Upgrading between major versions of a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) has never been a pleasant experience. In this article, we would like to familiarize you with the process of upgrading from Kentico Xperience 13 to Xperience by Kentico and what to consider before deciding to upgrade.
At Kentico, we are committed to assisting our clients and partners wherever we can with solutions to their problems. That's why we are introducing our data Migration Toolkit for Kentico Xperience 13, which makes the upgrade process smoother, faster, more predictable, less expensive, and relatively pain-free.
Here, we will specifically focus on upgrading from Kentico Xperience 13 to our new product, Xperience by Kentico. If you are interested in migrating from Kentico Xperience 12, we also support this scenario with our Migration Toolkits for Kentico Xperience 12, and this article may prove helpful to you. Kentico partners will find more information on this topic in a gated article on our Partner Portal.
Additionally, we have developed the Universal Migration Toolkit that will aid you in re-platforming from other vendors’ products. Learn more about it in this blog post on how to migrate to Kentico.
Benefits of upgrade
There are numerous benefits to Xperience by Kentico, making it a compelling choice for upgrading. The new product employs future-proof technologies, featuring multichannel content management and a reusable content approach. With a modern, super-fast user interface and regular updates, the product remains up to date. It is highly flexible, offering various options such as SaaS development, an optional headless approach, and composability. These factors collectively contribute to a shorter time to market and deliver long-term value.
Breaking down the upgrade project
Kentico Xperience 13 serves as an excellent starting point for migration due to its strong similarities with Xperience by Kentico. Widgets and other components of the project can be reused with minor adjustments, and thanks to our Migration Toolkit, it is now possible to migrate the content as well.
Before delving into the upgrade process, it is good to break it down into phases and elaborate on each of them. Generally, the upgrade process can be divided into two major phases.
In the initial step, it is essential to determine whether the content model, in which the data is stored in the Kentico solution, is intended to be changed with the upgraded website. If the functionality and requirements of the website are to remain the same post-migration, and best practices for content authoring were adhered to during content creation, the content model can remain unchanged, and the Migration Toolkit will migrate the content as is. However, Xperience by Kentico introduces a new method to reuse content across multiple channels. Leveraging this might necessitate a change in the content model to decouple reusable content from the presentation layer. This change applies only to certain types of content.
The content that can be migrated using our Migration Toolkit encompasses not only visible website text but also digital assets (such as product technical documents, images, videos, audio recordings, etc.), email templates, forms, website visitor contacts, GDPR consents, and more. The toolkit documentation thoroughly describes the data types suitable for automatic migration, along with any limitations and potential blockers in the migration automation process.
With the second step comes the migration itself. Our Migration Toolkit needs to be configured according to the documentation, and the migration process should be initiated. Following the migration, the data will be visible in the Xperience by Kentico administration, where it can be additionally modified. The efficiency of our Migration Toolkit depends on the specific requirements. In the case of an upgrade from Kentico Xperience 13 to Xperience by Kentico and if the front-end design remains unchanged, the efficiency of automatic migration will be higher than in a situation where the front-end is altered during the upgrade.
How much will the Migration Toolkit help?
We all know the answer “it depends”. Indeed, it heavily depends on how the Kentico Xperience 13 project is set up, especially if best practices for content modeling
and technology-agnostic development are applied. In general, the more content of the same structure you need to migrate, the greater the savings from automated migration can be. Utilizing structured content on pages, incorporating Page Builder widgets when appropriate, and storing files in media libraries will yield the most significant benefits in terms of time savings from using the toolkit. Conversely, if each of your pages (e.g., various campaign landing pages and microsites built differently) has a unique structure, then the efficiency of the migration toolkit will not be as significant.
It is challenging to quantify, but if the migrated data is well-structured, the savings on the migration can be up to 60% of the data migration part itself. This translates to approximately 30% of the entire re-platforming project costs.
Developing in a technology-agnostic manner
The recommended approach for developing your website or digital projects is to maintain a clear separation between the presentation layer and the backend technology provided by the CMS or DXP platform. An example of this kind of architecture is the Bridge pattern (watch how our MVP Trevor Fayas explains this topic in more detail). This approach significantly reduces vendor lock-in or being tied to a specific product version, ensuring readiness for future upgrades or migrations. In practice, it minimizes the number of changes that need to be made during migration to a different system.
What is the data Migration Toolkit?
The data Migration Toolkit is an open-source application developed and supported by Kentico to save time and reduce migration or upgrade costs. This is achieved by automating part of the data migration process, making it faster and more predictable for clients and partners.
Designed to assist with the migration of entire sites‚ including content with language variants, digital assets, metadata, custom module data, visitor contacts data, forms, and more‚ the data Migration Toolkit proves invaluable. Thanks to structured and reusable content, Xperience by Kentico utilizes different methods to handle content, digital assets, and channels (website, email, headless). Therefore, it is necessary to transform the data during the upgrade/migration process into a new format so that the new product can effectively use the data.
This short video introduces the data Migration Toolkit for developers. You can also watch our MVP, Brian McKeiver, talking about the Migration Toolkit during his presentation at Kentico Connection 2023.
Migration Toolkit download and documentation
Do you need additional assistance?
While we have made every effort to provide comprehensive documentation, tools, and best practices to assist you in your upgrade process, there may be instances where you would prefer to consult with Kentico experts for additional guidance.
Our Consulting team is fully committed to providing help and support to our partners. We offer a Pre-upgrade audit service specifically designed to help you avoid pitfalls associated with upgrades. For further details regarding migration assistance, please refer to this document.
We're looking forward to seeing how you leverage all the great capabilties Xperience by Kentico brings.