Take control of your roadmap to modernisation
In this white paper, we address the topic of modernisation and discuss the possibility for this to be customer-led, rather than vendor-led.
Platform modernisation is likely to incur significant financial commitment from your business, so it is a decision that should sit with you, rather than with your platform or software provider.
The problem, essentially, is this. You’ve convinced your senior stakeholders to spend a lot of money on an analytics platform with the promise that it will provide valuable insights that will benefit your business. Now that platform or software provider, with whom you have invested significantly, is telling you that you need to update your platform for it to provide the value you need.
How do you tell your stakeholders that the original cash injection wasn’t enough, that what they’ve just invested in is now essentially useless, and that they’re going to need to provide another lump sum to rectify the problem?
If you feel that your job is on the line, you’re not alone. You might be wondering; how do I extract myself from the multi-year, multi-million pound investment?
The solution is to modify at your own pace. Yes, your platform or software will approach its end of life eventually, but not immediately, certainly not overnight like the provider would have you think. There’s still value in your existing platform and, with a few tweaks, you can maximise this and increase your platform’s lifetime. What it boils down to is creating your own roadmap, so you can modernise at your pace.
This example demonstrates what we can do to benefit the customer, rather than allowing the vendor to dictate the solution.
A market-leading analytics vendor is in the process of modernising its customer base. They’re upgrading the software stack whilst also recommending a move to the Microsoft Azure platform hosted in the vendor’s private cloud.
Whilst our customer wanted to modernise their platform, it was critical to them that they control the pace of the modernisation. A lack of in-house cloud capability, business critical applications, stakeholder management and several other factors dictated that they would not be able to follow the pace set by the vendor.
We were brought on board to help manage and guide them through the modernisation process by make the step changes required in their operating model and taking care of the day-to-day management of the platform.
In order to have the appropriate stakeholders bought into the vision, it was critical to put together the right business case.
The Assessment & Qualification phase of the roadmap is made up of the realistic aspirations and objectives, any migration concerns including the scope, the end-to-end data journey and the compelling reasons for the modernisation.
Other factors we consider are IT’s readiness to embrace new technology and their capabilities to deliver, as well as the business’ appetite to leverage the new functionality. Too often, we also find customers not understanding the Total Cost of Ownership as they are focused on the products being purchased and implemented, as opposed to the ongoing BAU support, maintenance, and optimisation of the software.
In this case, the customer had an aspiration to grow their capability and become self-sufficient over time. This approach, endorsed by Demarq, starts out with Demarq providing Software as a Service (SaaS). This allows the customer to adopt, understand and achieve full ROI from the software and the capabilities they purchased, without the headache of managing and maintaining the architecture.
Over an agreed period of time, as capability increases, the customer moves through to the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model. This allows them to take ownership and control of the application layer, whilst still relying on us to manage the platform and infrastructure.
Finally, the customer’s maturity levels increase, allowing them to move to an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). At this point, the customer is fully self-sufficient in regards to the platform and application layer. They are, however, still reliant on a third party for their infrastructure management.
We therefore had to not only consider the supported delivery of the platform in the short term but also ensure, that come the end of the transition, the customer had the right hosting provider in place to allow them to reach the required level of maturity.
Bearing all of the above in mind, our Governance Framework and commercial model had to support the customer throughout the transition and beyond. We came up with a flexible support framework, combining the chosen infrastructure partners T&C’s with our own, to provide a single, cohesive, offering to the customer with defined roles and responsibilities. The customer knew who was responsible for what and when. More importantly, they had a single, accountable, point of contact throughout the engagement and beyond.
When looking at delivery or the Implementation phase, there is always a gap between what a software vendor deems to be a deployed production-ready platform, and what a customer requires in terms of a productionised environment. This is where our approach came in particularly handy.
The aim of Demarq’s EM is simple; to ensure the customer gets the maximum value from their investment in data and analytics technology. This is achieved by optimising the applications, the infrastructure on which they sit and processes that support the environment. This enables the customer to focus on their ways of working, change and release management paradigm and embrace the new technology, unincumbered by the need to manage the new technology and platform.
Figure 1 above, shows the stages of the transition. The customer starts in SaaS, transitioning through SaaS before arriving at their goal of IaaS. Our customer was able to loiter in the SaaS model for as long as they needed to. In actuality, they evolved more like Figure 2.
The vertical red line in figure 2 shows the current state and, though it is not clear if the customer wishes to complete the transition to IaaS or not, their business units are able to make the most of the new technology, leveraging the new functionality in order to deliver the ROI envisioned during the project’s infancy. Meanwhile, IT are able to decide on their ultimate end state and take their time to make the right decision.
The majority of software vendors now have a cloud offering, with many focusing on a “cloud first” approach to sales. Our experience shows us that a customer doesn’t have to follow a software vendor’s timetable and, by selecting the right partner and relying on others to hold their hand during that process, can leverage new technologies at their own pace
If you’d like to take control of your roadmap to modernisation, speak to us to discuss the options available, and put a plan in place to modernise at your own pace.