Considerations When Migrating Legacy IVR Applications

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Whitepaper
Considerations When
Migrating Legacy IVR
Applications
Automated vs. Manual Re-Development
This document covers the thought process pertaining
to the migration of legacy IVR applications to new
open standards-based systems. Commentary
and recommendations are based on experience
with both manual and automated migrations.
July 2012
Integrated
Voice
Solutions
Whitepaper
page 2 | www.integratedvoicesolutions.com
Table of Contents
In order to
maintain
competitiveness
and deliver
greater value
to customers,
businesses need
to implement
technology
that continues
to push them
one step ahead
of the pack.
Introduction — 3
IVR Business Issues Facing Enterprises — 4
Vendor Consolidation — 4
New Technology — 5
High Support Fees — 6
Are You Migration-Ready? — 6
Hosted Solutions vs. On-Premise and Hybrid — 6
TDM vs. VoIP — 7
Vendor Choice — 8
Data — 8
Reporting & Analytics — 9
The Case for Application Conversion — 9
Specification  —  9
Risk of Disruption — 10
Timescales — 11
About Arca+ — 11
Arca+ Features: — 12
Using Arca+ to De-Risk Change — 12
About Integrated Voice Solutions — 13
IVS offers a free, no obligation migration cost analysis.
Please contact us today to get started! — 13
Considerations When Migrating Legacy IVR Applications
www.integratedvoicesolutions.com | page 3
Introduction
Today, enterprises of all sizes are faced with IVR platform end-
of-life issues. Over time, the applications that run on these
platforms have been highly refined to reflect specific client 
and customer needs. Because these legacy applications
were developed in a proprietary environment, platform end-
of-life also signals end-of-service for these applications.
In order to maintain competitiveness and deliver greater value
to customers, businesses need to implement technology that
continues to push them one step ahead of the pack. Social
media, location-based services, and hosting options are forcing
businesses to take an innovative approach to telephony self-service.
Spending money and cycles to redesign and re-develop legacy IVR
applications precludes businesses from taking advantage of newer
automation methods that will cut cost and increase delivery.
IVR platform consolidation due to acquisition is increasing. Even
platforms that remain supported have become secondary to the
newest “Next Big Thing” that the IVR technology vendor provides.
While some of these systems are officially still “supported,” typically 
no more than a skeleton crew exists to assist customers.
A new technology platform can open avenues for the delivery of
more innovative services, yet the cost of deploying a new system and
re-developing applications is exorbitant. So far, enterprises have had
to choose between remaining on unsupported or poorly supported
legacy technology and pay high annual support fees, or to pony up,
purchase a new platform, and incur high redevelopment costs.
VXML is mature and the most frequently adopted development
standard in the telephony industry today. But what is the best way to
quickly move proprietary legacy applications to VXML? And more
importantly, how can enterprises ensure they won’t be locked in again?
So far,
enterprises
have had to
choose between
remaining on
unsupported
or poorly
supported
legacy
technology and
paying high
annual support
fees, or to pony
up, purchase a
new platform,
and incur high
redevelopment
costs.
Whitepaper
page 4 | www.integratedvoicesolutions.com
IVR Business Issues Facing
Enterprises
Understanding key business issues helps enterprises save money, reduce
risk, decrease timeline, and maximize resources during migration projects.
Vendor Consolidation
In today’s challenging economic climate, there has been much
consolidation in the IVR market. As a result, some industry leaders
actively support as many as four different IVR platforms. It is
logical to predict that their next step will be to reduce their
supported product set and consolidate their clients onto a
single platform selected from their bulging portfolios.
It’s a hard reality that some enterprises find themselves operating 
their businesses on a platform that has less than a year before end-
of-support, or that their system is next on the “obsolescence” list.
Enterprises need to discuss their IVR solution with vendors in
order to properly expose how much life an existing platform
realistically has left. Some questions to consider include:
• 
Is an incentive being offered to move to another of that vendor’s
platforms?
• 
Has the quality of support declined, or been sent offshore?
• 
Are there longer periods than usual between version releases?
• 
As a new release comes out, what is the content?
