Ready Reckoner – Upgrading from Adobe CQ to Adobe Experience Manager (AEM)
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Ready Reckoner – Upgrading from Adobe CQ to Adobe Experience Manager (AEM)

Author: Sachin Gupta | Categories: Adobe, CMS

In early 2013, Adobe released AEM as a successor to their web experience management platform (CQ). This feature rich CMS was conceptualized with digital at its core.

What is Adobe Experience Manager (AEM)?

AEM is an enterprise-grade web content management system with a wide array of powerful features that allows organizations to create, manage and analyze all their digital assets – website creation, setting up blogs, social media feeds, setting up marketing campaigns, integration of e-commerce, etc.

Version history of CQ releases



AEM 6.0 was released on May 22, 2014. We would, however, be covering AEM 5.6 for this blog post as it is the more widely implemented CMS as on date.

AEM 5.6 is an upgrade release to the CQ 5.5 code base. It provides new and enhanced functionality, key customer fixes, high priority customer enhancements and general bug fixes oriented toward product stabilization. It also includes all CQ 5.5 feature pack, hot fix, and service pack releases. Key enhancements are directed towards an even better usability for all users (authors, administrators, and developers), to further facilitate all tasks related to the content live cycle in a global enterprise.

Though there are number of new features in this release, but some of the key enhancements which would attract consulting focus areas under–

  • e-Commerce Integration Framework / Out of box integration with hybrid
  • Out of box integration with Salesforce.com
  • New client-side device feature detection using BrowserMap
  • New Touch-optimized UI for DAM and parts of WCM
  • Introduce DAM asset annotations and asset expiry handling

eCommerce integration framework is really going to make a buzz as it not only integrates with any eCommerce product, it also provides a number of out-of-box components which natively support e-commerce functionality –

  • Product information display component
  • Shopping cart
  • Check-out
  • With AEM native e-commerce functionality, product database is maintained in CRX repository (JCR).

Adobe Product Portfolio: Digital Marketing Suite à Adobe Marketing Cloud

Adobe has also restructured the product portfolio from Digital Marketing Suite to Adobe Marketing Cloud. Adobe Marketing Cloud is a bucket of products to provide complete customer experience. It provides a complete set of analytics, social, advertising, targeting and web experience management solutions and a real-time dashboard that brings a common dashboard for marketing campaigns.

Marketing Cloud also includes Adobe Campaign which provides campaigns, offers, and personalization management capabilities for sophisticated automation and execution of marketing programs across all channels – digital and traditional. Adobe Campaign addresses a key challenge for marketers: how to build and extend relationship with their customer base to drive top-line revenue growth and ROI.

Now you must be thinking – Did Adobe develop this platform?

Any guess – Yes / No? Answer is No.

Existing Adobe Users: How to Upgrade to AEM 5.6?

Users with an Adobe license can upgrade to AEM 5.6 in either of the two ways depicted below:

Let’s discuss both of them in detail:

1. Upgrade from version 5.1 to 5.5

There are two ways to upgrade from your previous CQ 5x versions to AEM 5.6

a) In-place upgrade approach

This approach is used to upgrade on same CQ instance.

Key steps:

  • Stop existing CQ instance
  • Replace the jar / war file with the latest version
  • Restart the instance

b) Use Package Manager

The package manager is used to export all content and application code, and import to NEW instance.

Key Steps:

Login to CQ (AEM) instance à Click on ‘Packages’ to reach package manager

2. Upgrade from Communique 3 or 4 versions

The same instance of Communique 3/4 version cannot be upgraded to AEM 5.6

Key Steps:

  • Setup a new AEM 5.6 instance
  • Migrate all content and application to new instance

In this case, the package manager wouldn’t work to move content and application code.

AEM (CQ) provides an in-built migration tool to migrate content with a design, components, templates, version history, audit log etc.

Where to find migration tool?

Login to CQ à click on ‘Importers’ à double click on Upgrade from CQ3/CQ4 à configure and start upgrade

We hope this ready reckoner would have helped you clear some doubts regarding the new version of the Adobe’s flagship CMS offering.

Any questions?

Please feel to leave them in the comments section below and we’d revert as soon as possible.


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