Introducing automation to website migration

Migrating legacy desktop and mobile web platforms to a new, Hybris platform across dozens of countries is a huge challenge. Anna Didonna, SEO Manager at Miele X is originally from Italy, where she worked as a content manager and SEO manager in several verticals.  She moved to Amsterdam in 2015, originally working for Adidas and Sonova, and joined Miele in October 2020. We talked to her about her role in introducing automation to speed up the process of migration.

When Anna joined Miele X in October 2020, one of her first projects involved defining how to migrate the next Miele e-commerce websites onto a new Hybris platform, across dozens of countries. “We created a roadmap for the rollout of these legacy desktop and mobile systems to a new, more responsive platform” she says. “And we planned to roll them out every two or three months to one or two countries at a time.”

The big challenge was that the legacy systems consisted of an incredible amount of URLs, each one needed to be checked individually to build a comprehensive redirect map, an enormously time-consuming task. “We soon realised that we needed to automate the process to reduce the workload and work more efficiently,” explains Anna. “As an SEO manager, it is my priority to make sure that any migrations wouldn’t affect our Google ranking.”

Searching for innovative solutions to migrate legacy platforms time-efficiently

Anna joined the team at the time of planning for Italy and Austria’s migration, in March 2021. “The quality of the user experience is critical for us at Miele X, so we needed to check absolutely everything was working properly, redirecting to the new URLs”. 

The team knew they needed to introduce automation, but given the variation in age of the legacy systems, it was difficult to see how this could be done. Then Anna found a unique identifier that matched the product detail pages (PDPs) on the legacy system with the Hybris PDPs. She also helped with migrating localised URL structures from the legacy system to Hybris. By finding a way to combine the main domain and the product ID, she discovered that the system automatically redirected to the new URL. This was a game-changer for the team. It meant the team could introduce automation and drastically cut the amount of time the redirect mapping was taking, “it speeded up the process for about 70% of every URL,” she adds.

When it came to the product listings pages (PLPs), they faced another challenge. On the legacy systems, in the majority of the countries each page had its own unique ID. So, when the platform was migrated, this meant each country had to match the page IDs from the legacy system with the Hybris system manually. Anna says this would have taken weeks: “We needed to move 64,000 legacy URLs to around 30,000 Hybris URLs, which couldn’t be done manually. So, for the next migration, I created a conversion table that we could use for a script so these URLs could be matched quicky and effectively.”

What next?

Anna says they’re already looking at other tasks that can be automated. “We’re getting better each time at using automation to migrate the platforms – including matching URLs to make sure the new one we are redirecting to is valid.”

This is very important for her as an SEO manager, because it helps to avoid uploading live redirects that may not work. “I worked in partnerships with our IT development team – I defined what we needed to achieve and my team co-worker, our developer, wrote the script,” she explains. “We’ve already launched it on one migration project and we’re refining it at the moment.”  This is all part of our Immer Besser philosophy at Miele, we are continually looking at ways to improve things. 

Now, she’s always on the lookout for other areas that can be automated to save time. “When you’re dealing with 50 countries,” she says, “it is essential to avoid unneeded manual work.”

Now is an exciting time to join Miele X as we create a new digital heritage for one of the world’s best-loved brands.

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