Portfolio of over 100 Applications
Our client, a leading company in the "Fast-Moving Consumer Goods" (FMCG) industry, has developed over the years an impressive portfolio of dedicated Microsoft applications to support its different business entities, markets, and processes. This portfolio extended progressively to more businesses, and to newer technologies, while the older portfolio survived to the streamlining and offshoring fashion of the late 2000s.
Our team performs corrective, adaptive, and evolutive maintenance, as well as supporting the business with several additional services like user management, ad-hoc reports, etc.
Maintaining such a portfolio is already a challenge in itself, and the situation at the end of last year was even hampered by a backlog of aging, unfulfilled requests, team reduction objectives combined with significant turnover.
Total Quality Management
To ensure sustainability, the first action taken by our team was to deep-dive into the current maintenance processes and ways of working, and gradually introduce different measures to change the internal governance of our team and towards our customers. It started with motivational measures in our internal daily operations with the introduction of daily stand-ups, a modern tracking tool, and close monitoring for instance. Together with our client, we have also defined completely different, stricter processes to handle evolutive and adaptive maintenance, introducing release management and some agile concepts like T-Shirt sizing pre-estimates, monthly “sprints”, ...
And to keep the overall budget low while increasing knowledge sharing, we introduced a pinch of offshoring with our colleagues of Da Nang, using our secret sauce.
Next step consisted of defining the appropriate metrics to support this transition and detect any deviation early enough to allow corrective measures:
1. Team well-being indicator
100 custom applications require an enormous knowledge, and given the team was under pressure and had already to overcome an important turnover, checking regularly the well-being and motivation of the team members was one of the most important indicators we wanted to track. The anonymous survey is filled out monthly and measures the well-being over 5 criteria.
2. Customer satisfaction indicator
A customer satisfaction survey is quarterly filled by the customer’s team leaders and managers to assess the performance of the team. The subjective indicator, based on 9 criteria, allows our team to have a glimpse of the customer perception throughout time and identify what areas need to be improved.
3. Portfolio coverage indicator
In order to handle continuity and high reactivity, our team needs to have uniform knowledge of all the assets to sustain in the portfolio. This indicator is refreshed every 2-3 months, and highlights which knowledge sharing has to be organized.
4. Key Performance Indicator
In addition, to Service Level Objectives defined at a contractual level our team has put special emphasis on defining and continuously adapting Key Performance Indicators for operational performance tracking. It included measures such as the volume of assignments, the volume of closed assignments, the volume of requests per service typology, total backlog age, average age per service, etc.
In parallel, we did an assessment of the business value of each application in order to categorize in 4 categories:
1. Non-critical outdated legacy application
2. Critical application based on an outdated technology stack
3. Non-critical application based on current recent technology
4. Critical application based on current recent technology
The objective is to:
a. decommission applications of category 1 or replacing it by an existing Microsoft solution (e.g. K2 Forms...).
b. modernizing the applications of category 2 by partial or complete redevelopment, while the same improving business value and/or usability.
c. keep knowledge available and provide support and maintenance for these applications
d. as for category 2 migrate the application to the Azzur Cloud to reduce operation costs significantly.
Thanks to this approach, our team, at OpenWT, was able to increase the quality of service towards numerous users while reducing operational budget. Our team has fully redundant coverage of the whole portfolio allowing them to react quickly when an issue is raised and ensuring future continuity. Thanks to Azure and especially to Azure DevOps we have been able to work in an agile manner and applying our global delivery methodology enabled many developments to be carried out by our off-shore center.
Last but not least, our team also brings innovation to the portfolio by suggesting relevant business processes and user experience improvements that could be integrated into the existing applications or by using solutions like K2 Forms, PowerBI, and PowerApps.
All this work allowed us to build also new business solutions in the area of IoT and business process automatization.
About App Modernization with Microsoft Azure