A migration project is no reason to panic

Jun 19, 2019 | by Antje Dwehus

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Hardly any other sector is developing as fast as the IT market. However, during the constant change and the rapid spawning of new technologies, systems and business models, creating excitement about cost savings and new possibilities  can cause a serious headache and nervous heart trembling for some. Apparently, the good old wisdom “Never change a running system” does not fit into the spirit of our times anymore. But let’s be honest, there is some truth in it, as change may open up new opportunities but also often bears a whole lot of risks.

Who ensures that all of the data gets transferred correctly and completely, so everybody is happy after a platform change? Are you responsible? If yes, believe us, we know that this is a hell of a responsibility and it is totally understandable that first signs of panic may arise. But, hey, don’t let it get big! Take care of your heart; luckily stress can be minimized and anxiety can be avoided in migration projects.

Almost 15 years ago we at fme were in a similar situation. After the first and sometimes turbulent manual migrations the idea of developing migration-center came up, so that future migrations would be carried out in a heart-friendly, stressless way. Since then we have developed procedures and best practices in thousands of migration projects, which has lead to successful migrations of all kinds in a proven and controlled manner.

Break down a big migration into manageable waves

A huge migration can appear overwhelming at the beginning. So divide the monster into smaller pieces and start out with tiny baby steps, which are not scary at all. The break down into manageable waves is a common and good approach in migration projects. Here is an example based on a large eRoom installation with more than 1000 eRooms.

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eRoom classification

In the first step the eRooms are analyzed and classified. This can partly be done automatically – e. g. as per number of objects, users, last access date, used document types. But it is also necessary to consult all responsible eRoom coordinators.

The results of the analysis provide the base on which you can plan your waves. I start, if possible, with the simple migrations and get to the more complex ones during the project. Also, I prefer to have a small first wave. Why? Beause it is less stress! Once I feel confident with the processes and I have seen that everything works out as planned, I have a very optimistic feeling about bigger waves running through equally smoothly.

Effective communication reduces stress

My second piece of advice today is not to neglect project communication and instead focus on it especially in the beginning. Waves will also help you with this aspect. Let’s stay with the eRoom example. Reaching out to 1000 eRoom coordinators and attending to their responses, questions and concerns can be quite a time-consuming task – leaving you and your team snowed under without even having started the actual migration. Not to mention those who do answer your questions incompletely or do not reply at all. Usually, they create even more workload.

Therefore, plan your communication strategy along with the technical tasks. For example, plan and schedule information events, messages in the company portal, quick guides and mailings as part of the project. Provide a sufficient amount of contact persons for the business departments, otherwise all requests will land on your table eventually.

Make sure that the mapping specification is finalized and agreed upon (for more details see my blogpost).
Have important information accessible at a central space, so each department stays informed about the status of the project, contact persons and when its data will be migrated.

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Simplified example of a wave-based migration overview

It’s the combination: software + project expertise

Money can’t buy you a new heart, but it can buy you a stressless migration project. With the combined power of an excellent tool like migration-center and the process know-how of our migration services team, your project has the best setup possible and there is absolutely no reason to panic whatsoever.

Find out more about our service offerings or get in contact with us directly: info@migration-center.com