Want a successful data migration? Plan your retirement early

It is easy to think of data migration as a project where the goal is to migrate data but you would be wrong. The ultimate goal of most data migration projects is to switch off legacy systems.

“But the goal should be to enable the target system to function correctly” I hear you cry.

Yes, it is obviously critical to achieve that but the true goal is to release all of the operational and capital waste that your legacy environment is burning up.

Sadly, many data migration projects serve to act only as an integration channel. Data is pushed to the target and then synced with the legacy but those old systems refuse to pass on and they continue in operation for years to come as stakeholders fear the loss of their careers should final decommissioning ever happen.

How can you turn this situation around?

Well, it’s quite easy and simply requires some effective communication far earlier in the project than is typically witnessed.

Instead of waiting to the end of the project to enquire as to when decommissioning can take place you just front-end the project with the premise that systems will be shut down on a specific date. You then ask stakeholders to sign up to that date and ask what pre-conditions they would like to see signed off to make that a reality.

This subtly shifts the focus from a technical to a business focused project. Now the business owners have to take accountability and work much tighter with their technology counterparts.

By telling stakeholders that their systems WILL be shut down it makes things tangible. Publishing a decommissioning date backs up your intent and jolts the business and IT stakeholders into taking command and finding out exactly what they need to be certain that the target environment has satisfied their needs.

All too often a fallback or parallel run strategy can be used as a crutch to keep the old environment along for the ride, burning up utility, infrastructure, licensing and labor costs.

Don’t let your next data migration fall into the same trap. Jolt those stakeholders off the sidelines and get their skin in the game, you’re data migration project will progress far smoothly as a result.