Technology and fashion really aren’t so different: in both, yesterday’s cutting-edge item is today’s out-of-date discard.
No matter how thoughtfully an organization plans its software development, eventually every system driving the business functions will be rendered obsolete, through evolving business needs or new innovations that make the technology outdated. For example, future IOT technologies may not be compatible with today’s system, or new innovations in software engineering may require a software integration to support functionalities served by new custom app development.
While your organization likely doesn’t need an entire overhaul every season, changes like migration and integration are inevitable. Massive technology transformations do come with risks; however, careful planning and proper support can make the transformation much smoother – just like a personal shopper can help overhaul a dated wardrobe.
Why Employ Software Migration?
Migrating an app, software, or program is generally a massive undertaking (we’ll get into the challenges to plan for later on), but organizations are often willing to take on the challenge for several reasons:
1. Get virtual. Migration can enable companies to virtualize their software, or in other words, host the programs in their own, separate environments outside of any one specific operation system. This can enable organizations to update their technology, for instance, by migrating a team used outdates PCs to the latest Macs. A migration ensure their Adobe CC works across both devices.
2. Jump to a new cloud. A migration allows an organization to move from Amazon Web Services (WS) to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) – even though both environments are vastly different.
3. Stay current and stay compliant. To update Employee Resource Planning (ERP) software with technology developments and remain compliant. This software is intertwined with myriad functions within an organization, automating functions including HR, product planning, sales, and marketing. Given its impact to many critical business functions, this isn’t a light undertaking – but well worth it to update with the latest technology and ensure current compliance.
4. Switching servers. Database migrations enable organizations to change the physical location of their data, adjust the type and format of data, or switch database providers. Businesses undergo database migration when a server needs an upgrade or replaces, a data center needs to move, or a website’s data assets need to be housed in one physical location.
5. Upgrade. While in their early stages, businesses may lean on template websites, as the business grows its likely they will look to migrate the content management system to a custom provider.
Pitfalls in Software Migration and Integration
Business leaders may feel tempted to skimp on the preparation and attention in a software migration product compared to a new software development project. But a migration project is equally critical, and business leaders should be sure to avoid these pitfalls:
1. Glossing over the requirements. Developing requirements should not be neglected in any software development project, including a migration or integration. The business is making the change for a reason, and now is the time to clearly outline what should happen with each function: optimize, eliminate, or copy.
2. Missing system knowledge. Unfortunately, this one is a little tricky, since business leaders can’t control whether or not the original engineers who developed the system have stayed with the organization, or how well they provided documentation.
However, they can be mindful that sometimes business requirements drive specific calculations in the source code. Invest the time to get it right, either by reverse-engineering the current system and rebuilding the knowledge (with proper documentation!) or creating new requirements from scratch.
3. Haphazard data migration. We’ve said this before, but we’ll say it again here: planning is paramount. Business leaders may even need to break out a separate plan just for the data migration, especially if the current system has been employed long enough to have accumulated substantial files and records. Planning should cover everything from location and format, size and structure, elements to migrate, mapping and the actual procedure.
4. Underestimating integration. Brace yourself: integration can be just as expensive as developing a new system, because it entrails everything from deploying the new system and migrating the data, training employees and championing the change and development a support and maintenance process for the new system, not to mention the process of actually shutting down the old system. Change is hard, even when it’s a change to a cutting-edge software.
5. Overlooking the business realities. While the IT professionals are busy making a migration and integration happen, the core business is still operational (or, it should be if the migration is planned properly). Business leaders need to align on when to deploy the new system, based on the workload and seasonality of the business. The release itself should have a system, along with the data migration, and shutdown of the old system.
And, remember that employees may be less than thrilled about the new change. A clear timeline and thorough training can help make the change smoother even for the change-averse.
Change can be hard. But that shouldn’t stop you from launching the migration or integration your business needs. Our experienced Genies are ready to help you from your first day planning through the day you shut down your old system – and everywhere along the way. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to start a conversation about your upcoming migration. Before you know it, your technology will be trend-setting.