"There is a time for departure, even when there's no certain place to go." – Tennessee Williams
Are you ready to migrate to the cloud but don't know where to start? Then you've come to the right place. This article will discuss five tips to improve technology migrations based on years of experience working with clients to deliver modern analytics solutions.
Tip #1: Know why you are migrating. (Make sure everyone else knows, too!)
Tech migrations usually don't happen for the sake of migrating, so why have you decided to do it?
- Have you been charged with lowering operating costs?
- Do you need to increase analysis speed?
- Are you required to meet new compliance standards for security?
Every organization is different, so for you – this migration might mean a strategic or cultural shift. Whatever the transition is, make sure you have organizational commitment that is communicated effectively.
As an example – in one recent BI modernization migration, the CEO included the technology implementation as part of a strategic initiative to improve operational efficiencies. In addition to the core project management team, an internal team of change ambassadors was selected to encourage and enhance communication throughout the project. An internal website kept track of the project status, key benefits, and FAQ about the migration in one place. Adding multiple communication channels to discuss 'the why' thoroughly and often contributed to the most successful software transition the mid-sized company ever had.
Tip #2: Conduct an audit of current assets.
Some organizations keep a current inventory of their tech assets and usage. These tools come in handy during a tech migration because you know what you have, who uses it, and how much it's used. It also organizes information that might be scattered across multiple documents and specifications, making it easier to meet current and future design and business requirements.
If you haven't done this before and are looking for a place to start, begin by creating conventional use cases. A use case is an analytical technique and connection point for business and technical users that captures user interactions with technology.
Documenting use cases involves:
- Identifying and describing a business process
- Defining the users or roles who use the technology
- Discussing preconditions, the basic flow, exception flows, and post-conditions that are true for each use case.
You can think of uses cases as a tool that allows you to ask questions that uncover gaps in understanding and requirements. The information gathered through this process are cornerstones that will feed into a data dictionary, entity-relationship diagrams, and flowcharts to account for and document other current assets.
Tip #3: Take advantage of the transition to improve.
Transitions, including tech migrations, present opportunities to improve business processes and outcomes. In Tip 2, we covered getting familiar with your current use cases and assets. Now, consider how you might improve them to best support the migration's purpose (Tip 1).
- Is it time to shift from transactional reporting to analytical insights?
- Do you need elastic scalability and superior latency compared to your current solution?
- Can you combine and parameterize assets to increase their value and reach?
Consider the big picture: which migration technique will best optimize the application to drive your business goals?
Tip #4: Have an inclusive design process.
A critical component of securing buy-in from stakeholders is: including them in the design process for your migration. Not only will you learn about how to improve business processes and outcomes directly (Tip 3), but you will also get to communicate further why the migration is happening (Tip 1) and confirm your current inventory of tech assets and usage (Tip 2).
Inclusive design creates better experiences for everyone. Microsoft's inclusive design toolkit and methodology is one place to start, which focuses on three guiding principles:
- Recognize exclusion
- Solve for one, extend to many
- Learn from diversity
Make sure to define the decision-making, quality assurance, and prioritization process along the way as you include others. Having owners assigned in advance to milestones and micro-projects reduces confusion and rework in the long run.
Tip #5: Start small.
Going big on commitment, communication, and project size doesn't mean you have to go big on out-of-the-gate deployment efforts. In fact, the best way to drive effective change is to start small and bring people along. Identify an initiative or a priority to tackle and start with that.
Get folks to see and understand the impact of a small win and how it affects your 'why' (Tip 1). Then keep going!
At BlueGranite, our "think big, but start small" philosophy helps our clients deliver value across organization early on. We start each engagement with a Discover Stage featuring a workshop to explore current technologies, review best practices and patterns, and translate key business use cases with stakeholders. We then validate what we have learned by building a pilot solution that yields tangible evidence of outcomes before moving into the Create and Realize Stages.
If you're about to go through a tech migration and want to work with an experienced partner, please let us know. We also offer free events to help you get started with Power BI, or you can read about some of our tech migration resources: