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Crawl, walk, run: 3 easy steps to realizing your digital ambition

  • Posted on March 21, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
crawl walk run

When it comes to digital transformation, major companies are looking for that partner and trusted advisor that will help them on their way, transfer knowledge and then…go away!

What we mean is that corporations that have envisioned their digital transformations as a multi-million-dollar, multi-year extravaganzas are now demanding a more collaborative, and highly beneficial approach: first crawl, then walk, then run like the wind. Looking at being a trusted partner or coach versus “just a vendor”.

It may seem commonsensical, but it’s not the way a lot of large enterprises with thousands of applications have carried out their digital transformations over the past few years. Moreover, it’s part of the reason that many of those digital transformations have failed to meet their strategic objectives.

Ironically, the typical, behemoth-like approach to implementing digital transformation is the opposite of everything digital transformation is supposed to deliver: it’s been ponderous and slow when digital transformations themselves are supposed to deliver agility and speed. Companies have been left with hundreds of pages of assessments when what they’ve needed is the actual change that starts to provide business value.

The “crawl, walk and run” approach delivers that business value—and more. It’s an ideal approach for companies that want to see results now, in this quarter. Moreover, it’s a superb response to companies that want a right partner and coach who is an extension to their business at their side, rather than a mere vendor.

Here’s a look at the three aspects of the approach:

Crawl. You might not think that an approach that promises to be agile and fast would start with a crawl. Well, think again. This first stage isn’t slow so much as it’s small. It’s about finding your way. The advantage: by starting small, you can learn fast without worrying much about the consequences of a misstep.

For example, we recently used this approach with a large enterprise customer in Asia. The customer had 3,000 applications, and the traditional first step would have been a months’-long program of application rationalization. Instead, we worked with the client to select three of those apps and delivered a proof of concept that took them to the cloud in just two sprints of 2 weeks each. Significantly, the experience of migrating those first apps gave us insights into the client’s security requirements and challenges that proved useful throughout the course of the transformation.

Walk. Having succeeded with its “crawl,” the enterprise is ready to pick up the pace—a bit. This second phase might take 8 to 10 or more applications to the cloud at a time. More important than the speed, however, is the foundation that’s created here. During this step, we help clients to develop the application modernization decision tree, reference blueprints for patterns of application modernization and Cloud migration, Solution design and architecture principles, guiding principles for co-development in Distributed Agile model,  Modern Engineering Platform for DevOps / DevSecOps, Change enablement for DevOps and Cloud mindset, Cloud Operating models and governance processes they’ll use to sustain their transformations.

In the Walk phase, the company learns the real costs associated with the public cloud, application modernization and how to optimize their spending and measure their return on investment. They learn how to tune their models for maximum impact. They learn what’s best left in the datacenter, what should be migrated to the cloud with containerization, what should be re-architected / modernized for Cloud-Native design principles and what is best created anew in the new environment. They determine the guiding principles for scaling environments up and down in response to changing demand—and how to automate those processes for maximum impact. This is also the time to learn what longstanding governance needs to adapt in response to the digital transformation, such as standing principles for disaster recovery.

Run. With the foundation in place and the experience in hand, the enterprise is now ready to accelerate. More than that, it’s prepared to run on its own. That’s what the crawl, walk, run approach has been leading up to, and it’s what makes this so different from traditional client/vendor relationships. In this phase, we work with the customer to establish a factory model for Application Modernization and new Intelligent Experience applications using solution blueprints and processes established in the Walk phase.

Far from burrowing in for a contract intended to go on for years, the partner in this relationship has been working to put itself out of a job from day one. The right partnership, working side by side, exploring together, learning together, has all been designed to transfer knowledge, skills, expertise—everything the enterprise needs to be the master of its own digital transformation.

We at Avanade believe that using this Crawl, Walk, Run approach we enable our customers to own their digital transformation and deliver business outcomes much faster instead of just focusing on cost-saving aspects.

Learn more about digital transformation and optimizing your journey to the Intelligent Enterprise in the cloud.

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