9 Tips to Migrate Legacy Applications Quickly, On Budget, and at High Quality

We at Binary Tree have helped more than 6,000 organizations migrate their email to the latest Microsoft platform, whether that’s from IBM Notes to Microsoft Exchange or from Exchange to Exchange Online. And what we’ve seen is that when it comes to legacy application migration, these organizations tend to care about the same three things: cost, speed, and quality.

These three concerns are interdependent. A change in one will impact the other two. For example, if you need to migrate super quickly, it might affect your cost and quality. Or if you have high quality expectations, you might need to spend a bit more time and money to make those happen.

Here are some of the key ways you can stay on budget, increase speed, and maximize quality while migrating legacy applications:

  1. Prune and consolidate applications. Be aggressive as you rationalize your application portfolio. The more applications you can prune or consolidate, the fewer you’ll need to migrate. Plus, you’ll reduce costs and will migrate more quickly.
  2. Don’t bog down in the numbers. It’s easy to feel paralyzed by the amount of data you might need to analyze to decide which applications to migrate. But you usually don’t need to do an in-depth analysis before you decide how to remediate a Notes application. For example, you can start by reviewing usage history and business criticality. Then you can save the deeper analysis for when you actually start migrating the application.
  3. Decide quickly. Decide on next steps quickly before your data and analysis become stale. If too much time has passed, you may have to repeat the assessment.
  4. Consider all costs. There can be several costs associated with migrating applications. For example, you might want to run a Proof of Concept (PoC), review business user requirements, and create or modify a new application platform.
  5. Define quality. Quality can be subjective, so take the time up front to define what your expectations are for a successful migration. For example, you might include in the requirements that you want specific information displayed at the top and bottom of each record. Or perhaps you want users to be able to navigate a site with as few mouse clicks as possible.
  6. Crawl, walk, run. Take a crawl, walk, run approach to migrations. Migrate the easier, stand-alone applications first. Learn from the experience and get some quick wins. Save the core business-critical applications for last.
  7. Set clear milestones. It’s not enough to say “we’d like to finish by June.” Instead, build in a series of smaller milestones that let you track progress and course correct as needed. For example, you might have milestones defined by region or country. You may also define milestones by application complexities: Standard, Simple, and Custom.
  8. Set the pace. Choose a pace of migrations that your business users can support and manage. After all, they still have their daily activities to complete. One of the ways that you can better manage the pace of your migration is to schedule time for user acceptance testing in advance. You can also provide online training to your users so they can prepare when they want to.
  9. Get ready for new features. Plan to take advantage of new features of your new application platform. Socialize these with users early so they can hit the ground running.

There are times when the balance between cost, speed, and quality may change in a legacy app migration project. We work together with you on making the change and maintaining the balance.  Find out how we can help you migrate Notes applications to SharePoint or Office 365 or move legacy SharePoint applications to a new SharePoint or Office 365 environment.