How enlightened is your application migration strategy?

As healthcare customers start to think seriously about moving away from Windows XP then application migration becomes a critical area to consider. In this guest blog post from application migration specialists Camwood we investigate how blue light organisations can plan to migrate their application portfolio.

Application migration isn’t fun. We admit it. It’s the enterprise IT equivalent of moving house. You do it because the end justifies the means. You end up faster, leaner and more cost-effective than where you started. But what if you could stop the project becoming a headache? We believe there are four simple rules that make migrations easier. Read them now and avoid a world of potential pain. 

1. The path to enlightenment starts with knowledge

Show us a migration that’s run into difficulties, and we’ll show you a project that started without the right preparation. The key to an enlightened migration is to understand exactly what it is that’s being migrated over. In a large enterprise, the total number of applications – sanctioned and non-sanctioned – can run into the hundreds or thousands. Starting the migration without knowing what’s out there is asking for trouble straightaway.  Running an audit and creating a detailed map of the current app estate can save months of work later on.

2. You won’t miss what you don’t use

But knowing what’s there is only the start. Unless your team are super-keen on punishment, you probably don’t want to migrate hundreds of thousands of apps to the new platform – whether it’s a desktop OS/browser, server, virtual server or cloud infrastructure. A good chunk of your apps are probably obsolete, with no one (or hardly anyone) using them.  Many will have similar or identical functionality to others in the estate, raising the question of whether they’re all really necessary. And some users may be licensed for functionality they don’t actually need, so they could be downgraded to a cheaper or free version of the same app. Migration is a great opportunity to clear out everything that’s no longer wanted or needed.

3. Avoid as much remediation as possible

You don’t need us to tell you that some applications won’t make it across. They’re too old, not compatible or not supported on the new platform. Some can be patched up with remediation, others won’t make it at all. Many aren’t worth the often-considerable effort involved. The key is to know in advance which ones will migrate OK, which ones will need work, and which ones aren’t worth it – and from there, to identify whether replacements need to be found and licensed.

4. Rationalise first, migrate second

If you’ve done all the things outlined above, you’re in an excellent position to rationalise the app estate before the migration starts, decommissioning any apps that are no longer needed, authorised or compatible with the new platform. Rationalising at this stage has three enormous benefits:

  1. There are far, far fewer apps to bring across, so the migration project is faster, smoother and ought not to result in any last-minute panic remediation's.
  2. The ‘starting’ estate on the new platform is lean, mapped and manageable. (And with an application lifecycle management toolset like Camwood’s Application Lifecycle Manager, you can make sure it stays that way!)
  3. You can save many thousands of pounds by getting rid of unused software licenses and ensuring users only have the functionality they need.

In our experience, organisations that take this enlightened path have very few problems when it comes to large-scale migrations. And the best thing is the work only has to be done once – if you use the right tools to map and manage the estate, by the time the next migration comes around you can simply breeze through it.

(Don’t believe us? Read how Tubelines migrated its entire estate to Windows 7 in just a few weeks, taking an Enlightened Migration approach.)

What’s in (app) store for the future?

And with the rising tide of BYOD and consumer apps bringing even more chaos to the enterprise landscape, there’s never been a better time to get the estate under control – even if you’re not planning a migration in the near future.

For more about Enlightened Migration, go to the Camwood website here.

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