Simple ways to streamline operations and reduce costs
In almost 15 years of working with Magento we have taken on many projects from other agencies large and small. One distinguishing factor which governs our appreciation for peer agencies, is whether they help merchants manage their own extensions. There are few things worse than taking on a project when their licensing and extensions are masked with confusion over who purchased what. This not only makes it more difficult to work with composer but it also adds legal risk of ownership and adds time and cost to future upgrades.
If as a merchant, you own all the accounts and therefore the contact methods, licenses, accounts and composer keys, then you are in control and can become agnostic and even work with multiple development agencies or teams simultaneously.
Monogency (mono agency)
Yes it’s a made up word! – or Mono Agency. We refer to agencies with a culture aimed not at providing the best service, but protecting their own commercial interests i.e tying the merchant in as much as possible.
Some agencies insist on being the single SI to a Magento merchant, often citing SLA’s as their reasons. This might be the only way they are prepared to work. That’s not to say this is not still normal, however as merchants are now developing more mature dev ops processes, we are seeing merchants choose to work with multiple agencies or development teams at a time. This year alone we have experience of working with 2 very large UK retailers who have both internal development teams and also are working with multiple SI’s at the same time. This requires standardization in operational processes and ultimately ownership of said processes by the merchant.
The future is Polygency (poly agency)
Again not a word!
For us, merchants whom can be agency-agnostic means they can refrain from agency tie-ins, which is ultimately risk-reducing if done properly. In 15 years of Magento development, the costs we have charged to take over projects and help merchants become more independent, has often outweighed the development costs. This should not be part of the modern TCO (total cost of ownership), otherwise the platform and the merchant both suffer.
If you are working with an agency or developer who insists on purchasing your extensions and not helping you manage your own vendor accounts, it’s likely you will become more constrained to their processes, culture, costs, skill-sets. Ultimately this is a risk to your business.
Tips when looking to purchase Magento extensions:
- Never leave it to an external supplier, partner or contract developer
- Always purchase and manage your extension subscriptions in-house
- Keep a record of your extension vendors/accounts/keys
- Always try and ensure all contributing parties use Composer when managing vendor extensions