The migration from an existing system to a new one can often involve many problems, such as the adhesion of the users to the project or the technical management of a new environment still poorly mastered.
Migration projects are not to be taken lightly, because if they are not properly managed, they can mean a significant to colossal financial loss and can in some cases tarnish the image of the IT team.
Our extensive field experience allows us to make the following observation:
Change Management is a crucial point during a migration. Especially when moving from a heavy client application, on premise, like IBM Notes, to a Web app like SharePoint. The two systems are technically very different, therefore some elements can generate frustrations that could prejudice the success of the project.
- Heavy Client App
- User profiles in each base
- Web hosted
- User profiles centrally managed
- Easy to move to the cloud
- Office suite integrated
Depending on the company infrastructure, this may involve some latency in the response times of SharePoint, in comparison to the time initially obtained by end users of IBM Notes.
A good change management will explain and emphasize on the added value and productivity gain of the new system, despite response time that may be judged less satisfactory at first. It is paramount that the end users don’t feel they are losing the trade between the old and the new system and realize the added value of the new technology.
In the worst-case scenario, end users can be forced into this migrations project by the IT team. In this case, with such high financial costs, they might have preferred to have 5 new applications in IBM Notes instead of migrating to SharePoint.
From the moment a group of users is dissatisfied or frustrated with this situation, they will communicate it internally to other colleagues and a snowball effect will start to grow. Thus, despite the project necessity for the competitiveness of the Organization, it will be rejected before it even started. In some cases, since the project is rejected by a majority of users, it is possible that the management decides to reverse to the old platform, which would be catastrophic given the magnitude of cost and time invested in the project.
Another negative effect of a project rejected by the users is the impact on trust in the IT department. When teams no longer trust their own IT team, they may take the initiative to contact outsourcing IT companies by themselves to put in place other solutions that will meet their needs. IT may not be involved in this type of initiative and will have no control over these projects. The consequences will be a loss of security, data confidentiality and might imply legal issues involved by “Shadow IT”.
In order to avoid getting to such a catastrophic situation, there are several actions and solutions to be put in place so that a maximum of users feel satisfied and happy with a migration and embrace the change of working methods that will improve and generate new business outcomes.
Evolusys’ tips to prepare your migration in the best conditions
- Make an inventory of applications currently used in the company.
- Identify Key users and prioritize them for feedback, testing, and use them for “internal marketing” of the new solution.
- Review with the key users the functionalities of each application, exclude the obsolete applications of the project.
- Emphasize to the end users the ergonomic benefits of the new solution, as it time saving, more user friendly and easier to use.
1. First, it is important to make an inventory of all the solutions and applications present in IBM Notes and to meet all their users to perceive and understand the usefulness of the latter. This will avoid migration efforts for obsolete applications, reducing time and cost.
2. Regarding the applications used, a migration project is often an opportunity to review the operation of the application to see if it still corresponds to the business needs. In fact, when setting up a solution, many times users have a hard time projecting themselves and imagining what this solution might look like. Also, as they have never worked this new way, there are always adaptations to be made following the first uses of the application. If, during migration, some applications are reviewed, have new features and allow users to save time, they will be happy and see the migration project with a good eye.
3. It is essential to identify key users from the outset within processes and applications. These users are motivated to spend time with IT to give them feedback, test applications and propose solutions that will also suit the other employees. They will have a real driving effect on the project and they will be the spokespersons within the organization: they will convey a very positive image of the migration project. Thus, there will be a better adoption of the solution by the end users which facilitates the conduct of the change.
4. Another point often overlooked and left out is the ergonomics and design of the applications. When users express their needs, they are confined to what they have ever known. While often it is enough to offer them another way of working to make them realize that it is much more practical. As an example, users have always been accustomed to very large forms that contains all the possible and conceivable fields. We can revisit this and cut this very large form into several smaller so at each stage of the process, the actors can focus only the information they need. The forms are therefore clearer, simpler and the user will not lose themselves in the vastness of information that he may have before the eyes. Without realizing it, they will gain time; It may be negligible on one form but it will be less in twenty or even a hundred ! Furthermore, as most users do not take the time to read documentation before using an application, this can avoid training time, support and writing of documentation but also avoid improper use of the application or data input. Saving time and money.[JS1]
A migration project taking into account users feedback has better chance of success, both immediate and on the long term scope. Employees will not only accept the immediate change better, but because they feel understood and implicated in the project, they will often bring ideas for future improvements of their work environment. As SharePoint is a great connector for other software, such improvements are even easier to deploy.
Evolusys can help you for all the different steps of your migration projects by assisting you, giving you advices, helping you reviewing existing solutions and training the team. Evolusys’ experts are more than willing to share their experience acquired by helping several dozen of companies for this kind of projects, and help you take a step further with your own!