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Is Hexaware’s Amaze® for Applications a Panacea for Legacy Application Modernization?


September 15, 2020

CIO Talk – Hexaware Blogcast: Welcome listeners, this is Sanjog, your host and here’s the topic for today’s conversation.

Is Hexaware amaze® for applications a Panacea for Legacy Application Modernization?

Today, the business dynamic is changing continuously and enterprises are embracing digitization like never before. In such an environment, it’s often the applications and systems that would determine their capability to adapt, grow, and stay competitive. While companies are dabbling in creating multi-channel and multi-touch new age experiences many are still heavily dependent on legacy applications and we all know that modernizing legacy applications has been a chronic challenge due to multiple reasons for many decades.

Hexaware claims that their amaze® for Applications platform can help modernize legacy applications at unprecedented speed, quality, and cost savings through automation minimizing human intervention and deliver results in a matter of weeks. What proof does Hexaware have to justify this claim and how is amaze® for applications different from the other automation solutions in the landscape? Is Hexaware amaze® for applications a panacea for legacy application modernization genuinely?

To discuss this, I have with me Srinivasan Panchapakesan. Srini is the Executive Vice President and Global Head, Application Transformation Management at Hexaware, a consulting firm focused on transforming IT solutions and solving complex business problems using a combination of human creativity and intellect. Their Three-Pronged Strategy of Automate Everything®, Cloudify Everything®, and Transform Customer Experiences® enables enterprises to fast track into the digital era.

If you wish to directly listen to the Podcast: From Automation to Autonomous Testing, Click here.

Sanjog: Hello Srini, thank you for joining us.

Srini: Hey, Sanjog thank you for having me.

Sanjog: Great, so Srini what do you see as some of the biggest challenges related to legacy application modernization that enterprises face today? What’s holding back IT leaders from migrating all their legacy applications to the cloud?

Srini: Yeah, thank you very much, that indeed is a great question.

Organizations have been using legacy applications for decades. At most of these places, the original developers or the architects or the subject matter experts must have already left the organization, leaving no documentation in many enterprises. So, we have seen that 7 out of 10 application modernization engagements do not have SMEs who can understand the application design and features. In a typical legacy application, there are various complexities with challenges in real-time and batch interfaces, database dependencies, batch schedulers, programs, and security integration.

The big challenges therefore, for enterprises is to engage and embrace cloud migration and modernization. Migrating the capabilities of an on-premise application to the cloud is more complicated than developing new applications on the cloud. This is basically because of the technical constructs that have been done a few decades ago. These can be very cloud unfriendly or on-premise dependent, which becomes a challenge for migrating them to the cloud. So traditionally, what happens is cloud migration of legacy applications involving a lot of manual effort contributes a higher amount of risk when moving these applications to the cloud.

One of the studies predicts that 78% of application modernization programs get delayed or incurred cost overruns leading to a lot of pain to the enterprises. CIOS and engineering teams would want to migrate these legacy applications on priority due to business pressures but face tough challenges in figuring out where to begin? How to do this? They are faced with huge millions of lines of complex code sitting in the application with a lot of interdependencies within the internal and external systems. So that becomes a bigger challenge for these legacy applications to be migrated onto the cloud.

Sanjog: Great, Hexaware’s Srini is claiming that its amaze® platform for applications can help modernize legacy applications at a speed, quality and cost savings unlike ever before. My question will be what’s so unique and game-changing about amaze® compared to other automation solutions already available for legacy application transformation.

Srini: Yes, we indeed claim that Hexaware’s amaze® for applications offers user differentiated automation that could help legacy modernization on the cloud. Hexaware innovated the amaze® for application platform to efficiently address the cloud migration challenges of legacy applications built using Java, .Net systems and other age-old applications. At the heart of amaze® is application re-platforming with a higher level of automation. amaze® is differentiated with a lot of capabilities and tools that leverage automation.

First, we thoroughly assess the legacy application code to understand the readiness and migration possibilities and also do a containerization readiness evaluation with regard to the kind of transformation that is required. We understand the complexity of the code and the interdependencies or the legacy design patterns that can be challenging when these applications are migrated to the cloud.

For legacy applications that have no active releases, for example, applications that do not have a roadmap, we do simple containerization. For applications that are planned for two-three releases, we normally recommend not only containerization but also automation which means that there are DevOps and CI/CD pipelines being built for those legacy applications when they move into a modern platform that facilitates an easy way of release engineering.

