Our customer is a leading worldwide hotel brand which is one of the largest with 9000 hotels in 95 countries. As a global company that continues to acquire and onboard new hotel brands, our customer onboards huge amounts of data with each new organization that joins their ranks. Our customer becomes responsible for current and historical customer information, employee lifecycles, and the merging and consolidation of all systems that house the information.
Over the years as more brands were acquired, this leading hotel brand went from one data center, to two, to three. Finally, they reached a point where their legacy systems were no longer efficient or further scalable. They knew they needed a single source of truth for all their data software and decided it was time to migrate their entire business suite to Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud.
As a leader in their industry, our customer maintains an edge over competitors by embracing forward-thinking technology solutions. Our customer invests in technology both from a customer standpoint and business operations. As a seasonal industry, they need to be able to scale up during the summer when more people are traveling and scale down in the winter when demand is lower.
In 2017, our customer had a physical data center in Arizona, and a second data center that housed their shared services, plus a third data center in Massachusetts. At the same time, their data services were sitting in AWS. However, the complexity of the hosting environment alone made the system highly prone to error and future challenges. They needed a simplified hosting environment and knew that a single unified platform approach would dramatically improve their daily operations. In addition to the immediate issues that were arising, they also knew that this would be a smart move to help facilitate future growth.
The customer already had an enterprise service agreement with Amazon, so when they decided to embark on this project Amazon gave them a short list of their premier partners – in other words, partners who meet Amazon’s gold standard.
This major hotel brand then conducted a Request for Proposal (RFP) with four participants, which included two other recommendations from Amazon’s premier list. It quickly became evident that Apps’ experience and methodology were superior and after the RFP process, Apps Associates emerged as the partner of choice. It was clear to the RFP team that Apps Associates had done this before, and through the case studies they provided, the Apps team showed concrete examples of the great successes enjoyed by their past clients – many of whom continue to work with Apps years after their original projects. Apps provided its customer with a framework to build from, and once execution began, there were no surprises and minimal updates had to be made.
With proven experience, an upfront framework and flexibility around execution, Apps solidified themselves as the ideal partner. Most importantly Apps was ready and willing to work around the customer’s schedule, meaning both sides were able to move forward seamlessly.
The implementation entailed migrating all their production and non-production EBS databases and applications from their data centers to AWS. It took six iterations altogether to finish migrating these massive stores of data, each of which would involve building, setting up the environments, and testing with some of the workloads while they progressed. This building and testing period took less than six months – a huge factor in choosing Apps as their partnership choice, as other vendors quoted extended timelines upwards of two years.
After testing they planned to complete the transition over a single weekend but were able to transition in just one day, meaning that their downtime was dramatically reduced from what was expected. When employees returned to work and logged in on Monday following the cutover, they were completely on the AWS-hosted platform.
This was a massive undertaking, and so transition hiccups did arise. The customer logged these incidents and then with Apps, AWS and their internal infrastructure team, they were able to make the adjustments that were needed. The customer felt that it was pretty painless overall, considering the scope.
In concert with Apps Associates, the customer and their business stakeholders made sure to stay in communication with their community about how the upcoming migration would impact them. Luckily, they didn’t have to do extensive training with team members. This move from one hosted environment to another, while highly complex, would not change the day-to-day of employees very much, so it was more about making sure they were informed about what to expect when they logged on after the migration.
Since it was all completed during a single day, there wasn’t a need to extend their communications much beyond that. Once everyone was logged in and confirmed that they weren’t experiencing any issues, the customer considered the migration complete.
By moving to AWS, our customer was able to dramatically simplify their operations, particularly when it comes to things like onboarding a new brand after an acquisition. They can now plug into their unified platforms over a period ranging from a few days to a few weeks, rather than the months and even years it used to take. As part of the new framework, they added bots to help automate this process, freeing up employee bandwidth as well. With this updated solution in place, new additions to the brand can now enjoy all the benefits of the parent company right out of the gate.
From start to finish, this was an incredibly smooth implementation, which was remarkable given the scope of the undertaking. Moving data centers, building out a new physical environment, and migrating were all completed in under six months, with the actual downtime completed in just one day. On top of that, our customer now has a much more robust disaster recovery solution in place. Before this project, it would have taken them two days to recover from an incident. Now, they can recover in under four hours.
Thanks to the project management, execution, and tracking provided by Apps Associates throughout, the teams were always on the same page about the progress of the project, and any issues that arose were raised and addressed swiftly. The hotel brand is now fully enjoying the benefits of a truly unified cloud-based system.
Apps Associates is a premier enterprise applications and technology advisor, counseling and executing across every stage of the enterprise transformation journey—not just the destination. For more than two decades, Apps Associates has closely collaborated with decision makers across nearly every industry, offering end-to-end integration, modernization, and cloud migration services. By helping to break down the silos within today’s most complex business challenges, Apps Associates is unlocking solutions and efficiencies that scale into future opportunities. Learn more at appsassociates.com or follow on LinkedIn.