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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. 


Very well written blog

Nice read Siva, you have touched upon an area( vendor managed data) which could put SIs into fix sometimes, I completely hear you and I am optimistic that the solutions provided by you will work through the path.

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