How to Create a Successful SaaS Migration Roadmap

July 10, 2019

Organizations of all sizes are planning to replace or complement their on-premises ERP software with SaaS applications, to meet their changing business requirements. This includes SaaS applications of all kinds; ranging from front-office applications like CRM systems to back-office applications like finance and accounting systems, IT management solutions, and industry-specific applications. However, creating a roadmap for SaaS migration is a major challenge facing many application leaders.

What’s Driving SaaS Migration?

A combination of four key market trends is driving businesses towards SaaS migration:

  • Changing economic conditions – Businesses are evaluating their capital investments and looking to focus their limited resources on their core competencies.
  • Changing competitive forces – The competitive landscape is being reshaped by globalization which has lowered the barriers to entry in almost every industry, resulting in greater competition and lower customer loyalty.
  • Changing workplace requirements – Modern workplaces have more dispersed and tech-savvy workers, who are more mobile and need greater access to information to perform their jobs.
  • Changing technology requirements – Traditional, legacy on-premises applications were not designed to address these challenges.

How to Get Started with SaaS Migration

Traditional application strategies are unable to deliver the modern systems that business leaders need, creating the need for a detailed SaaS migration roadmap. Application leaders are left with an inflexible suite of legacy applications that prevents them from delivering the smart, flexible, user-friendly applications their enterprises need on their path to digital transformation.

Many of them are struggling to create a clear roadmap for SaaS migration. They need to balance conflicting priorities their legacy applications have created, such as an ongoing need for custom development and personalization of customer experiences. It is best to avoid these two mistakes while determining your SaaS migration strategy:

Trying to achieve standardization across the enterprise

Implementing one solution enterprise-wide will achieve obvious economies of scale, but will your customers wait while you deliver it? It could take months to gather requirements from multiple departments, find the right product that fulfills everyone’s requirements, and then roll it out across the organization. Also, standardization may not be the right option if autonomous business units in a heterogeneous group need to adapt it to their customers’ specific needs.

Fragmented applications resulting in inconsistent processes

Application leaders might perform SaaS migration in several distinct projects to avoid the delays of standardization. However, the resulting application fragmentation can have undesired side effects. Custom coded integration between applications affects process agility and data synchronization challenges can lead to customer experience issues. Independent departments can make bad product choices without expert guidance and governance, and expose the wider organization to unnecessary risk.

Customers’ Needs Must Dictate Your SaaS Migration Strategy

Your roadmap for SaaS migration should deliver speed and consistency, empower business units to act independently, and allow standardization wherever necessary. Analyze your current applications by asking these two questions:

How quickly do I need to upgrade or replace the application?

Start your SaaS migration by identifying the applications that need to be migrated. Limit the scope of the project as much as possible, because quick fixes to these urgent problems are more important than finding the perfect solution. For instance, in some cases, it might be better to integrate a specialist solution with your existing application, rather than upgrading or replacing the entire application.

Do my customers want tailored or standardized processes?

Horizontal standardization may not be the right approach if it involves replacing many different applications that are already meeting your requirements. You can opt for standardization where specific customers deal with multiple business units and expect a consistent experience throughout their journey.

Develop a SaaS Migration Roadmap That Can Deliver Both Speed and Standardization

Application leaders must develop a SaaS migration roadmap that can deliver IT simplification and business agility, internal standardization, and external personalization. Assess these factors while defining your roadmap for SaaS migration and follow these guidelines:

Consolidate where there is an urgent need to deliver a consistent customer experience

SaaS applications are usually right for such situations because they are easy to deploy, configure, and integrate with the existing applications of each business unit. Limit the scope of the project and don’t spend too much time trying to find the perfect product; settle for one that’s fast and meets requirements.

How to choose between single sourcing and multiple sourcing

Choose single-sourcing if your current applications are effective and you have the time to find the best long-term solution. You can look for suites that support multiple related processes and expand gradually across the enterprise.

Choose multiple sourcing when your business units vary greatly by customer type or region, or for decentralized departments with stakeholders who expect software-buying autonomy.  Evaluate multiple options and select SaaS solutions that meet local compliance requirements.

Let your business units choose the product if their requirements are diverse

Guide them along the way but don’t interfere in the selection process as you will only cause delays. However, you can ensure that they follow a thorough validation process before making the decision.

After creating your SaaS migration roadmap, you can start with a quick win that will benefit your customers. Identify an area that needs improvement and is important in the customer journey, where you can expect minimal resistance from the process leaders, and where several SaaS solutions are available.


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