Every website consumes data from external or internal sources, such as your marketing automation platform, CRM or product information management (PIM) system.
Although a simple integration shouldn't take a lot of time, the challenge is making your WCMS integrations future-proof. One change in one of these integrated systems, and you’ll have to make a change in every system that consumes data from it. Which is of course also not that problematic, until the changes are breaking, or not compatible with your website.
And what about changing your ecommerce platform or even just upgrading it to a new version? Will our custom integration hold against the external changes on these platforms? In the multi-brand world of today’s global businesses, the workload will also multiply by as many times as the number of sites you have for each brand.
Let's look at the example of integrating a website built on AEM WCMS with an ecommerce platform like Magento.
What's Adobe Commerce Integration Framework (CIF) and why it’s important
CIF is a well-known cleaning brand. Although the trusty CIF cleaner is good for your daily household, we’re going to dive into another kind of CIF.
The AEM Commerce Integration Framework (CIF) is a commerce solution from Adobe to ease the complexity of integrating the WCMS with ecommerce platforms, and solve the issues that frequently come with this process. So, we can say this CIF also cleans up a mess, much like the first one we mentioned.
CIF standardizes the way of using a commerce platform and makes your digital ecosystemfuture-proof while being able to use Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) for your multi-brand websites.
This AEM Commerce Integration Framework includes a couple of techniques:
1 - CIF core components
Out-Of-The-Box (OOTB) components that can be used inside AEM to display your products coming from the ecommerce platform. They are easy to configure by using the standard Touch UI editor in AEM. Configuring the mapping with the ecommerce platform can be done in the editor. The main advantage of these components is that they require little configuration to work with your ecommerce platform + all the benefits of the Adobe Experience Manager.
2 - AEM ecommerce GraphQL intergration layer (in Adobe IO)
The graphql integration layer is a layer build into Adobe IO that can be used to connect multiple ecommerce platforms to your website and make it possible to easily plugin a new ecommerce platform/service without the need of creating a new service to restructure your data flow. The only things you need to configure are the components to map to the correct data and some configuration in Adobe IO to connect to your ecommerce platform.
Adobe provides a sample project called ‘Venia’ which has a step-by-step guide on how to configure and use CIF and the CIF core components. This guide will show you how a component works in AEM and more!
What’s the required infrastructure to implement the Adobe Commerce Integration Framework?
I know you’re thinking right now: Seems like I’ll need a lot of infrastructure to set this up… And you’re right, but also wrong. Let me explain:
Although you have the option to set this up on-premise, Adobe can set this up for you in the cloud, with AEMaaCS and Magento. So, no need for a local infrastructure.
Of course, every case is different and may involve different needs. If you’re already using SAP Hybris and don’t want to migrate to Magento, that’s not a problem. Adobe has foreseen a SAP Commerce cloud integration with AEM already. Same for the Salesforce Commerce cloud!
If you’re focusing on design, the GraphQL API can also be used in a headless way, in which case the design can lead and the ecommerce solution contains the product data and handles the transactions.
If you‘re looking to implement an ecommerce system while enjoying the benefits of Adobe Experience Manager WCMS, then the Commerce Integration Framework (CIF) is the solution.
As mentioned before, you have multiple options for your ecommerce back-end. Front-end is also covered with the flexible GraphQL endpoint and a solution for the cloud to be future-proof!