Migration from legacy systems to a single Customer Communications Management (CCM) platform can be challenging, but it is strategically important for today’s enterprises to have the ability to better communicate with customers. Here is a four-step approach to help eliminate the trial and error that often arises while performing a migration.
Software tools continue to evolve and improve, helping organizations in their efforts to create relevant, efficient business communications that support a better customer experience. Over the past two decades, Customer Communications Management (CCM) tools have opened the doorway to more effectively create and deliver these communications across multiple channels.
As legacy systems with multiple software solutions are being retired for new single platform systems, there are complex challenges when it comes to migrating these multi-software solutions to one coherent platform. As an IT professional, you are integral in making the migration from one system to another a success.
However, to do it successfully requires a plan that includes attention to these four steps:
Successfully migrating to a single software platform necessitates a clear understanding of the current system or systems working together. Your IT team must investigate how all components are being utilized today and have a good understanding of the new desired state and workflow. During this discovery phase, it is likely the team will also discover additional systems that are being utilized to bridge issues. In the case of homegrown systems that have been custom built, migrations can be particularly tricky. Meeting with the key people that will eventually utilize the system at different capacities is critical to a successful migration. From there, create and review a list of requirements from the information gathered and then go back and review it with all stakeholders and primary users to ensure everyone agrees with the plan.
2. System Architecture
With a clear understanding of the current state and the desired result, the next step is to design the system architecture. The architecture is your blueprint for the multiple phases of the migration. During the architecture phase, the ideal processes and workflows are established to capitalize on the new system functionality. It is not enough to take the current state and port it over to the new system. This is your opportunity to update processes and create a workflow that answers all your organization’s major goals.
The architecture may include:
3. Design and Development
Design is the third significant step in the process. In the design phase, a proof of concept is developed to test the theories and assumptions from the architecture. The roadmap established during architecture should be managed through AGILE or another method to keep the project on target. Daily review meeting and collaboration of senior and junior developers will provide a strong framework for success.
Development includes the heavy lifting of moving from a concept to the actual creation of the new CCM system. Managing development with deadlines and milestones set in the design plan allows developers and stakeholders to see progress, identify necessary changes and make corrections.
Successful QA and testing also require creating test cases that include multiple variables, including items that should cause errors in the system. Unfortunately, quality assurance and testing are often allotted the shortest amount of time in the process of migration. In actuality, development and QA/Testing require equal amounts of time, and in some cases, QA can take longer than development. Rushing this step can lead to delayed deployment and live production errors.
Migrations involve parallel testing the output from the old and new system. It is critical to look for the smallest of changes, font, position, page count and reporting. The new CCM technology you are deploying should execute all the functionality of the old flawlessly. A sampling of different types of CCM projects in multiple industries will provide a good cross section for testing. As changes are made a new round of testing is required. Changes and any bugs should be logged into the system for future reference.
4. Delivery, Deployment, Documentation
Successful deliveries are not just error free deployments. Delivery must be on time, on budget and well documented. Documentation of the system and any changes that have been made between POC and launch must be addressed. It is imperative that the system is not reliant on people but on solid documented processes. The documentation of the project as it evolves serves as the new roadmap. In order for the software to be successful for years to come, documentation needs to be updated as changes and modifications occur.
An Approach Worth Adopting
Migration from any legacy system can be challenging, but it is strategically important in today’s world for an organization to have the ability to better communicate with its customers. Whether your organization needs to modernize a legacy solution or perform a complete technology shift to a new platform, having the resources to successfully follow these four guidelines will be key to experiencing a successful migration experience. Implementing this four-step approach to the integration of your new platform has been proven to help eliminate the trial and error that comes with performing a migration and will support your goal to exceed your company’s expectations from start to finish.
Gautam Jit Kanwar, President, BelWo Inc. recently published an article in the fall issue of DOCUMENT Strategy. His authored article is mentioned on the cover of this issue, where he delves into cloud CCM, unpacking how the cloud could be leveraged to create a customer communication ecosystem that is intuitive and scalable.
BelWo, Inc., a global managed services provider specializing in customer communications management (CCM), announces it is exhibiting at the upcoming 2023 Document Strategy Forum (DSF), a peer-driven, peer-reviewed and peer-produced educational event for document professionals. This year, the event will take place May 22-24 at the hotel Le Méridien in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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