• 
Does the release include new exciting features and support for new
technologies, or does it include platform changes designed to drive
adoption of their new technology?
It’s also inevitable that the best system may not be the one that wins
through a vendor’s selection process. Enterprises enjoy free reign
when selecting technology from a large, open marketplace, and
therefore have the benefit of choosing the platform that best suits their 
needs based on their unique criteria. A vendor that has consumed its
competition may have other loyalties when deciding which platform is
to be continued and which is to become obsolete.  Oftentimes, the final 
choice is not which is the most robust, which has the best development
tools, or which is the most extensible; other factors are in play.
Enterprises
enjoy free reign
when selecting
technology from
a large, open
marketplace,
and therefore
have the benefit
of choosing
the platform
that best suits
their needs
based on their
unique criteria.
Considerations When Migrating Legacy IVR Applications
www.integratedvoicesolutions.com | page 5
New Technology
Organizations are typically faced with enduring a “forklift upgrade”
when it comes to moving to a newer version of the same technology.
Traditional IVR platforms include a hardware solution (racks, servers, and
telephony cards) and a software solution (port licenses and support),
which are bound together and used primarily in TDM telephony
environments. Legacy telephony platforms tend to be very robust but
the technology is proprietary and highly inflexible; scaling is limited to 
the confines of the hardware’s capacity and application development 
requires specific knowledge.  Legacy IVR development staff comes 
at a higher price point than open standards development staff.
Cloud computing has become a reality and IT platforms have become
more open. Whether through offering open standards, operating
on open source, or allowing integration through industry-standard
interfaces, the high-tech world is becoming more connected.
VXML IVR solutions resemble distributed web applications and
as such, leverage existing web infrastructure. Web servers
are used as application servers, allowing voice and web
applications to run on the same server. With the bulk of the
required infrastructure now industry-standard, administration and
operations can be supported with fewer specialized skills.
VXML was once a mysterious, new open standard that threatened
to tear the IVR world apart. Vendors and clients alike courted
this new innovation with a conflicting mix of fear, excitement, 
trepidation, and above all, hope. However, in only a few short
years, the issues with VXML have been resolved, the expertise
has evolved to enable effective deployment of the technology,
and the differences in various vendors’ interpretations of the
standard have evened out. In one form or another, VXML is now
the most accepted standard for deploying an IVR application.
Most importantly, deployment of a VXML system does not require
proprietary platform expertise. Because IVR applications now
live in an open environment, businesses are free from the bonds
that legacy IVR platform vendors had built into their systems. As
VXML
based IVR
applications
live in an open
environment,
so businesses
who use them
are free from
the bonds
that legacy
IVR platform
vendors had
built into their
systems.
Whitepaper
page 6 | www.integratedvoicesolutions.com
newer technologies and services arise, enterprises are now able to
incorporate them at will. Adoption drives technology forward.
An IVR solution implemented using VXML enables automated
telephone services to embrace new technology and market trends
at the pace of corporate needs and not that of an IVR vendor.
High Support Fees
Older IVR platforms typically connect to IT systems that have become
non-existent or have seen very limited market share in the last few
years. Enterprises have continued to pay vendors for support of these
unused interfaces, which is a primary reason for the significant cost 
differences between proprietary IVR systems and newer open standards.
Because they utilize existing web architectures, open-standard
IVR systems do not carry the connectivity to older IT infrastructures
and therefore, the cost of support and maintenance is
significantly lower.  Oftentimes, the investment in moving from 
a legacy platform can be recouped in less than two years.

Are You Migration-Ready?
Many considerations contribute to the decision
to migrate IVR technology.
Hosted Solutions vs. On-Premise and
Hybrid
Moving IVR technology to a hosted solution involves several types of fees.
These include one-time step-up charges, per-minute fees, transfer fees,
and monthly fees. Some hosting providers charge a different per-minute
rate for DTMF versus voice recognition applications. Additional fees may
be charged for each additional language supported in the application.
When enterprise applications generate “spikey traffic,” such as 
during product recalls, outbound notifications, ticket sales, or alerts, 
hosting is an ideal option. The provider’s additional port capacity
can soak up peaks in activity and cost is only incurred as surges
occur, eliminating the need to provision for the “busy hour.”
