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Migrating from in-house application to outsourced web application -- What..

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Migrating from in-house application to outsourced web application -- What..

ILUVIT
Hi all, I would like to get some feedback on 'What to look out for' when choosing a vendor and migrating to a web application that used to sit in house on our LAN. Our application used to handle various business functions but our company chose to go with an outsourced (Indian) firm that has a "better, more robust" application that is available over the web and will better(cheaper) serve our needs. Personally, it seems like the webapp is more feature rich but I am worried that this is a company half way across the world, and I do not have access to there servers, so they are in complete control of the application. What are some questions I can ask them to, sort of, feel more comfortable with the way they'll handle things?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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    NotSoChiGuy

    ...ensure they review any agreements, licensing conditions, and contracts well in advance of putting ink to paper.

    This probably seems remedial...but it bears mentioning regardless. I was recently in a negotiation with an Indian-based firm, and the contract was highly biased against my employer (it made the MSFT EULA seem like a love letter by comparison). It took longer to wrangle through the legalese than it did to haggle over pricing.

    Other things you'll want to ensure when dealing with a hosted vendor is support: availability, escalations, and SLAs. Make sure everything is documented in the contract. If you need 2-hour turnaround 24/7 for the app support, then it better be clearly stated. (you may have to deal with two judiciary systems should an issue arise...so the more clearly things are enumerated, the better you'll be)

    Also, make sure that any data stored in the system is yours, should the contract not be renewed down the road. You'll also want to have clearly laid out plans in migrating the data should the contract not be renewed (my previously mentioned employer was screwed royally by this one).

    In terms of data, you may also want to check into whether or not there is any legal concerns in porting your data offsite (let alone to another country). This would probably get covered in the aforementioned legal review...but just in case.

    The final thing I can think of (and I'm sure others will add on to what you need to look for) is to make sure they have solid failover/redundancy plans in place. Nothing goes over like having migrated to a hosted app, only to have the host go offline the first two days your system goes live.

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    ILUVIT

    Thanks very much for your reply. You covered pretty much all the points I thought about including some more (specifically, availability and ETA is critical but seldom thought about until an issue doe arise). I think data management (on there end) is priority for us and also data migration in case we cut off their service is key as well. Thanks.

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    Jaqui

    I would make sure you get daily backups of the database, to keep for yourselves.

    I myself would be extremely hesitant to outsource a mission critical app like this seems to be, the ways that you can be screwed over outweigh the cost savings, specially if it does go down.

    I'm not a fan of outsourcing at all, doesn't matter to where or with whom.
    yet I'm staring my own web hosting business, which is a type of outsourcing. So my clients get stuck with the technologies I implement and support as options. [ open source solutions wherever possible, only one non open source solution, the client's control panel ]

    Does your company really need to risk the possible lost income with service failures where the software and systems are not in their control for something that is "mission critical"?

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    NotSoChiGuy

    ...ensure they review any agreements, licensing conditions, and contracts well in advance of putting ink to paper.

    This probably seems remedial...but it bears mentioning regardless. I was recently in a negotiation with an Indian-based firm, and the contract was highly biased against my employer (it made the MSFT EULA seem like a love letter by comparison). It took longer to wrangle through the legalese than it did to haggle over pricing.

    Other things you'll want to ensure when dealing with a hosted vendor is support: availability, escalations, and SLAs. Make sure everything is documented in the contract. If you need 2-hour turnaround 24/7 for the app support, then it better be clearly stated. (you may have to deal with two judiciary systems should an issue arise...so the more clearly things are enumerated, the better you'll be)

    Also, make sure that any data stored in the system is yours, should the contract not be renewed down the road. You'll also want to have clearly laid out plans in migrating the data should the contract not be renewed (my previously mentioned employer was screwed royally by this one).

    In terms of data, you may also want to check into whether or not there is any legal concerns in porting your data offsite (let alone to another country). This would probably get covered in the aforementioned legal review...but just in case.

    The final thing I can think of (and I'm sure others will add on to what you need to look for) is to make sure they have solid failover/redundancy plans in place. Nothing goes over like having migrated to a hosted app, only to have the host go offline the first two days your system goes live.

    +
    0 Votes
    ILUVIT

    Thanks very much for your reply. You covered pretty much all the points I thought about including some more (specifically, availability and ETA is critical but seldom thought about until an issue doe arise). I think data management (on there end) is priority for us and also data migration in case we cut off their service is key as well. Thanks.

    +
    0 Votes
    Jaqui

    I would make sure you get daily backups of the database, to keep for yourselves.

    I myself would be extremely hesitant to outsource a mission critical app like this seems to be, the ways that you can be screwed over outweigh the cost savings, specially if it does go down.

    I'm not a fan of outsourcing at all, doesn't matter to where or with whom.
    yet I'm staring my own web hosting business, which is a type of outsourcing. So my clients get stuck with the technologies I implement and support as options. [ open source solutions wherever possible, only one non open source solution, the client's control panel ]

    Does your company really need to risk the possible lost income with service failures where the software and systems are not in their control for something that is "mission critical"?