cloud.

With the announcement of AEM as a Cloud Service 12 months ago, Adobe has now established its enterprise CMS as a service from the cloud.

Why should I make the move to AEM as a Cloud Service?

Migration to the cloud will ultimately depend on your answer to one or more of the questions below:

Are CX transformation and acceleration a top priority?

AEM as a Cloud Service puts new features and product updates instantly and automatically into the hands of your team so they can focus on innovating instead of planning for and around version upgrades. Improved user experience and performance capabilities drive more personalized, engaging experience to market faster – including native access to Adobe Sensei machine learning and artificial intelligence services.

Do you want to continue to host and operate your on-premise AEM installation?

AEM in the cloud significantly reduces IT and operational burdens, while delivering better protection against cloud disasters and failures. Instead of big-bang upgrades, code adaptations, performance enhancements, and security updates are continuously implemented in small agile step – no downtimes and content freezes necessary.

Are you growing your CX footprint into new regions, channels, service lines?

AEM as a cloud service helps your CX grow with your business. Autoscaling and always-on service ensure consistent, robust performance of your overall solution, while cloud-based microservices enables faster processing of assets (e.g. generation of metadata or different image sizes) and the ability to drive personalized content at scale.

Do you currently run a version of AEM version 6.5 or older?

If so, AEM as a Cloud Service should be considered as the next major release, and you should plan to upgrade accordingly. If you are not yet running on version 6.5, core support for 6.4 will cease by the end of April 2021. You will need to decide between an upgrade to 6.5 first, or a migration directly to AEM as a Cloud Service if possible.

Are you looking to reduce your total cost of ownership associated with AEM/CX initiatives?

Lower costs through product innovation, best practices and automation. Operation, availability and security are part of the service.

How do I plan for a smooth and effective move to AEM as a Cloud Service?

From both a technical and organizational perspective, a project of this scale must be professionally planned and implemented. Start the initial planning phase with a trusted partner to assess your unique requirements and define all the necessary steps for a successful migration. 

If you are a marketing or business leader, the decision must be supported by your IT strategy. In order to ensure the connection of peripheral systems and interfaces, a solution-oriented cooperation between internal IT and Adobe is required. Furthermore, it is helpful if the development and project team is familiar with DevOps practices and perspectives.

At the same time, most aspects of AEM operations remain the same. The basis of AEM remains the same, so developers can continue to use the full potential with familiar tools and patterns. There is no need for retraining because your teams will already know the user interface (touch UI). At the same time, the improved performance and continuous feature innovation will enable them to create new and better experience at greater speed and scale.

Will I lose if I don't switch to the cloud?

Cloud migration is well underway across all areas marketing services and technology, and Adobe’s ambitions to lead the market are clear. Core support for AEM 6.4 will cease in April 2021, while end of support for AEM 6.5 is not yet known. With features like auto-scaling, content delivery network (CDN) and continuous automatic product updates, AEM as a Cloud Service provides a strong overall package at very attractive terms. For many organizations not yet on the path to migration, it should be set as the target architecture, and your existing system should now be developed in this direction.

Nonetheless, it remains conceivable that Adobe will change its strategy – for instance, to enable AEM to also be operated in the private cloud. For on-premise customers unable or unwilling to shift to the cloud, it is possible to consider an alternative scenario based on Adobe Campaign, where two variants continue to be developed.

AEM cloud migration may seem daunting, but with the right support from both internal stakeholders and your AEM partner it can be a smooth, streamlined, and highly effective step in the evolution of your CX capabilities. Not only will you get the scale you need during periods of increased demand, you can also be confident that your websites are always up to date with the latest AEM features and security patches.

Take the next step

It’s important to inform your AEM cloud migration plan with data and insights specific to your business landscape and CX ambitions. Merkle now offers a complementary AEM to Cloud Migration ROI Assessment to companies considering this move – you can begin this process or learn more about it here.

Beyond AEM, Merkle is an expert across the full Adobe universe and we’d love to help you. Learn more here about the many ways we help customer drive CX transformation with Adobe.

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