Oftentimes, the
investment in
moving from a
legacy platform
to an open-
standard IVR
can be recouped
in less than
two years.
Considerations When Migrating Legacy IVR Applications
www.integratedvoicesolutions.com | page 7
A cornerstone of the decision-making process for hosted versus on-
premise is the move from a Capital Expenditure Model (CapEx)
to an Operational Expenditure (OpEx) model. In moving IVR to
a hosted model, the need to invest in expensive hardware and
software licenses is eliminated. Those costs can then be amortized
on the vendor’s books, not the enterprise’s.  Some enterprises find it 
makes more sense for expenses to fall under OpEx, as hosting is an
accepted financial model.  Specifically for speech applications, many 
enterprises do not have the necessary internal expertise for tuning
and support, making the hosted model the more attractive option.
Hosting also allows companies to manage large incremental growth
(for example, due to acquisitions and mergers). The OpEx model
allows companies to contain costs while maintaining focus on their
core business rather than on keeping IVR systems operational.
It is also important to consider how data interactions
may change by moving to a hosted model. Data
interaction timing needs to be considered as well.
Hosted models typically include a Service Level Agreement, provided
by the vendor.  As such, application modifications made by an 
organization may require approval from the vendor prior to rollout.
Some suppliers also offer a hybrid model. This enables
deployment of an on-premise system under a hosted payment
model. The vendor’s cloud-based services can also be utilized
for handling peaks in traffic.  By combining hosted and on-
premise solutions, the hybrid model allows businesses to take
advantage of the positive aspects of both deployment models.
TDM vs. VoIP
Many customers have made the move to VoIP in order to
reduce carrier costs and provide better data access over
telephony channels. These changes involve the PBX, if on-
premise, and can require the use of a gateway if the path of
VoIP all the way from the PBX to the IVR system does not exist.
A cornerstone
of the decision-
making process
for hosted
versus on-
premise is the
move from
a Capital
Expenditure
Model
(CapEx) to an
Operational
Expenditure
(OpEx) model.
Whitepaper
page 8 | www.integratedvoicesolutions.com
Adding VoIP infrastructure may involve VoIP licenses for the
IVR and telephony switch, as well as other considerations:
• 
Will VoIP cut cost?
• 
Will the current phones work on VoIP?
• 
Will there be any Quality of Service issues in the current environment?
• 
Will any new networking or telephony equipment need to be
purchased?
• 
Will the existing carrier support VoIP?
Vendor Choice
The choice to move to another platform supplied by
the current vendor involves many elements.
• 
Are open standards offered by the current provider?
• 
Is IVR technology a core business for the current vendor?
• 
Does the current vendor’s new platform implement a proprietary
runtime (another lock-in)?
• 
How involved is the vendor in the W3C, VXML, and CCXML forums?
• 
Does the vendor’s new platform fully comply with these standards?
• 
What is the corporate direction and financial stability of the vendor? 
• 
Does the proposition make financial sense?
• 
Can payment for the migration project be recouped through savings
in maintenance fees?
• 
What type of reporting does each provider have?
• 
Can reporting and analytics leap forward by moving to the new
platform?
• 
What type of training is needed for each platform and what is the
cost?
• 
What is offered as part of a “package” migration?
• 
What models are available from the vendor: on-premise, hosted, or a
combination of both?
Data
As discussed, existing IVR systems continue to connect with
outdated systems. This is usually due to inertia, rather than a
lack of better alternatives. When many IVR systems were initially
deployed, the only way to retrieve data from a mainframe was a
Legacy IVR
systems
continue to
connect with
outdated
systems. This
is usually due
to inertia,
rather than a
lack of better
alternatives.
Considerations When Migrating Legacy IVR Applications
www.integratedvoicesolutions.com | page 9
screen scraping solution. Today, SOAP/Web Services is a widely
deployed alternative used by many corporate systems.
Therefore, an evaluation of all interconnectivity within the existing
IVR is required. The goal should be to implement modern-day
alternatives for older interfaces that are not inherently supported
within web architecture. Host Mainframe Access through
screen scraping is a primary example. However, businesses
should also consider replacing DLL and COM interfaces.
