Tips to plan, move, and manage your transformationJanuary 21, 2017
At Binary Tree, we’ve helped enterprises transform for more than two decades. So we know that moving your data is only part of the effort. There’s also an upfront planning phase and an overall management effort that are often similar if not larger in scope than the move itself. Here are some key things to consider at each phase to make sure you don’t overrun your schedule, lose data, or disrupt your users.
PLAN YOUR PROJECT
Planning can make or break your migration. Lack of planning is one of the main reasons why most migrations overrun their schedule and budget. Here’s how you can beat the odds and deliver a successful, efficient migration:
Choose the right method. Migrations aren’t one size fit all. So you’ll need to choose a tool or service that’s flexible enough to adapt to your scenario. Maybe you decide to migrate yourself, either manually or with an automated tool. Or maybe you bring in a partner like Binary Tree to take care of your migration from end-to-end. Either way, we’re happy to talk with you about how migration software and services from Binary Tree can help.
Assess your environment. Before you get started, it’s best to do a thorough assessment of your current environment. This gives you a detailed inventory of what you want to migrate—and what you don’t. Plus, you can find and fix any issues with your systems that might slow or stall your migration or impact your users. A proactive assessment often saves 2-4 times the cost of fixing issues later.
Plan every facet of your move. Here, you should answer questions like:
- Can you migrate everyone at once? Or do you need to schedule batches?
- How long will it take to migrate?
- Do you need to do a dry run or pilot?
- How will you roll back if there are any issues midstream?
- Do you need to keep separate systems in sync while you migrate?
- How will you communicate with users about the move? Do they need an option to reschedule their move time?
- How will you migrate remote users?
- Will your data stay secure?
MIGRATE AUTOMATICALLY AND SECURELY
Depending on the size of your move, this phase could take weeks or even months. You can make your move as efficient as possible by doing these things:
Set up coexistence. When you move to a new tool, you often can’t make the switch overnight. It can take weeks or months to get everyone on the same platform. So while you migrate, you can coexist two platforms to keep your users collaborating smoothly.
Do a dry run or pilot. For large, complex environments, you might want to do a dry run or even a pilot to make sure everything will migrate as you expect.
Communicate about the migration. IT teams can waste valuable time keeping everyone in the loop about the migration status. So it’s best to choose a migration tool that automates this communication. For example, Exchange Pro from Binary Tree includes an online portal where users can see their migration time, sign up for notifications, and even choose another date.
Train and support IT. Because migrations tend to happen infrequently, it’s unlikely anyone on your staff can remain an expert. So you might want to engage a migration expert to come in and help you set up, configure, and test your migration environment. Or you might want someone to consult with throughout the migration as issues come up.
Automate and customize. Reduce the risk of human error by automating your move. And since no two migrations are alike, you need an automated tool that’s also flexible enough to adapt to the complexity and idiosyncrasies of your systems.
Schedule batches. For migrations with 2,500+ users, you need a predictable schedule with manageable groups of users that move over time. The tool should let you easily set up migration groups and even blackout windows. And it should accurately forecast how long each batch will take.
Keep your data secure. Security is a hot topic when it comes to migrations, especially in heavily regulated industries like healthcare, government, and finance. Unfortunately, many free and third-party tools to migrate use legacy protocols, which pose a huge security risk .
Deliver a positive user experience. Even one hour of downtime can rack up a hefty cost to the business. So as you migrate some users to a new platform, they still need to collaborate smoothly with their peers on a legacy platform.
Report on your status. Your migration software should give you automated reports with up-to-the-minute views of the migration status. For example, Binary Tree’s built-in charts and graphs let you quickly see completed and upcoming jobs.
Get technical help. Even with all your planning, it’s likely something unexpected might pop up. Or maybe your migration ends up being more challenging than it looked from the get-go. If that happens, you could likely benefit from a second pair of eyes. Consider engaging a trusted partner who can be on call to make sure your migration goes as smoothly as possible.
Consider migration as a service. You don’t have to do it yourself. Engage a trusted, experienced partner like Binary Tree. This lets you stay focused on your core business while migration experts handle your transformation from end to end.
MANAGE THE PROJECT
This overarching phase is where you manage the project from end-to-end, including what comes after. Here are some things to consider for this phase:
Fix any technical hiccups. Issues are likely to crop up here and there after the migration. Your migration software should have real-time data and analytics to help you spot any snags. And you can also engage a migration expert to quickly find and fix issues. This frees up your IT staff to focus on other tasks.
Answer user questions. Your users will likely have questions about the new software. But basic asks about new features can quickly overwhelm your help desk. To free up your IT team, Binary Tree offers an on-demand help desk that can field technical questions about 120 applications.
Train users on the new tool. You’ve just rolled out a shiny new tool. Now, you want to help your teams get the most of it. Studies show that people tend to rely on familiar, basic approaches that might not be as efficient. To help get your users up to speed faster, Binary Tree offers on-demand advisors, self-help resources like videos and how-to’s, and instructor-led training.
Keep integration working smoothly. Sometimes, you might need to coexist two tools for a while, even after an initial migration. Over time, tweaks to related systems can slow or even stop your integration. To make sure that it keeps performing at its best, Binary Tree offers periodic health checks to find and fix any issues before they disrupt your users.
Navigating these three phases to a successful transformation is no small feat. So if you’re like many organizations, you might need a bit of help. Binary Tree is standing by to help with all or some of your transformation. Our spectrum of software and services is customizable and flexible enough to handle even the most complex scenarios. Contact us to get started.