Why Migrations Don't Happen

7 reasons why you didn't migrate and some resources to help you succeed

Seven roadblocks keep organizations from migrating, says Scott Steinacher in "Why Are You Still Running Multiple Legacy Apps?" at our sister site, System iNetwork. More than half of the seven roadblocks on his list are caused by humans, not by technology.

“Thanks to mergers and acquisitions, heterogeneity has become an accepted norm in most data centers. But that's an unfortunate circumstance," Steinacher writes. Drawbacks to running multiple legacy apps include having to search for IT employees with broad skill sets, difficulties in financial reporting, and the lack of a unified view of the business for decision makers. Given those drawbacks, Steinacher asks, “Why then, do so many organizations still rely on redundant legacy systems?”

Here are four of the seven reasons he gives for migration failure. Two are caused by psychology—of IT pros, executives, and end users. One has to do with an ironic twist of technology that satisfies our desire for ease over effort, for short term over long term. And one has to do with a lack of business smarts on the part of IT management.

Integration Aids. In the short-term, integrating two systems is easier than mothballing one. Thanks to a new generation of middleware and popular file formats such as XML, sharing data has never been easier. A common web interface can be slapped onto multiple back-end applications, and electronic forms software can help make documents look alike, even if their content originates in different systems.

Risk Avoidance. Migrations force companies to change key processes, which can disrupt day-to-day operations. What's more, conversion errors or gaps in planning can have tremendous ramifications for your company, and your job. Few people look forward to flipping the switch on go-live day. In fact, most of us go out of our way to avoid failure, and that places countless conversion projects on the back burner.

Politics. Retiring a key legacy system is a sea change for the folks who built it and for those who use it. Migrations alter the pecking order in many organizations, and not just in the IT department. When coupled with our natural aversion to change, it's not surprising that politics leave many conversion projects languishing at the gate.

Lack of a Project Champion with CBA. Migrations require champions who understand the costs and benefits and can present a compelling case replete with comprehensive financial analysis. Many IT managers understand the benefits of consolidation so implicitly, I believe, that they don't bother performing formal cost benefit analyses.

Looking at the reason why something didn't work can be painful, but illuminating. To see more of Steinacher's reasons for migration failure, and to check whether they match your observations, click this URL: http://systeminetwork.com/article/why-are-you-still-running-multiple-legacy-apps.

And for illumination without the pain, here are three articles that can help you make a migration happen:

1. "Migrating to Office 2007," by Dan Holme
2. "Migrating to SQL Server 2008," by Michael Otey
3. "Migrating Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to a Different Server," by Alan Sugano
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