by John Wethington
, Product Manager, Application Transformation Group
When it comes to Application Transformation, nothing gets me more excited than hearing a customer talk about their transition project and providing them with a holistic solution. Next week, Trent Overton
and I will be doing just that as we represent Binary Tree
at the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011
in Anaheim. We will be hosting live demonstrations and in-depth discussions of Binary Tree's Application Transformation Framework
is a solution that we have been evolving rapidly over the last 2 years. While the software components of ATF have been available separately for a much longer timeframe, after talking with many customers and integration partners, we saw a need to more closely tie them together and to align them to a comprehensive approach for moving applications to SharePoint.
ATF’s metamorphosis really started when we realized the current solutions in the market only addressed a small part of the process of moving applications from a legacy platform to SharePoint. While it’s true some offer some kind of generic discovery tool these tools are simplistic at best and do not provide a comprehensive approach to analysis or rationalization. In fact, most of the current SharePoint migration
software “solutions” only focus on migrating content, or worse, they force you to use costly 3rd party components that you will forever be dependent on in your new environment. And while they may do a good job at moving content, that is only one piece of the puzzle.
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Customers and integrators were missing the help they needed to…
- Accurately and completely inspect all of the legacy applications
- Analyze and rationalize the applications so that they can make informed decisions on how to transform each one
- Redevelop applications with insight into the legacy design and code
- Retire applications and servers as their initiatives progressed to reduce the cost and load of the legacy platform
- Tie all of these processes together and be able to manage and control the transformations from initial planning all of the way through to the launch of the new SharePoint applications and the retirement of the legacy platform
So we developed ATF (the Application Transformation Framework). ATF is a comprehensive methodology and solution suite designed to address the true needs of our customers and our integration partners
The guiding methodology incorporated into ATF contains the “Seven R’s of Application Transformation” which signify the primary processes for holistically transforming legacy applications to SharePoint.
So you’re planning or know someone who is planning an email and/or application migration? Do you have questions? Is someone asking questions that you don’t have answers to? Do you want to know what’s really in your environment? Is it time to budget? If any of these questions sound familiar to you, then sit back and let me tell you a little story of my own experience.
Off on the Wrong Foot
Several years ago, I was working as an IT Manager for a mid-size manufacturer that was a long-standing Lotus Notes shop. One day our new CIO - a staunch supporter of the Microsoft platform - called me into his office and asked me a simple question:
“John, how many Notes Applications and Messaging users do we have today and how complex is the environment?
I was completely baffled. No one had ever asked me that question before and I was at a complete loss for an answer. So, in my perplexity and search to find an answer, I grabbed the Lotus Notes Administrator. He smiled at me and said:
“It’s pretty complex, John, and a great deal of the applications are customized. Also, the users own their own applications, so we don’t typically manage them unless we’re asked to. As for the mail, I would say we have a few hundred users, but I’m not really sure how many actual mailboxes we have. Let me run some numbers and get back to you...”.
Three weeks and eight spreadsheets later, the Lotus Notes Administrator finally presented me with what I thought were the answers to the CIO’s questions. After all, we meticulously and manually combed through EVERY server gathering as many details as we could from the administrative console. We even went as far as opening up a few of the applications to find their size and owner.
Triumphantly and with spreadsheets in hand, I walked into the CIO’s office and exclaim, “I finally have the answers you’re looking for!” With a very serious look on his face he said:
“John …why did it take us SO long to get answers to such simple questions? Shouldn’t this information be quick and easy to retrieve? This is the IT Department …it’s critical for us to know how many Notes Applications and Messaging users we have, and have a full understanding the complexity of our environment. In order for us to be successful, we need to have this information updated consistently and readily available. This has me VERY concerned …”.
He was right. Having accurate, trustworthy, and consistent data on the state of our environment was critical to maintain and grow the environment. But, once again, I was unable to answer his questions, and the last thing I wanted to do was show him the spreadsheets because we weren’t 100% confident that they were accurate and complete.
Shortly after my humbling interaction with the CIO, he called the IT Team into his office and made the following announcement:
“We are migrating off of Lotus Notes. I need you to figure out what it will take to migrate our applications to SharePoint or .NET, and I need you to find a way to migrate Lotus Notes to Exchange. I’ll need a project plan and budget by the end of next week. This is crucial to the company’s overall IT strategy and I’m counting on you to execute.”
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Posted by Walter Monasterio, Microsoft Corporate and Regional SI Alliance Manager
Growth in business is great. It’s an objective that every company strives for day after day, month after month, and year after year. Most people I speak to envision growth in business as a time when sales and marketing are working in great synergy, sales reps can’t keep up with the demand, and products are flying off the shelves. Business growth is a good challenge. Wait a minute …did I say “challenge”?
When a mid-size company needs to scale into new countries, it can be an exciting, but somewhat daunting task. It would be great to have endless cash to put infrastructure in place in each country, but that’s not a luxury often available even to the largest enterprises. In order for Binary Tree to scale into new countries to meet the needs of our customers, we need to grow through partnerships in these geographies. So off we go to meetings, training, and conferences with our suitcases packed, and update our Facebook statuses from airports and hotels. In the time that we spend with customers and partners during our travels, we do our best to assess a new market and identify future opportunities for continued growth. Sometimes the report says we may need to invest with a Binary Tree sales/channel/technical resource in that area. In most cases, however, we identify success by investing in a local partner. Helping them through training and enablement to master our solutions and approach can provide an immediate service offering for customers in that geography.
In addition to a local presence, we need strategic insights to get rolling in a new area. When trying to expand or break into other countries, our partnersare vital to us getting this done quickly and smart. Whether it’s with a Regional SI or GSI, each organization gives us a peek into how their customers evaluate solutions. There are so many different subtleties in different parts of the world when it comes to how and when business is done that our partners are often the best tour guides. The ecosystem that they work in every day has all the information we need for success in a new market.
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