When executing application modernization or application rationalization your focus is on supporting the business strategy by implementing systems that run critical business processes. And that is exactly where the focus should be.
The problem comes when there is a lack of focus on delivering trustworthy data for those business systems and processes. If you are consolidating enterprise applications or upgrading to new enterprise applications, the data needs to be migrated from System A to System B. This is virtually never a simple “cut & paste.” In fact, data migration projects can be fairly risky. Bloor Research has found in their latest study that 38% of these projects fail. Even worse, the Harvard Business Review reports that 17% of enterprise application projects go over budget by 200% and over schedule by 70%. There are many examples of this. The State of California has terminated their contract with their ERP vendor after spending $254 million. The U.S. Marine Corps has spent $1.1 billion on another ERP system, 10 times its original estimated cost.
So, how do you deliver the business value that your users demand? Here are four best practices to help you to deliver applications on-time and on-budget that meet the user’s needs for timely, authoritative data.
- Have an internal competence in data migration. This is a best practice identified by Bloor Research in their study on data migration. You can’t simply turn this project over to a third party. Only your staff truly knows your internal data. Another thing to consider is that your staff will also have to operate the new applications after go-live (see #4).
- Have a separate data migration team and budget. Bloor Research also recommends a separate budget and team. This is to ensure that there is a strong focus on data migration and quality and that it doesn’t become just a project detail in the larger application installation. Bloor found a very high likelihood of project failure if there is not a separate budget.
- Make sure that your business users are deeply involved. The Bloor survey found that by far the #1 success factor identified by their respondents was “Business engagement.” Unless the business side is deeply involved in requirements definition and providing business context there is a significant risk of misunderstandings that will result in a system that does not meet the needs of its users.
- Consider the new system go-live as the beginning, not the end. We have seen many organizations that view data migration as a “one-and-done” project where everybody packs up and goes home at the end of the project. An enterprise application is a living, breathing, system that needs continuing care and feeding. Once the application goes live, you will need to provide services such as: ongoing data quality management, synchronization with other operational systems, and synchronization with a master data management hub if you have one.
For more information:
Live Webinar with Philip Howard of Bloor Research. May 20, 2013. Successful Application Go-Lives: Best Practices for Application Data Migration
Application Data Migration Presentations at Informatica World 2013. We will have a Hands-On Lab and data migration presentations from Accenture and National Oilwell Varco.
Bloor White Paper: Best Practices for Data Migration
Informatica Solution Site: Data Migration Solution