Saturday, August 13, 2011

Agile for Legacy to SaaS Migration

During 2000, I was associated with an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) - a small startup firm with not more than fifty employees. The engineering team of this startup firm built a Human Resources Management (HRM) product on J2EE stack with JRun application server and My SQL database. During the first 3 years the sales team sold the product to less than 25 customers. These customers were small to medium size businesses with 100 to 1000 employees. Sales cycles were longer. Every new customer had to go through an installation ceremony followed by a series of customization routine to make the product functional. Even though product customization fetched some revenue through professional services, working with customers spread across geographies and providing them product support became very tedious. Over the next several years the customer base of this product increased by 300%.

Since the past two years the complexity of product management and customer management has increased multifold. Every customer installation has had some form of customization request queue with less than 50% of the requests implemented in production. Lately, scaling up in the current model has become an insurmountable challenge.

Interestingly, this HRM product is a good example of a legacy web product or application that needs to be re-architected or transformed to SaaS paradigm. Can we use Agile for SaaS migration? The answer is “Yes”. However it is essential to reflect on a set of key considerations in such projects. You will find more info on this subject in the free white paper “Agile for Legacy to SaaS Migration: Ten Key Considerations”.

What has been your experience in this area?

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