Why is that?
In reality there are several reasons but I'll drill in on just one here: the lack of senior management buy in and top cover for your data migration strategy. And I'm not talking about a data migration strategy just at the project level, but rather a data migration strategy set at the enterprise level. You do have one of those, don't you?
So, you need an overarching data migration strategy document to influence and guide behaviour when it matters - both early in the project planning and design stages and also later on as the pressure mounts close to the go-live date. But, that's not enough. You also need to sell it to senior management, you'll need their support when the pressure hits. That pressure will come, there's no doubt about it. It may strike at different stages depending upon the type of organisation you're working with. If you're faced with the task of introducing the concepts that data migrations are business, not technology issues, that business leaders cannot be passive in the migration and that ownership cannot be divorced from accountability then chances are you'll strike push back from business managers who don't want to lose key people to the project, don't have budget for business as usual back-fill or feel that the approach is just IT trying to abdicate responsibility. Alternately you may be faced with a aggressive timeframes or budgets which need to be challenged to ensure that you give the migration at least some chance of success. And, at some time a go-live deadline will mean that pressure will come for data migration processes to be sidelined in a frantic rush to just get the data in any way you can.
When these things happen you'll need someone with real authority in your corner. So, how do you sell your overarching data migration strategy to the higher levels of the org chart in such a way that you don't just get moral support, but true buy-in? Chances are it will vary from organisation to organisation and even from person to person, but here are three ideas:
- Link the failure of data migration to delayed or foregone project benefits realisation. There's plenty of research out there that can show this linkage and whilst you won't know any specific numbers until the next major project business case appears you can at least plant the seed. Bonus points if you can look back in your company's history and quantify the amount of unrealised benefits for a prior project due to data migration issues.
- If your company has culture of, or current focus on, safety then draw out how failed migrations could feasibly lead to a major safety incident or death.
- Show how data migration issues lead to damage reputation and brand. There are plenty of cases where this has occurred. I can count two in my city in the past three months alone.