The third and most popular approach that we take is that we not only migrate these applications into the modern platform but also break this application monolith fat applications into microservices and enable API enablement. This along with automation enable enterprises to successfully migrate not only to the cloud but also eliminate certain dependencies of license and provide a much scalable environment for the new and modern application.

I hear you, there are tools, yes, but unfortunately, to our best of our knowledge, there is no equivalent platform or tool that could match what amaze® can provide. Amaze® not only does an intuitive and in-depth analysis, but also transforms legacy implementations that use WebLogic or .Net regulated systems into the modern cloud-friendly design platform and auto-convert these applications and enable them to move to the cloud. It also has a unique algorithm to break these applications into microservices. This facilitates deploying these applications into service-oriented architecture that enables enterprises to leverage the maximum value out of these legacy applications.

Once the scan is complete, we provide a detailed assessment report that facilitates insights about the current legacy applications, the possibilities, and dependencies. We le let them know that we also transform these applications. See, some of the tools that you talked about has no capabilities to the extent our system, a patent-pending technology, has at this point of time. We have come across situations where our customers are used to certain other tools to do an assessment but don’t know the way forward after the assessment and try and do a manual exercise of migrating the legacy application. In the process, they lose complete accountability of the whole process, wherein, in our offerings and capabilities, we not only do an assessment but also transform the application code into a modern platform. We take complete accountability to ensure that enterprises don’t face any risk in their modernization journey.

Sanjog: So Srini, frankly based on how you’ve described your amaze® platform it truly sounds like science fiction. To what degree have you tested amaze® in the field on real projects? How have your customers benefited from it and also, what did your customers and you truly learn during these efforts?

Srini: This is indeed a great question. See, for us, our customer is first and customer success is most important, so when we want to bring in such kind of automation, we want to make sure that we completely validate and perform in our customer environment to facilitate the success that the customer has banked on this.

I have a few case studies that I can talk about; one of them is a large mortgage company that has taken a journey of modernizing IT legacy applications into a cloud enablement initiative. But they have taken a step saying that if not broke, let’s us not fix it. This is because of the fear factor that by working on a legacy application, by touching it, and where there is a lot of application dependencies, there is the big challenge of failure. So fear was the biggest threat for them. We worked with and ensured and educated the customer that we take this accountability on us to help migrate the legacy applications to a modern platform.

We implemented our tool and product over a million lines of code from two of the applications. We did the complete analysis and assessment in a week time and facilitated a roadmap and plan and explained to them the current status of their application, how the modern architecture was going to be, the tools and technology that we can facilitate. We configured amaze® for applications in such a way that it automated code transformation in compliance with the requirement. We completed the entire engagement in four weeks’ time. This was with no dependency from the customer side or less dependency with respect to any SMEs availability or whatsoever. The pilot was very successful and recognized by the customer, both from time, cost and success criteria that we have defined and at no risk to them.

Likewise, we attempted another pilot with a leading Custodian bank which involved an electricity application. This use case was even more interesting where they not only wanted to migrate this application but also introduce new channels of operation for this application. Since the current legacy application did not provide the flexibility for them to introduce new channels, we migrated and brought in a service-oriented platform where multiple services are enabled with an API which enabled customers to implement a new user interface for a mobile application and connect.

Thus we have validated automation with amaze®, we set a precedent in the market and with multiple engagements in the process we have also learned and incorporated the learning back to this product and made this robust as of today.

Sanjog: So Srini, how should IT leaders define measures of success and determine the ROI for such transformation projects so that they can compare your amaze® platform against such benchmarks?

Srini: Yes, this is a very important question, indeed. See, success factors, in our opinion, is defined in three different dimensions; one is TCO reduction and ROI. We guarantee customers using the amaze® for Applications platform ROI within a year.

TCO involves huge license costs and infrastructure costs as well as the tools and dependencies that you have at that point in time. When you use Weblogic, we migrate them into a Tomcat. When you use TIPCO or web methods as middleware it can get migrated into an open-source platform and the batch programs get moved into spring batch.

On the databases side, we migrate oracle DB2 Sybase and SQL servers into either PostgreSQL or MySQL that provides a large reduction in the license cost. Also, when these monolith applications sit in a large enterprise infrastructure, your scalability becomes a bigger challenge and you incur huge costs to scale these applications. When they are migrated and deployed as microservices, you have a flexibility of scaling what is required for the business rather than just like that scaling at a platform level that adds to consumption savings for the customer.

