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Compare Versions of SuiteCommerce Advanced Using a Feature Compatibility Matrix

This is blog post is most appropriate for SuiteCommerce Advanced web stores. It is not necessarily appropriate for web stores running SuiteCommerce, as they have a slightly different feature set and are always running the latest version of that bundle.

It's a common scenario we've seen building up over the past four and bit years since we launched Denali: customers implement a SuiteCommerce Advanced web store, customize it, and then find themselves 'locked' into a particular version. This can become particularly problematic as, over time, it means that these web stores can lose out on access to many of the latest and greatest features, because many of them require updates to the code bundle in order to use them.

This, however, isn't always the case.

At NetSuite, there are a number of things around this matter that we have become acutely aware of, and our customers express a range of thoughts and opinions on this matter. Many of our customers are already on SuiteCommerce, our always-updated version of NetSuite commerce that is migrated to newly released versions shortly after they become available. But, for customers running SuiteCommerce Advanced, the greater flexibility of the product means a greater responsibility: manual updates.

Some customers read our release notes religiously, and are keen to take up new features as soon as they are available. Others are generally only keen on new releases if a new feature is backwards compatible with their version of SuiteCommerce Advanced. And some, sadly, feel left behind, and want to know what's waiting for them if they were to invest in a site refresh.

To put it another way, do you ever ask or get asked:

  • Do I need to migrate to a new version of SuiteCommerce Advanced to get [this feature]?
  • Is [this feature] backwards compatible with older versions of SuiteCommerce Advanced?
  • If I migrate to a newer version of SuiteCommerce Advanced, what new features can I start using?

In reality, these are all variations of the same question. One thing that they all have in common is a underlying need to visualize their current situation so that they have information about their future. So, today, I am happy to share something I have been working on that I hope can help: a feature compatibility matrix for SuiteCommerce Advanced versions.

👉 Feature Compatibility Matrix 👈

In the page itself, I've included some additional text explaining the matrix itself and how to use it. The general idea is that you can take stock of your (or your customer's) situation, and then evaluate what it would mean if you were on a newer version of SuiteCommerce Advanced. As a developer advocate, I'm always keen for people to be running the latest and greatest version of our code, so I naturally encourage migrations to newer versions.

Anyway, there's a lot of text on that page about the tool, so I'm going to use the rest of this post to talk a bit about the motivation for producing this.

Great For Implementers and Developers

Firstly, a common request I get is for a general 'feature matrix' — something that catalogs comprehensively all of the different commerce features available on the platform. I want to be clear that this matrix does not meet those requirements, and that this is deliberate. I think having something with such a high level of comprehensiveness would be a great challenge, and isn't one I could do alone in a short period of time. I wanted something that did a good job of covering key areas that I could maintain over each release.

My area of interest is the one populated by developers and implementers. I handle requests from people on the frontlines, who are seeking advice on how to achieve a level of functionality that their customers want and expect. It's not uncommon for a partner or developer to be asked, "can our site do [x]" only for that person to be unsure whether it is supported in their version, or whether they would need to recommend an upgrade or custom functionality.

You could try using this in your sales process, if you like, but it's really only suitable as a way of informing your own point of view, so that you can quickly understand your customer's situation. It may not be useful as something to show to them directly. And it's probably not very useful for prospects who don't already have a SuiteCommerce Advanced site.

Identify Version-Agnostic Features

Secondly, I want to remind you that we have many features that are version agnostic or in some way backwards compatible. What I mean is, while we make a lot of improvements to our commerce applications, many of our new features are available in parts of the product outside of the bundle your web store runs on. Some of these are available in updates to other bundles, others exist solely in the NetSuite platform code, others in updates to the site management tools, and so on. Sometimes, you may not even realize that you have access to new features because you think they're only available to people running newer versions of SuiteCommerce Advanced!

Identify Whether You Need to Upgrade

Finally, there's the situation where developers or implementers need something simple to guide the conversations they have with decision makers to illustrate why they should upgrade their version of SuiteCommerce Advanced and refresh their web store. As the matrix shows, there are a significant number of features that require updates.

If you were one of our first customers back in 2015 and 2016, and you're still running something like Denali or Mont Blanc, then you'll see that there are a great number of features that you're missing out on. We want all of our customers to have a delightful web store, and if you're running SuiteCommerce Advanced, then it might mean that you need to migrate.