Operating system command line processes need to be
checked during a migration as well. These may need to be
modified or replaced in order to operate with a new operating 
system or within web architecture. Many third-party systems
provide means for interacting within web architecture.
Reporting & Analytics
When it comes to reporting and analytics functions,
many variables need to be addressed.
• 
Is the reporting in real-time, and on what channels (phone, mobile,
SMS, or web)?
• 
Can reports be accessed by a business intelligence software package
such as MicroStrategy, Cognos, or BusinessObjects?
• 
How many “out of the box” reports are available?
• 
Can data be imported to an existing database?
• 
Is customization of reports available?
• 
Can new reports be created?
• 
Does the platform supply a means of personalization based on
analytics?
The Case for Application
Conversion
Applications written in VXML can be moved between open standards
platforms with minimal re-work. Applications running on legacy IVR
systems are written in a proprietary language and can only be run on
that dedicated system. Until recently, the only method available for
moving applications to a new platform was to re-develop from scratch.
The goal should
be to implement
modern-day
alternatives for
older interfaces
that are not
inherently
supported
within web
architecture.
Whitepaper
page 10 | www.integratedvoicesolutions.com
Specification
A challenge facing many enterprises is the specification of a new 
IVR application. Applications were usually deployed against a set
of requirements defined for the “new system,” yet rarely are projects 
deployed exactly as they were designed.  Code modifications are 
inevitable. Functions are added or removed as business needs
change, or as back-end services are modified.  All of this usually 
happened before the system had even taken a live call.
Another challenge facing enterprises is ensuring that
documentation keeps pace with these changes. Rigorous
project methodologies are required so that:
• 
Changes to the business requirements (and as a result of the features
and functions of the application) are managed through a change
control process.
• 
Any incidental changes that occur during development and
implementation are passed back through that change control.
The first point is usually easy to manage and control.  However, when 
project timelines and budgets are under pressure, it is typical for
deployed applications to differ, sometimes substantially, from the original
requirements; or that features do not operate as intended or required.
Upon entry into a project involving the migration of applications
to a new platform, the first step should be to verify that the existing 
design documentation is correct. If this has not been kept up to date,
then a complete review and re-documentation of the production
applications is required. This can be costly and time consuming.
When not completed properly, a manual re-development project will
deliver different code from that which currently exists in production.
When using an automated migration tool, this verification is 
not a requirement. The live code is the basis for the translation
and therefore, the final result will be an exact match for the 
application that is currently in service. Business logic and
procedures are then completely preserved and protected.
Risk of Disruption
In a manual re-development project, there is a much higher
risk of disruption to a business. A manual re-development
Business logic
and procedures
are completely
preserved and
protected.
Considerations When Migrating Legacy IVR Applications
www.integratedvoicesolutions.com | page 11
entails changing 100% of the code in place, since the
applications are created from a clean sheet.
There is a much lower risk in migrating than rewriting. While rewriting
requires changing 100% of the code, automated application
conversion entails manually changing only between 10% and
20%. The risk of disruption is therefore 5 to 10 times lower.
In practice, risk is reduced even further as the elements that
must be coded by hand are predominantly data access
components and speech engine grammars. While these modules
are critical to the operation of an application, the success of
their migration is binary.  They either fulfill their function or they 
don’t. If they are not migrated correctly, their non-operation will
cause a failure rather than a change in feature or function.
Also, since an automated migration versus a re-development
effort takes far less time, enterprises experience significantly 
less disruption. A typical automated migration project saves
between 75% and 85% time versus a same-effort re-development
project. This statistic becomes very important for companies that
have technology freezes for holiday rushes or other reasons.
Timescales
Enterprises are continually under pressure to deliver technology
projects quickly in order to meet business and customer objectives.
Manual re-development of applications is entirely resource-
dependent, and even with the largest projects, there is a limit to how
many developers can be used to shorten a project’s timeline.
An automated project does not need application documentation
or specification; this alone saves considerable time and cost.  Using 
automation, code can be converted to the new platform in the time
that it would take to re-document the applications in preparation for
a manual re-development project. The entire migration can typically
be delivered in 25% of the time that it would take to manually re-
develop existing applications.  This provides significant gains in allowing 
corporations to address the requirement to move away from existing
end-of-life IVR platforms and to new open standards-based platforms.
