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Technology / Cloud

Better together: Why internal alignment is a key factor behind successful application migration

Having chosen to pursue a re-platforming application migration strategy, what steps must enterprises take internally to ensure a smooth and successful transition?

Once the decision has been made to embark on the journey to migrate legacy applications to the cloud, and the method of migration chosen, it is easy to overlook the nuances and requirements of the implementation process itself.

Even with the onboarding of an external provider, to maximise value and efficiency, vital planning, preparation and internal dialogue is required. It is not enough to select the right partner to assist with the transition; migration is a complex, collaborative endeavour. Without a clear set of agreed goals and alignment of key stakeholders within the enterprise, it can end up taking significantly longer than scheduled or, worse still, failing to fully unlock the myriad benefits application migration can offer.

migration strategy
Hexaware Technologies has provided legacy application migration assistance for enterprises through its re-platforming solution, Amaze for Applications. (Photo by Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock)

As the pandemic forced companies to adapt their working practices and transformed consumer behaviours, many enterprises have accelerated migration strategies. Despite this pressure to update their platforms quickly, the time must be taken to establish shared business and IT KPIs and performance baselines at the very start of proceedings.

Taking ownership

It is also important to prepare a detailed schedule for implementation and assign a team committed to ownership of the process, clearly defining each member’s role to avoid confusion. Security risks must also be assessed before the move, to avoid cyber breaches.

Global IT services company Hexaware has provided legacy application migration assistance for enterprises across an array of industries through its replatforming solution, Amaze for Applications. Throughout the implementation process, Hexaware works closely with its client’s cloud engineering team and application owners on defining and delivering the migration process.

“You mostly see this process being led on the client side by these two distinct stakeholders,” explains Hexaware’s vice president for application transformation and management, Vinodh Arjun. “Both parties have to collaborate quite a bit in order to ensure success.”

In many cases, this can be the first time these two teams have had to work in such close collaboration. Once the process begins, their work becomes very closely intertwined. They must be able to join forces and support each other to make joint decisions, even when some priorities might differ.

For cloud engineers that are typically responsible for setting new standards for cloud adoption, their focus will primarily be on target architecture. Meanwhile, application owners care more about the features and functionalities of the current on-premises application and ensuring they are maintained when moved to the cloud.

Inevitably, this may lead to trade-offs. Sometimes compromises have to be made.

“We’ve seen this work flawlessly with some customers that don’t leave the table until they get to an agreed decision – that’s the best-case scenario,” says Arjun. “When the relationship isn’t working, it can impede the implementation and the whole process potentially gets delayed.”

Aligning KPIs

To avoid potential disruptions and safeguard this working relationship, it is necessary to ensure that – before implementation – the KPIs of the cloud engineering and application teams are aligned. The ultimate goal must be creating a framework that incentivises both parties to work in tandem.

It is well worth making this effort early on. Otherwise, says Arjun, each stakeholder may find themselves “fighting tooth and nail for their own KPIs”.

Luckily, one metric both parties can agree on is speed. “Getting the application to the cloud in six to eight weeks is a KPI they should have in common,” explains Arjun, “so when they get to a gridlock, this should help them to quickly figure out a way to resolve the issue.”

Pick the right partner

Speed is a major aspect of Hexaware’s value proposition in this space. Amaze for Applications is an automated application re-platforming solution. It accelerates migration by identifying the code which needs changing and converting it into cloud-friendly code without disturbing existing functionality. As a result, adoption time is reduced by 75% and implementation costs by up to 60%.

However, fully realising these impressive returns is often dependent on businesses being prepared for the transformation process. From the moment Hexaware’s technical team of cloud architects and developers get involved, their focus is on execution of the application. The team also assists with valuable consultation on how a particular decision taken by their client will impact the schedule, quality and cost.

But client engagement throughout the process is also a core component. Once implementation begins, the project must be given priority to ensure timelines are met. This means key stakeholders actively engaging in design meetings, giving input where needed and providing sign-offs in plenty of time.

“There is always a danger that, in their eyes, the migration process becomes something of a side project and regular work takes priority,” notes Arjun.

For organisations that realise the most value from their migration strategies, Arjun is keen to reiterate that an early, clear alignment of KPIs, combined with a highly collaborative work environment are common indicators of success.

“It would be nice to have one key stakeholder whose primary goal is to move application workloads to the cloud, and resolve all the impediments that we come across,” says Arjun. “That might be the best-case scenario but we haven’t seen that yet.”

For those considering migrating legacy applications, it is essential to make sure that everyone is on the same page before embarking on the journey. Application migration is a transformative opportunity to embrace and build a whole host of new capabilities. Failure to get buy-in from, and agreement between, key stakeholders is a potentially costly mistake.