Optimize project management, increase agility, migrate complex PPM landscape to Micro Focus fully managed SaaS environment.
This logistics company has transportation networks that span more than 200 countries and territories, giving its customers access to 99 percent of the world’s markets by value.
In a fast-paced world characterized by just-in-time manufacturing and increased consumer expectations for high-speed delivery, logistics companies must stay on the leading edge of innovation.
For this particular logistics company, innovation extends to the internal application development and maintenance approach, as a spokesperson explains: “We recognized that we could better serve our internal and external customers if we adapted our ecosystem to become more agile. We have grown through acquisition and our portfolio of several thousand applications spans different development methodologies. We aimed to standardize on a set of core components to support our agile ecosystem, and provide full traceability from idea to delivery. We were confident that tightly coupling IT requirements to their desired business outcome would give us improved reporting and visibility to support strategic decision-making.”
The company had deployed an early version of Micro Focus Project and Portfolio Management (PPM), and built up an active user base of approximately 15,000 people, using the solution to manage complex integration projects for critical business processes across multiple parts of the organization. The company decided to update this landscape to support a faster, more flexible, and more focused delivery model – suitable not only for IT purposes, but for any project that requires full auditability and traceability. Ongoing integration capabilities were a must, with the company already using IRIS to capture strategic portfolio ideas and executive insight.
Executive support for business agility across the enterprise was already strong, and the COVID-19 pandemic underlined the desire for a highly adaptable and cloud-centric approach to the development and deployment of software. Based in part on its satisfaction with the existing on-premises PPM environment, the company determined that the latest cloud-enabled version of PPM would be the optimal solution for its goals.
“We were confident that PPM’s integration capabilities would continue to work well with our hybrid approach to deployment,” says the spokesperson. “Our IT architecture is complex, as some parts of the business cannot share information and so we manage internal ‘virtual walls’. We worked closely with Micro Focus to implement a PPM layer that would create a flow of information, reporting, and visibility, while respecting the privacy requirements within the organization.”
The company chose to migrate its on-premises PPM environment to the Micro Focus Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for PPM, a fully managed service that removes all the requirements to manage the infrastructure or software components of the PPM solution. The company worked with the Micro Focus SaaS team to complete the migration of its complex on-premises PPM environment to the SaaS environment, which runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS), starting with a detailed gap analysis to document all the potential impacts of moving from the in-house Microsoft Windows-based implementation to the Linux-based AWS platform. The Micro Focus team provided a set of pre-built queries to help the internal team identify required design changes and code fixes, and the teams worked together to create a full cloud onboarding project plan. To comply with the corporate data encryption policy for non-production environments, Micro Focus created, tested, and validated data masking scripts.
The Micro Focus SaaS team spent numerous hours in technical discussions and design review meetings with their counterparts at the logistics company, reviewing every detail to ensure a complete understanding of the existing implementation, with all its numerous customizations and third-party integrations. All these complexities and non-standard elements needed to be seamlessly transferred to the new fully managed cloud-based PPM landscape.
The migration teams performed three dry runs to simulate the final migration, and addressed all issues that emerged at this stage. Micro Focus created a migration run book containing detailed information and next steps for all application owners and business sponsors, and the go-live was successfully completed over a single weekend.
“We were delighted with the experience of migrating our on-premises PPM solution to the Micro Focus SaaS environment,” says the spokesperson. “Micro Focus kept both our management and our technical teams up to date on project status from start to finish. All integrations and business processes worked perfectly after the go-live, with no major issues or incidents reported by business users. The ability of the Micro Focus team to coordinate and execute this complex migration to a fully managed service was highly impressive.”
The logistics company now enjoys the same great benefits of its original PPM environment as well as the advantages of being on a fully managed service: including greater flexibility, seamless scalability and performance improvements, and reduced IT maintenance. The experienced Micro Focus SaaS team is responsible for managing the PPM landscape and the underlying AWS cloud infrastructure, so the internal team can focus instead on value-add activities.
Key entities are closely linked using API calls across the tool chain, so that ideas, goals, and objectives can flow from IRIS to PPM for demand analysis, coordination, and planning. The APIs either pull data for reporting within the PPM tool, or are used to register, create or update Request for Change items. A lean input form takes the user through a simple set of risk assessment questions, to determine the complexity, and the business and regulatory impact of the request. Based on this information, the solution helps determine the required level of governance and associated funding. The logistics company also has its own web service that provides services to Cloudbees Flow and Azure for DevSecOps. These tools call the web service endpoint, which in turn calls PPM APIs to create requests that enable the capture of compliance evidence and Go/No Go approval for deployments.
Having originally deployed PPM to optimize the management of IT projects, the company has significantly expanded its use of the solution to encompass projects in other domains, notably product marketing projects. This will help the organization to manage its entire portfolio.
“PPM manages the input forms and data quality, workflow, reporting, scenario planning including budget, capacity requirements, and KPIs, as well as agile integration with IRIS and VersionOne. It is a great way for us to track compliance and maintain full financial control of our projects,” says the spokesperson. “Today, decisions on what initiatives to fund are based on PPM intelligence. With thousands of PPM users, we have gone beyond managing IT projects only, to include product marketing projects responsible for the development of our entire portfolio. PPM is a true enterprise solution for us, enabling full traceability from idea to delivery.”
With its cloud-centric implementation of PPM, the logistics company can move faster and more efficiently from the inception of business ideas to the delivery of applications. “PPM provides the traceability and metrics we need to support strategic decision-making,” says the spokesperson. “The Micro Focus solution has increased our release velocity and helped us to streamline our change management. We can now respond faster to changing business requirements, and we can deploy patch and fix releases quickly to minimize any business disruption.”
The spokesperson concludes: “Working with Micro Focus and our other partners in the ecosystem enables us to move seamlessly and with full traceability from idea to delivery, demonstrating business agility throughout. And now that the PPM environment runs entirely in the cloud, we enjoy lower infrastructure costs, increased flexibility, reduced maintenance, and an enhanced ability to scale up to meet new requirements in future.”