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In the natural world we understand migration to be the physical movement of a certain species from one area to another. Often based upon seasonality, the need for gene pool diversity or (as in us humans) even cultural factors, migration is an everyday part of life.
In information technology, migration is just as prevalent an issue, but its motivation usually comes about for very different factors — and it’s usually a end-to-end journey that essentially drives us forward, if we do it right.
The stimuli for IT migration arises from any firm’s need to move to new industry-wide platform changes (cloud computing and ubiquitous mobility would be good examples), but also from new competitive advantages which can be realised through new software applications (Customer Relationship Management and Enterprise Resource Planning tools would be good examples).
But unplanned migration without a strategic process and set of goals is dangerous, in every sense — for animals, humans and in hardware and software alike. The truth is, IT transformation is a complex process that needs trained professionals often supported where possible using guidance from dedicated consulting services.
The baseline function all firms should be looking for here when they chose a migration specialist is end-to-end management as a core competency. Migration support services for hardware and software must extend from the first second of requirements gathering – right through implementation and deployment – and onward to quality assurance, testing, tuning and updates. This breadth of scope is essential to our definition of end-to-end when we talk about technology migration.
Further to this core caveat is the time curve factor.
Migration in the animal kingdom might typically happen once a year based upon the seasons of the Earth. Migration in the technology kingdom has similarly defined ‘time curve’, but it spans over three years instead. The process of migration and refreshing a firm’s IT infrastructure within defined three-year cycles helps ensure that we can always drive down the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and maximize efficiency.
So what are the implications thrown up by a typical enterprise tech migration project and what factors do we need to consider?
As noted in our first bullet above, migration must at all costs avoid the nightmare of rip and replace where inefficiencies prevail and data hemorrhage is inevitable. Like the birds that do it right every year, only fly south when you know where you are going.