Infosys experts share their views on how digital is significantly impacting enterprises and consumers by redefining experiences, simplifying processes and pushing collaborative innovation to new levels

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October 30, 2015

Challenges of Data Migration in Green Field Package implementations - II

Having discussed about the data migration challenges and how they are associated with the statements of the project initiative, we will now see how these challenges can be dealt. Let me start with a disclaimer here that, there is no defined set of processes/steps to address these kind of challenges. It does not mean the end of road as well. Here we might have to follow some of the below mentioned points at proper intervals which helps to address these challenges in a major way.
1. Calling out the challenges/pain points loud and clear. 
2. Best practices suggest towards the first step of registering these pain points as part of Risk/Issue register.
3. Next comes the stage of communicating these pain points to the stake holders: 
These can be achieved by including the registered 'Risk/Issues' in the WSR (Weekly Status Reports) on a regular basis. 
4. If we still continue to feel that the situation at ground has not improved. It is worth enough to take up to the next level of discussion in 'Project Status Review' meeting with key stake holders of the project. 

I am sure most of us would be feeling that it is easier said than getting them done. I have personally had some embarrassing or bemusing experiences on the very first review meeting with Stakeholders. In spite of presenting the pain points/road blocks to the stake holders in the 'Project Status Review 'meetings, it might have not got registered with the key stakeholder as pain points or road blocks. Still the stakeholders/business would be left with that lurching question mark on their faces, so what is the problem? It might have not got registered with stake holders for the first time, but I am sure that on repeated highlights (may be the second or third time) it does get registered.

Even as more clients across industries embark on their journey of IT transformation projects still it is a hard fact that many of them pay less importance to the data migration activity, which can certainly have a big say on the success of the project. Generic stand cannot be taken for Data Migration activity. After some experiences in this kind of engagements believe one should start including an activity for due diligence to assess the criticality of 'Data Migration' as part of the best practices for Green Field Implementations. There is a need to understand the existing environment of the legacy system to assess the criticality of data migration and start considering these points in its full context. So that the challenges mentioned can be collectively viewed as some sort of check list even before we start the Data conversion activities. Rather than to wait for these points to get addressed in the course of the project execution. The challenges covered in the discussion are not the comprehensive list, but are some specific ones based out of some experience in this kind of engagement, which if addressed holistically can make the road for Data Migration less bumpy.

October 27, 2015

Challenges of Data Migration in Green Field Package implementations - I.

Talk about an IT transformation project and you invite a slew of skeptic's right there. Technology/Product choice, implementation duration, efficacy of new processes, change management, quality of implementation, Data quality issues and the list goes on. I have had some discussions in the past with customers and implementation experts and they all echo the same feeling. The Data Quality issues and concerns around it has been one of the interesting debate topic I have had and this has led me to look deeper into it and understand what this fuss is all about. Based on my individual experience, I have discovered some interesting fact about such concern, in particular the issues related to 'Bad data' and its effect on the entire implementation. I hope everyone will be able to relate to some portion of it.

In my opinion Data Migration is a key driver for good or bad data. Data migration as an activity transforms the legacy system data to the format of the target (TO-BE) system.The complexities involved in such an exercise are many, right from understanding the source system to coming up with mapping/transformation logic to data cleansing identification to transforming & loading the data set, you name it and you have an obstacle waiting for you at each of the stages. Adding to the list of complexities are scenarios where the access to their own organizational data is at the mercy of a Third party software vendor. Now this situation sets up a huge hurdle in front,also makes the system environment as 'Complex' for migration.

In this blog we will discuss about this kind of hurdle and set of challenges that it brings along with it and how these challenges can be tied to the basic statements of Project initiative. In the next part, we will see ways to address these challenges and how to avoid them in any of the green field implementations in future.

1.) Ever imagined the suffocating feeling of not being able to access the legacy system to understand the AS-IS state and Source system data model,well there are valid scenarios where one could experience this.
2.) Receiving large number of source data in varied nonstandard formats from third party software vendor.
3.) Poor quality of artifacts received from the Third party software vendor hampering the Source Data analysis.
4.) Invisible Legacy system IT team.

Though challenges seems daunting,the solution to address these are not so. Now let's see how they can be tied up to the project initiative.

During project life-cycle at various stages,it is absolutely necessary that the required access to client's resources is available for an effective understanding about the legacy system.The resources can be anything from Legacy IT Systems,IT Team of Legacy systems. Having legacy system team/process experts has some of the below mentioned advantages for the project:

 Act as SME from the client side to review the TO-BE process and its Data model for a formal Sign-off.
 Act as a bridge between the Client's Third party software Vendor and IT System's integrator for understanding and clarifying the existing business process and data models.

Point 4 mentioned in the challenges section can be associated to the statement "Involvement of all stakeholders from the beginning of the project", which is typically the first statement in any Project initiatives.

Need to ensure that the Third party software vendor is informed about the real need of the client to 'Replace the legacy system' right from the beginning of the project. Now this can be an important point, as it may involve significant efforts in terms of negotiations for getting the contract/s signed with the Third party software vendor in agreement to supply the data. Improper communication can affect the time period by which the contracts and negotiations to supply the data starts. Now this has a direct implication in the overall duration of data migration track.

The points 1,2 & 3 mentioned in the challenges section can be associated to the statement "Communicating the project details and expectation clearly to all the stakeholders in the beginning of the project". Early efforts spent on bringing some of the above mentioned key resources on board for the Project and getting the pre-requisite contracts signed, if any will have a significant positive impact on the quality of deliverable and the project duration. 

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