The second important point that we recognize is productivity improvement. When we provide the entire CI/CD and DevOps pipeline to customers, their release cycle gets completely optimized. In some cases, where we have seen living cycles of three to six months has been optimized into a few weeks and in fact, you can have multiple releases as well. These are some of the ROI that we believe can help as well as we enhance productivity that facilitates an easy way of maintaining and sustaining these applications.

Sanjog: So how well does amaze® work with the existing toolset a company might have and the cloud platforms that an organization may be using? Can they preserve any of such investments already made in their ongoing legacy application transformation journey?

Srini: Hexaware has a philosophy of aligning with customer interests and leveraging customer investments. Amaze® is designed and developed in line with this philosophy. amaze® has extensive flexibility, configurability, extensibility and a higher level of customization that we can do to suit every enterprise needs. We typically spend the first week in understanding the enterprise architecture, the tools and product ecosystems within the enterprise. As part of the application intake process, we configure amaze® in such a way that it leverages existing investment that the customer has so that we can leverage the maximum return from the current and enterprise investments.

If a customer is already using any CI/CD pipeline or DevOps tools and products in third-party ecosystems and enterprise architecture, we configure them to ensure that the transformed application is in line with standards and technologies so as to leverage those investments. This ensures both preserving customer investment as well as conforming to the architecture standards of the customer enterprise ecosystem.

Sanjog: So how should an enterprise get ready before a legacy application transformation effort using your amaze® platform?

Srini: Yes, the customer can get ready for application transformation in some ways. See, in an application release plan, the first step for us is to understand if you have any immediate release plan for this application. If so, we would prefer them to be re-planned in such a way so that for the next six to eight weeks, you don’t have a release plan, unless otherwise, you have any emergency hotfixes that we can retrofit into the application. This facilitates amaze® to work independently of the current application code and in the process, we assess and complete the transformation for it.

We work along with the customer in the case of SIT and UAT and facilitate the update of skills for the development team because legacy applications use a different set of technology. The new transformed application will have modern technology. We work with them in parallel facilitating the skills update in acquiring new cloud technologies as well as the modern way of implementation

We expect to have a higher level of support from the customer because, at the end of the day, the application logic and functionality belongs to the customer. If they have any test cases, we provide automation in such a way that these test cases are automated. We do take some help and support from the customer organization for which we expect customers to be prepared. We provide optional services in case customers are having difficulties in augmenting test enablement through support services from our other lines of business.

Sanjog: Srini, if an organization picks amaze® for transforming their legacy applications what guarantees do they have that it’ll work? How can you help them reduce risk and perhaps even timely stop the project if it’s not going well and how can you work overall to make sure that you increase the odds of success?

Srini: Yes, we have defined our theme and focus on delivering value to customers and the risk on us, but we definitely guarantee customers favorable outcomes. As I said, these entire application modernization initiatives, unlike the many couple of years that the customer is used to, gets completed in a matter of four to six to eight weeks based on the complexity of the application.

So the risk with respect to the entire duration is very limited when compared to the legacy way of doing modernization. So we completely take the risk upon us and guarantee customers that they pay us only when their applications are deployed on a SIT environment. We meet all the exit criteria that are required so that the customer feels comfortable and the entire risk of execution is on us and the value is for the customer.

We also favorably guarantee completion on time with respect to the timelines that we talked about. We also ensure that it passes all the exit criteria and test cases that have been defined for this application. We guarantee to meet the existing on-premise performance metrics or exceed them comfortably and meet all security requirements of the current application. We demonstrate and guarantee a lower TCO because we eliminate your existing on-premise license cost, optimize your infrastructure costs, and your tools that would help realize expected TCO outcomes

We also assure reduction in technical debt for your current application. We ensure that our modernization initiatives and the code en generated from our platform do not add any technical debt. These are some of the favorable guarantees that we give. We also provide warranty services for a period as per the scope of the engagement to make sure that the customer gets all the benefits.

Sanjog: Once again thank you Srini for sharing your insights about the challenges regarding legacy application modernization that enterprises are facing today and how the Hexaware’s amaze® for applications platform can help.

Srini: Thank you Sanjog for the time and opportunity to interact with you.

About the Author

Srinivas Ganivada

Srinivas Ganivada

With over 12 years of experience in online transaction processing (OLTP) systems, business intelligence-data warehousing, data analytics, and cloud ecosystems, Srinivas brings valuable expertise in developing data platforms on different hyperscalers such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. He has been instrumental in enabling Hexaware’s key customers to efficiently ingest data and establish robust Data Lakes. In his current role, Srinivas specializes in building data pipelines into Snowflake from various sources using hyperscaler data services, demonstrating technical proficiency and excellence in execution.

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