When moving from one platform to another, many concerns come to bear for the company with the burden of migrating. This is something we have over two decades of experience with and have seen every possible problem occur and have learned the hard lessons experience teaches. It is important to consider 4 points when migrating and each takes a particular skill and plan for managing as seamlessly as possible.
In some way this is the most straightforward, but in others it is the easiest to fall short on. In almost every case, the data in the retiring system is it’s greatest asset, and getting all the data into the new system is the most important step. We have migrated from virtually every sort of system and have see it all. We have gone from VAX mainframe systems, Excel spreadsheets, web based applications with and without API’s and even migrated a client from typewriters and three part carbon forms.
Each legacy system has it’s own hurdles and it’s own techniques for overcoming them.
Maintaining business rules
If data is the most commonly migrated asset, business rules and logic are the most often missed. Weather it is a macro to age an invoice properly from an outgoing Excel spreadsheet or a stored procedure in a Oracle system, there are years of stored workflows and business rules in any system. Even paper has it’s inherent rules. Rules like “…the blue form goes in the file, but the green sheet is always used for inspections.”
These rules need to be discovered, documented and mirrored in a way that preserves the workflow that has helped your business succeed and flourish. Business look for a new solution because they’ve run into the limits of an old system. That doesn’t mean there isn’t wisdom in it, and we need to capture that wisdom.
A system is only as useful as the information it gives you. While this isn’t a hard and fast rule, it certainly reflects a kernel of truth. Management needs updated, customers need informed, staff needs information to do their work and it all has to be communicated to the teams doing each part of the work. All this happens because the data going into the system comes out again somewhere else. We understand this, and while paperless is a great goal, it isn;t the same as not having any output at all. Emailed updates, screen reports, text alerts and even printed reports all speak to the end goal of every system. While reports often get built last, they need discovered first. The old rule of Garbage in, garbage out is meant as a warning, well the inverse is a better guide for system design, If you want elegant insight out, you’ll only get it by planning for a mirrored elegant plan for the data to match.
If the best system in the world isn;t embraced and welcomed by the users, it’ll languish and rot.
All too often the IT world can be fairly accused of thinking of the users last. That is a image we strive every day to turn around. We consider the users from day one. We gather user stories to tell us what the end user needs to and wants to accomplish. We ask why the old system didn’t work, and even more importantly, why it did. And we build tools that users h find intuitive through years of working not only with IT and management, but end users.