To migrate or not to migrate? Benefits and risks for enterprise migration

Enterprises are constantly searching for ways to improve their business, but sometimes these new opportunities can really affect a company, especially when it comes to the IT infrastructure and the migration of important applications and databases to a new environment. If implemented correctly, the migration process can have real benefits, advantages and rewards for the company, but it’s important not to ignore the risks associated with a migration.

When it’s best to consider migration

Our advice: don’t wait until you need to migrate! Some might suggest that a company should only consider migration at or near the end of its present system’s lifecycle, thereby getting the most out of current resources and postponing the costs and the issues of migration until absolutely necessary. But the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy can prove to be a dangerous practice for a business.

We believe that a smarter strategy is to migrate before you are forced to. By keeping up on current versions of software and applications, you are less likely to face issues of more demand than the current system can handle. Also, you stay ahead of the competition by ensuring that your user have the latest technology to support business needs.

There are also cost benefits. It’s been shown time and time again, that migrating to the most current versions of applications and software pays for itself. Companies find, the faster they migrate, the faster they grow.

What to worry about when considering migration

A migration may be driven by several factors: the need to refresh a company’s technology base; an acquisition or merger; the need to replace legacy software or hardware/software that’s no longer supported by the current vendor; or just the ongoing process of trying to consolidate the hundreds or thousands of servers purchased over time to solve a specific need.

Regardless of the reason why you’re migrating, here are some factors to consider:

  • Time management – Can I implement this process in a time frame that won’t disrupt the business, including the training and testing that must happen before the deployment? How will the migration take place, so that current business operations and application development aren’t disrupted?
  • Technical risk – Is the migration a straightforward process, or will it involve substantial redesign? How great are the differences between application APIs, data formats and development tools? Are there any tools available to help minimize complexity and risk?
  • Training – The new environment requires training for system administrators, application-development staff and any other employees involved in the process. How will that be done, and what’s the learning curve?
  • Cost and resources – Do I have the resources for this project? Can I afford the technical solution and the cost of training people, new maintenance schedules, potentially new software licensing agreements and the cost of any new infrastructure that may be required?
  • Operations – Finally, will it work? Will all my files be correctly transferred or will I lose valuable information? Will my clients, suppliers and business partners have to adapt the way they interact with the system? Here’s another interesting article that might help you with this matter: Migration Planning Mapping the File Landscape.

Benefits outweigh the risks

What we have to keep in mind is that the biggest risk in a migration process might be the risk of not doing the migration and running on old technology, hoping that nothing breaks. Migration is a business development opportunity and one of the best ways to gain a competitive edge.