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Messaging Migration Defined


The Real Value in Messaging Migration

Business organizations around the world are changing daily. Mergers, acquisitions, corporate sales, or simply adjusting to keep pace with the competitive landscape all contribute to this spiraling evolution. Companies must adapt and communication is at the heart of the adaptation...and the messaging infrastructure is at the heart of that communication.

Messaging is no longer just the sending and receiving of simple messages and attachments. It is an entire collaborative environment supporting:

  • email
  • group discussions
  • team workgroups
  • corporate intranets
  • quick publishing to the Internet
  • instant messaging
  • blogs
  • social networking
  • custom applications

The messaging infrastructure must be reliable, scalable, and secure. Its integrated framework must be manageable and cost-efficient.

The true costs, however, do not just lie in the hardware and software purchases. The true costs are a balance of administrative maintenance, end-user uptime-vs-downtime, and bandwidth needs weighed against customer service, productivity, and timely communications. These things all affect the company’s bottom line. With messaging activities estimated at nearly one third of all activities for end-users, it is easy to see how the effects of an under-performing system can impact employee performance as well as corporate profitability.

Companies are not asking, "Can we afford to upgrade to current messaging technology?" But rather, "How and when can we implement the latest messaging technology?"

The how is going to include messaging migration.

Migrations from email related platforms can be complex and difficult. An inadequate or aborted attempt can cause prolonged coexistence, higher operational overhead, increased strain on IT resources, greater negative impact on users, and can cause costly project delays. Like other types of information technology systems migrations, thorough planning along with extensive knowledge and experience with the systems are essential to ensure a seamless implementation.

ENS-Inc engineers and project managers are certified and experienced in messaging migration projects of all sizes.

The ENS-Inc team adheres to industry-leading best practices and proven methodologies that ensure your upgraded, consolidated messaging infrastructure can provide your organization with the following benefits:

  • increased effectiveness
  • increased customer satisfaction
  • effective messaging tools for employees, both deskbound and mobile
  • speedier transactions
  • enhanced customer service
  • increased productivity

ENS-Inc gives you the confidence to move ahead with this process that touches every user and every aspect of your organization.

 


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Planning and Documentation are Keys to Messaging Migration Project Success

A project plan for messaging migration must be built with:

  • clear, carefully defined objectives
  • detailed documented planning that addresses both technical and non-technical issues
  • active project management
  • a comprehensive dedicated project team
  • a realistic achievable timeline
  • the issue of coexistence must be evaluated and addressed
  • a plan to ensure service levels are maintained

Expected growth needs to be accounted for. Some estimates suggest that an organization’s user base will double two years following implementation, as will the number of messages per user, resulting in substantial and speedy growth of messaging data. The real crunch comes from multimedia attachments driving up the average message size. Scalability and bandwidth are major considerations as people increase their utilization of systems that now have more capabilities like larger attachment capacity and better, faster client software.

During the initial steps of the project...

  • Factors that will have an impact must be identified and documented and include constraints and limitations.
  • New applications and the impact they may have on email traffic need to be considered.
  • The user community must be analyzed.
  • Documenting the current environment, its features, functions, and applications is an area where all bases should be covered with no function overlooked. Users tend to be more upset by not being able to do something they were used to doing than they will be about learning a new function.
  • As a destination roadmap, it is important to document the features, functions, and applications which the corporation wishes to add based on the capabilities of the new environment.

Documentation topics required include:

  • existing applications, numbers and types supported
  • existing services
  • current support infrastructure
  • message stores
  • current messaging network topology
  • email metrics
  • mail retention policies
  • naming standards for servers and users
  • needs for any new hardware or software
  • number of users
  • expected messaging traffic, both during normal hours and peak usage hours
  • geographic locations and balancing of usage loads
  • types of devices, e.g., Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Outlook Anywhere, MMS, etc.

ENS-Inc approaches your messaging migration project using a Project Management Life Cycle based on industry standards as set forth by the Project Management Institute (PMI). This project management life cycle is guided by several management fundamentals and is built around four major areas, including:

  • Change Management - Establishes a method for identifying, analyzing, controlling, and resolving change requests in a timely fashion.
  • Quality Management - The objective evaluation of processes, assets (work products and deliverables) and services against defined descriptions, standards, and procedures.
  • Issue Management - The methodology that supports the needs of each project by identifying, managing, and resolving issues in a timely manner.
  • Risk Management - A continuous practice of anticipating, mitigating, and monitoring risks that may impact the project and objectives.

These disciplines ensure the project objectives of your messaging migration project are met.


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Coexistance or Complete Cutover...What are the Options?

When the migration of all users cannot be completed in a single day, the option of coexistence is highly viable. That is, keeping the old system alive and partially or fully functional alongside the new system over a period of time until all current communications have evolved into the new format and infrastructure.

This can be necessary when needing to adhere to legal requirements or when mission-critical historical information must be referenced and responded to in a timely manner. A coexistence period can last from as little as one week or up to two years to complete. Coexistence can also be a valuable process in a phased approach to a messaging migration.

A complete cutover, or Flash Cut, means the user community in its entirety transitions from one email platform to another at one point in time. Users only have access to one single email system at a time, the old, then the new. There is no moving back and forth, so, directory correctness is essential. This cutover process has a high consequence for partial, substantial, or complete failure on the cutover day.

However, there are pros to this process. Users have an assigned date for the new system, confusion is mitigated and information is less likely to be "misplaced", everyone is accessing the same system and the same processes. Administrative management can focus on the new system.

The ENS-Inc planning team works with you and your organization to determine what method of cutover will work best for you and the chosen platforms.


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Pilots Don’t Just Fly Airplanes...The Importance of "Proof-of-Concept"

Because messaging has become the lifeblood of many businesses, it is desirable to have as much assurance as possible that the migration plan will be successful at the time of cutover. All the kinks and hitches need to be worked out through testing on a smaller scale before an entire organization is airborne. It may also be necessary to have this proof-of-concept established before full funding is available and management is completely on board with the messaging migration project. This is where the pilot comes in.

A pilot project can happen in a test environment with test machines in the production environment to ensure functionality for live production users. The IT team can also implement the migration on a specified group of users on a smaller scale to establish this proof of concept before moving forward with the entire organization. This process can also be part of a phased approach to the messaging migration project.


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Sailing Over the Learning Curve

As with any change in processes and procedures, users and administrators must be trained in the use and functionality of the new systems. This can also be a very costly part of a messaging migration, especially if not properly planned.

Poor training can result in poor functionality of the new system and can also result in decreased employee morale. Training is an investment that must be considered in the overall messaging migration project.

ENS-Inc believes very strongly in the knowledge transfer process as a part of any information technology project. ENS-Inc engineers work side-by-side with our customer’s IT team during the messaging migration planning and implementation. Often the client’s IT staff is encouraged to "do the driving" while the ENS-Inc engineer oversees the work.

ENS-Inc has certified trainers who can conduct classroom training or one-on-one user training as the situation requires. This can happen onsite or at the ENS-Inc training center in Sacramento, CA. Clients can also benefit from train-the-trainer sessions enabling a company to provide its own training to end-users throughout their organization.

ENS-Inc provides clear and detailed documentation of all of the information, systems, and processes impacted throughout the messaging migration process. We work with your organization in the establishment and development of policy and procedures for your new messaging environment.

This training and knowledge transfer process empowers your success.


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