How to Migrate your Business to a Better Future

 
 
By Tony Sceales  |  Posted 2008-02-06 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Migration can be the best of things or the worst of things (with apologies to Dickens) for a company. Done properly, it can transform a company's business so that it's ready for the challenges of the future. Done badly, it can become the corporate version of a near-deal experience, except without the shining lights. Celona Technologies CTO Tony Sceales explains how to plan things so you do it right.

IT systems are supposed to support enterprises to enable them to do whatever they do better, faster and more cheaply than if thousands of people were pushing pieces of paper around, right? Yet all too often the systems that were supposed to make life easier are now preventing the business from operating in the way that it desires. IT has become a blocker rather than an enabler.

But, as we survey the rubble of over 30 years of development, we realise that the problems we face are very much like those of the urban planner confronting decades of piecemeal building. While there may be some excellent examples of individual buildings-or in our case, systems-the whole does not function in the way it needs to. In both cases the solution is far from trivial.

Renewing a large enterprisewide IT infrastructure requires a clear vision and deep pockets. Moreover, there is a very real risk that in trying to improve the situation you end up wasting a lot of money without actually delivering real added value. The renewal process can also seriously handicap the ability of the enterprise to function, and eat up large sums while actually making things worse or at least no better. And in the current 24-hour business climate, there is less opportunity to migrate systems and much less tolerance of a situation where applications and data are not available.

At the same time the drivers for IT renewal have fundamentally shifted. In the past, projects were motivated by IT issues, such as replatforming applications in order to decrease costs and increase efficiency, but today the motivation is increasingly due to business issues. The enterprise has rediscovered the role IT can play in helping it achieve its goals and is articulating its desire to gain these benefits much faster. Likewise, it is now unwilling to accept that the only route to these benefits is high-risk and eye-wateringly expensive. And finally, it also wants to prioritise and set the goals for the migration to its new systems, not have these imposed on it by technical constraints.

This change in emphasis is actually a very positive thing all round. Johny Morris articulates the issue very well in his book, Practical Data Migration??: "Data migration is most definitely a business not a technical issue," he argues. "In the past the IT department was given the responsibility for data migration by the business, but not the power to deliver successfully. The business has requested migrations, but then has not taken responsibility for them. To be successful, migrations must be owned and driven by the business."



 
 
 
 
A science graduate of the University of Wales, Tony Sceales has spent over 20 years building and managing major products and development programs in the global software industry. Much of that time has been working in Telecoms markets with the balance in the Reinsurance, Banking and Systems Software sectors. He co-founded SESI Ltd as a solutions and systems integration business in 1997, successfully transforming it to form Celona Technologies in 2004. He was CEO of Celona, leading the strategic thinking behind the growth of the company until 2007. He now holds the post of CTO, in which he is responsible for the direction and production of all technology. Prior to Celona Technologies, Tony worked in senior architectural and management roles with British Telecom plc, IBM (Australia), Prudential Reinsurance (USA) and AON. Based in London, Tony is a regular speaker at industry events, and has published articles and papers in many journals and the press.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
 
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters























 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rocket Fuel