When considering conversion from one database platform, one software tool, one application architecture, or one philosophy of computing support to another, it is essential to have the services of experts. JCC prefers to call these operations "migrations" to indicate the care required. Few organizations can afford to ignore the current support while embracing a "conversion." JCC projects focus on "keeping the race car on the track while we change the tires ... and the motor!"
Sections in this discussion include:
- Pressures for Conversion
- Risks to Analyze
- Conversion or Migration?
- JCC Expertise and Resources
- Alternate Roles for JCC in Your Project
Pressures for Conversion
There are multiple reasons for conversion / migration projects:
- Opportunity to embrace new functionalities
- Current systems "broken" beyond cost effective repair
- Changes in business practices sufficient to invalidate the current support
- Decline in support for products currently in use
- Difficulty hiring due to current selection of products
- Company mergers or other restructuring
- Cocktail party discussions of what's "hot"
- You've already started and you don't know how to retreat
Being explicit about your reasons for starting a project is one of the first steps toward success.
Risks to Analyze
There are also multiple hazards in conversion projects. Although the hazards are diminished if the focus remains on migration and maintenance of the current support, it is important to analyze some fundamental questions. Contact JCC to discuss these questions.
- What does your current architecture/database/application accomplish?
- Can you afford any interruption in your current support?
- How long can you wait for the new functionality?
- What must be added to the functionality of your current support to make the new support a success?
- What problems with your current support must be resolved to make the new support a success?
- What resources do you have to develop the new support and can other projects spare those resources?
- System architects?
- Experts in the old systems?
- Experts in the products being considered for the new systems?
- Systems and network experts?
- Quality control experts and testers?
- Specialists in the functions to be supported?
- Project Managers?
- Trainers and Documenters?
- Office space?
- Systems for development and testing?
- How are you going to move from the old support to the new?
- How long are you going to run in parallel?
- Are you going to introduce the new all at once, a module at a time, some other way?
- If you are going to "flip the switch" and change all at once, is there any way to retreat?
- If you are going to run in parallel, are you going to do dual data capture?
- If you are going to introduce a module at a time, how are you going to keep the data and support consistent?
- Does someone understand the workings of your current support well enough to tune the new?
- Do you have the resources to support the new once it is in place?
Conversion or Migration?
When considering a conversion, one choice is whether you are starting over, doing a complete conversion of existing support, or creating a composite answer. Whichever you choose, presumably, you have what you like and don't like about existing support to serve as a guide to planning the new. Studying the impacts on routine use on the old can also provide important input to your plans.
Another important exploration is how you are going to get from the existing to the new. This isn't just a matter of developing the new ... or designing it or extensively testing it. How do you go from one to the other? Enterprises that choose to just "throw the switch" and go from the old to the new experience a high rate of exceptionally costly failure.
JCC Consultants have experience designing, implementing, and tuning information systems and applications, including mission critical systems in some of the world’s most demanding environments. JCC participants' expertise dates back to the early sixties and comes forward to the latest ideas.
In the early 1990's, JCC began developing architectures and mechanisms to support migration from one platform to another without invalidating ongoing operations. JCC can apply the experience gained to your project.
Alternate Roles for JCC in Migration Projects
JCC has been quite successful in working with others in varied groups. JCC can do your conversion, provide architectural review, or participate at any stage of your project. JCC can work in combination with your own personnel or in concert with teams from other resources.