Could Your Organisation Benefit from the Migration Factory Approach?

A migration factory method is something to consider if you’re currently engaging in or you anticipate several, comparable migrations in your organisation’s future. By Rex Ahlstrom, Syniti CTO, EVP Growth and Strategy.

  • 4 months ago Posted in

More enterprises are looking to take on data migration initiatives as a result of the ongoing trend of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures (MA&D), large-scale digital transformation, and the constant push to shift to the cloud. However, many are still battling a mishmash of old systems, hybrid cloud and on-premises deployments, siloed information, and dark data as they approach these migrations.

The concept of a repeatable process or template can be quite enticing for an enterprise with enormous volumes of data and systems that need to be consolidated or migrated to new applications. The same is true for businesses dealing with a number of MA&D activities. The idea of migration factories comes because of the difficulties these organisations encounter. Basically, this means developing a standard migration pattern that a business can use to harmonise and consolidate its data assets to fulfil the needs of its operating model and business process requirements.

How can you tell if this strategy is the best one for your business? There are several things to consider.

Migration factory defined

Imagine that you want to consolidate data from multiple installations of the same, well-known source, or you plan on acquiring multiple businesses that ultimately need to conform to your standard business processes and system. Every time you migrate, you don't want to start from scratch; that would be too expensive and wouldn't capitalise on the migration content and lessons learned from your previous migrations.

In order for each migration to follow a common pattern with the least amount of customisation feasible, a migration factory needs to focus on using repeatable processes and standard software tooling for team execution. As a result, the team is better equipped to deliver consistent results when faced with simple or complex migrations, often under tight deadlines.

The capacity to involve both business process owners and technical staff throughout the process is another crucial component of a migration factory. Data ownership cannot be just the responsibility of the technical team, but frequently the tools at hand only cater to the requirements of people with technical expertise. A migration factory needs a mix of technical, business process and business unit owners with respect to the data ownership and team structures.

Another use case for a migration factory is when a service provider wants to sell an outsourced service for quick conversion of specific source and target systems. An example would be the need to switch from a legacy on-premises ERP system to the software vendor’s most recent cloud-based solution. Both the customer and the ERP software vendor benefit from the quicker and more cost-effective conversion to modern software offerings.

Are you a candidate for the migration factory approach?

Because they’re used in circumstances where there’s a standardised target system or source/target systems, migration factories are known as such because they handle repetitive, rote forms of migrations. However, a migration factory may still be a good option if there is more variability in source/target, but the level of automation will be restricted to common tools and methodology. When you have a defined template for the systems involved and the data models necessary to support appropriate business process execution, you can automate to the fullest degree possible.

So then, how do you choose the best strategy? Begin by examining specific processes, including MA&D. Establishing a migration factory could be highly beneficial if you know that your organisation will be constantly changing due to MA&D.

A migration factory may also be the best option for cutting the length of multi-year deployments if you are dealing with large-scale system consolidation. Work with your global system integrator to establish operational structures, roles and responsibility as part of the migration factory process if you intend to outsource or deliver this in conjunction with them.

The uniformity of the tools and methodology—having pre-built material or templates, project plans, regulations, or mappings—is the foundation of this strategy. The more of this uniformity there is, even when working with different systems, the more you can automate through a migration factory.

Building the migration factory that best serves your business

Methodology is pivotal. You won't be able to attain a high level of repeatability or automation if there isn't a consistent methodology from the start. This is true even if you use a common set of tools or even a common set of templates. The tools you employ comprise a second pivotal element. There is a chance that the methodology won't be followed if it isn't incorporated into how the tool is made and you need to depend on the individual to adopt it. You'll also need professionals trained on the methodology and understand the business needs, as well as the technical requirements of the systems involved.

To get the process to the point where it runs smoothly, you'll also need to undertake continuous improvement. Every subsequent migration you perform using a migration factory technique should get better because this is an agile process. You should concentrate on enhancing the process, the standards and the content you use to accomplish the result. Therefore, as you perform additional migrations, your process will improve, and you’ll be honing it until it does run smoothly.

Stakeholders must participate in the change management process. The business must be a key participant in authorising changes to the migration factory if there are changes to essential business processes or if a change in business goals leads to new requirements. Knowing how data directly affects the business ensures that the “factory” can adjust quickly.

Improving the migration process

Having a fully developed, templated process in place can save a significant amount of time and resources if you plan to carry out several migrations with similar requirements. The advantage of a migration factory is that it consists of teams, tools and processes that cooperate to systematically streamline migrations. A migration factory method is something to think about if you’re currently engaging in or you anticipate several, comparable migrations in your organisation’s future. Use the best practices mentioned above to develop a strategy that will save your business time and money while easing the IT team’s burden.

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