Verizon makes clean break
migrating to Salesforce.com

Verizon enforced a swift application retirement process when it migrated from an on-premise to cloud CRM. See why the quick move was sound.

“The faster you make the move to cloud, the faster you see the savings. And the less time you spend with duplicate systems running duplicate data, the more accurate and secure that data will be.”

—John Brubaker, Verizon Information Technologies

Application migration can be a tricky business—particularly if you’re asking thousands of users to switch from systems they have worked with for years. Do you go for a slow phaseout of the legacy application and let users grow accustomed to change over time? Or do you mandate immediate change?

During its 2013 migration to Salesforce.com, Verizon opted for the latter. John Brubaker, manager of IT project management with Verizon Information Technologies, explained the process to Potential at Work.

For a company of your size, this must have been a massive undertaking. What prompted it?

Brubaker: The business case was based on cost savings. Running Salesforce.com in the cloud would enable us to perform more frequent upgrades with less hassle and cost. We no longer would be dependent on software releases, and Salesforce.com offers more out-of-the-box integration. For example, we used the Salesforce.com adapter to adopt Informatica Cloud to quickly support the major integration and data conversions from our existing systems. It was a huge but positive paradigm shift for the business and for IT.

How quickly did you move to Salesforce.com?

Brubaker: This was a flash cut implementation performed over a long weekend. Once Salesforce.com went live, all data in the previous system became read-only. If a salesperson tried to work out of the former system, they would not be compensated for it.

Why such an abrupt switch?

Brubaker: We knew that both IT and the business could not maintain two separate systems and processes while supporting our sales teams. Fortunately, the new Salesforce.com interface was superior to what the previous system offered, which gave users a far better experience. We had a very positive response.

Any words of wisdom for other application owners considering a similar endeavor?

Brubaker: First, work closely with your business partners and your IT and finance teams. Sell them on the benefits of going with a cloud-based application. You need to develop a strong business case that shows long-term cost savings for licensing, server hardware, and future integration development.

In our experience, moving to the cloud meant enabling the business to accelerate the creation of standardized funnel reporting distributions for sales. Salesforce.com also empowered the business to manage functions previously owned by IT. Because we are cloud-based, we now have more options for systems integration with tools that have already been developed for Salesforce.com.

Would you recommend this approach to others?

Brubaker: Obviously, it will depend on the application and the company, but it worked well for us. The faster you make the move to cloud, the faster you see the savings. And the less time you spend with duplicate systems running duplicate data, the more accurate and secure that data will be.

In the end, Verizon had a better user experience with the new system, spent less money maintaining duplicate data, and forced a paradigm shift. With careful planning, making a clean break from legacy applications may simply be the best move your company can make.

See Gartner's “2014 Enterprise Integration Platform-as-a-Service Magic Quadrant” report for ideas on how to unlock the full potential of cloud applications.

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