Using
automation,
code can be
converted to the
new platform
in the time that
it would take
to re-document
the applications
in preparation
for a manual
re-development
project, saving
time and cost.
Whitepaper
page 12 | www.integratedvoicesolutions.com
About Arca+
Arca+ is a powerful translation medium for IVR applications. Because
it separates the application from the platform that the application runs
on, applications are future-proofed and do not have to be recreated
every time technology advances occur and platforms reach end-of-life.
Through powerful Function Point Analysis (FPA) processing,
Arca+ determines exactly how much of the application will be
migrated automatically to the new platform. Arca+ knows what
it cannot process, and delivers a complete list of the work that
needs to be completed manually. This serves as an accurate
benchmark for a project completion schedule. The output
of the FPA process also yields a cost analysis of manual re-
development project versus automated migration using Arca+.
The Arca+ design tool is an Eclipse-based rich client plug-in that
suits both administrator and developer needs. The tool allows rapid
application design by minimizing the clicking and typing transitions
found in most IVR design tools.  The workflow diagrams serve two 
purposes: Providing design-time documentation and establishing the
runtime workflow. This also removes the typical over-the-wall handoff 
when the project moves from the design to the development stage.
Arca+ Features:
• 
Arca+ imports proprietary application code from legacy IVR platforms
and exports source code for the next platform.
• 
Arca+ is the first tool that delivers a high automation rate for 
converting proprietary IVR applications to open standards.
• 
Different technology-specific channel adaptors are deployed 
according to the browser, platform or gateway that acts as the
conduit to the outside world.
• 
The abstraction of the business logic from both the channel and the
interaction platform provides Arca+ with total independence from
proprietary IVR languages.
• 
Import adaptors allow existing proprietary IVR applications to be
imported into the Arca+ design environment.
• 
No license or annual support costs are associated with an Arca+
conversion. The cost is based on the effort necessary to redevelop
applications from scratch and the savings incurred by using Arca+.
Arca+ is a
powerful
translation
medium
for IVR
applications.
Because it
separates the
application
from the
platform that
the application
runs on,
applications
are future-
proofed and do
not have to be
recreated every
time technology
advances
occur and
platforms reach
end-of-life.
Considerations When Migrating Legacy IVR Applications
www.integratedvoicesolutions.com | page 13
Using Arca+ to De-Risk Change
Utilization of Arca+ from Arca Software provides enterprises
with a risk-free approach in moving from aged proprietary
IVR systems to new open standards-based IVR solutions.
Automated Migration using Arca+ ensures that:
• 
Applications are converted one-for-one.
• 
All existing features of the legacy application are included.
• 
The need for redesign and re-documentation is eliminated.
• 
The project is completed for at least 50% of the cost of a manual re-
development.
• 
The project is completed in at least 25% of the time of a manual re-
development.
Using Arca+ to migrate to new technology can cut significant cost.  
These cost savings may be put to work for your organization by adding
new automation channels, new application features, personalization,
additional reporting/analytics, social media, or location-based services.
About Integrated Voice Solutions
Integrated Voice Solutions (IVS), a Boston-based company, was
founded in 2004 with the goal of coupling a world-class professional
services team with a belief that through the acceptance of open
standards, clients can maintain technology on their own terms. IVS
has core experience in data access methods, application design and
development, and multi- channel implementations. To learn more
about IVS please visit us at
http://www.integratedvoicesolutions.com
.
IVS offers a free, no obligation
migration cost analysis. Please
contact us today to get started!
Contact Information
Lyndell Gibson, VP of Business Development
Integrated Voice Solutions
sales@integratedvoicesolutions.com
(p) 781-853-0400
Using Arca+,
you can
migrate from
legacy end-of-
life platforms
at 50% of the
cost and in
25% of the
time of a new
development
project.
Copyright © 2012 Integrated Voice Solutions. All rights reserved.
www.integratedvoicesolutions.com | 781-853-0400
Integrated
Voice
Solutions