Crosschecking and Pragmatic Planning Matters
From the onset, IBM knew the schedule would be tight. Multiple scheduled and ad hoc code change freezes and the short decommission window for legacy components meant that the company had to migrate 90 percent of the applications within 20 months.
Application development, baseline and regression functional and non-functional test execution, and deployment activities were delivered through Waves and Batches, which were in turn run in parallel due to various constraints and dependencies.
IBM also worked with Cathay Pacific Airways to streamline the approval process, implementing a three-day auto approval when no comments were received.
Since some of the applications were real-time based and had dependencies, the IBM team took the initiative to coordinate with a large number of client counterparties and external vendors through a well-defined escalation process. Here, their knowledge about the various third-party products and deep relationships with Cathay Pacific Airways’ departments proved to be essential.
“IBM brought the right people at the right level to make the changes when needed. The thing that really struck me was the professionalism through the process. I knew we were in a safe pair of hands,” said Peirse.
A complex project requires clarity at all levels. So, IBM focused on making communications a key priority throughout the project. The team organized walkthrough sessions for each deliverable with the various stakeholders.
"You can have the best technical people in the world, but if you do not have the communications and relationship, it will not work very well. And through the right communications you will build trust," said Peirse.
Cathay Pacific Airways and IBM knew that migrating critical applications had no room for error. "The migration we did involves critical applications, so we could not get it wrong. Full stop!" said Peirse.
IBM poured its resources into creating a strong migration plan with rollbacks for each application currently running on legacy platforms; upgrading current applications so that they are ready for the new platform that also addressed end-of-life and end-of-support concerns; leveraging virtualization and cloud management technologies to improve application resilience, mitigate failure risks and reduce outage periods.
The focused approach worked with the on-time delivery within 20 months, including the migration of 117 critical applications, four ISD database upgrade batches, and four additional database upgrade batches.
Overall, TAM involved eight Waves, each having two to seven Batches. Four to 10 applications were included in each Wave. Each Wave took around 15 to 25 weeks to complete, with many running in parallel.
“You need to get the basic right. So, for me, planning is the most important. The actual migration is the easiest part. And there were no migration tasks that we had to roll back, even though we had a rollback plan. It was pretty phenomenal," said Peirse.