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Combining automation and human experience to create a best-in-class migration strategy

Enterprises are migrating data and applications to the cloud with increasing urgency. Where does the balance lie between automation and human expertise – and what can tech leaders do to accelerate and optimise the process? 

The past 18 months have turbocharged digital innovation across businesses – not least when it comes to application and data migration to cloud. In a world where a huge proportion of the workforce is now digital, to say nothing of the savings and efficiencies the cloud can offer is hardly surprising. More to the point, it’s a trend that’s reflected in the statistics. According to one recent survey, the pandemic has spurred 87% of global IT decision-makers to accelerate their move away from physical servers.  

automation and human experience

Enterprises are migrating data and applications to the cloud with increasing urgency. Where does the balance lie between automation and human expertise – and what can tech leaders do to accelerate and optimise the process?  (Photo by Jozsef Bagota/Shutterstock)

Soaring demand and increased client expectations mean that IT, BPO and consulting services are having to adapt too, working with customers to understand their needs, leaning on the expertise of their own staff – and, all the while, developing new services and functionalities that enhance the migration experience.  

Enterprise-class capability

Hexaware’s commitment to these macro-trends long pre-dates the pandemic. For the last few years, the company has promoted a direct-action call: “Cloudify Everything.” Nevertheless, you get the sense that even Srinivasan Panchapakesan, executive vice president and head of Amaze platform engineering at Hexaware, has been struck at the extent to which the pandemic and its consequences have given that message added resonance.  

Panchapakesan and his team have upped their ambition and efforts accordingly. The latest version of Hexaware’s Amaze suite, Hexaware’s automated re-platforming solution, is a case in point. Already onto its fourth iteration a little over 12 months since launch, Amaze 4.0 boasts what Panchapakesan describes as “enterprise-class” capabilities, suitable for migrating architecture roadmaps from applications and databases to middleware. 

All told, Amaze4.0 now includes over 800 features, up from the 180 with which it launched, building on the advantages re-platforming offers over other migration strategies. Around 80% of Amaze’s migration process is automated, reducing costs by up to 60% and cutting migration times in half.  

Focus on the specifics, and it’s equally obvious that service providers are having to adapt to ballooning demand. In Hexaware’s case, the firm has developed a patent-pending algorithm that seamlessly converts monolith applications into microservices, improving flexibility and encouraging agile development. Combined with specialised features for middleware (Spring integration) and applications (integrated Cloud DevOps pipelines), it seems clear that service providers like Hexaware are noinvaluable partners for enterprises looking to embrace digital transformation.  

Financial uptick

Of course, none of these features simply appeared. On the contrary, at a time of rapid digitisation, providers like Hexaware are exploiting all the tools at their disposal to develop new services. Hexaware leans on both internal R&D and extensive engagement with the market. Over the last year, Hexaware has also deepened industry relationships, quizzing existing customers and asking thought leaders about their migration pain points. Just as importantly, Panchapakesan highlights his firm’s openness to internal innovation. “We encourage every employee to tell us if they think there’s something we can do better,” he explains. “At least 10-15% of Amaze’s features are generated through this channel.”  

Apart from informing what goes into Amaze, Panchapakesan suggests that recent platform updates have boosted Hexaware’s reputation in a crowded market – to the extent that some prospects now think Amaze is “too good to believe.” Yet, as the Executive Vice President explains, that’s a good problem to have when it comes to demonstrating proof of concept. “Our strategy is to take their application, and in two or three weeks give it back with the work it’d have taken them a year to do. That creates a huge impact.”  

It has secured Hexaware a growing customer base across various business sectors, with Panchapakesan noting particular appetite within financial services. To bolster trust and engagement, Hexaware has honed its four-stage implementation plan, optimising its service assessment engine to create what Panchapakesan calls an “MRI” of a firm’s existing setup, only then starting the migration itself. That Amaze 4.0 comes with 128-bit encryption undoubtedly reassures particularly security-conscious industries such as the banking sector. 

Internal alignment

If the last year has changed how enterprises think about cloud migration, it has also impacted how they interact with partners such as Hexaware. The same is true in reverse. Where Panchapakesan once spent much of his time hunting prospects down, the rise of WFH and digitisation have meant he is fielding an ever-growing volume of incoming calls from enterprises seeking to investigate migration possibilities. That’s shadowed by the rise of “internal evangelists” among Hexaware’s existing client base, including several Fortune 100 firms, who encourage the adoption of Amaze across business units. Enterprises are now much more informed, both about what is at stake and what is possible, Panchapakesan insists, which helps make the relationship run more smoothly from the off. 

At the same time, Hexaware is already looking to what comes next. Amaze 5.0 is scheduled to release by the end of 2021, and Panchapakesan suggests it’ll offer the same leap forward as we saw between versions 1.0 and 4.0. “Our platform is ahead of the industry by three, three-and-a-half years at this point in time,” he says. “The question is: how can each release put us even further ahead.”  

It is a sense of ambition increasingly shared by enterprises looking to turbocharge their migration strategies.