Technology evolves at a rapid pace, and in turn, users’ needs can change throughout time. This often leads to a requirement for users’ work equipment to change too. The COVID pandemic most recently exemplified this with large numbers of people working flexibly from home.  

There are many other drivers for change, including organisational growth through acquisition, the types of devices or systems required by users, new regulatory requirements, systems entering end of life and expanding to other locations.

There is often a feeling of apprehension when making the decision to start a large-scale migration, commonly due to the complexity and the cost of failure if it is not delivered successfully. However, the need to invest in your IT is unavoidable and therefore it is essential to understand how to increase the chances of a successful delivery.

This article brings together Wavestone’s experiences of such projects to summarise the key obstacles and how to overcome them. 

The first important question to ask yourself; What's the best way to manage a digital workplace change? 

For large organisations, adopting a centralised approach has many benefits. It improves control and governance, eases the management of costs, limits the dual-running of systems (which leads to additional cost and complexity) and saves time and costs by migrating en-masse. 

Whilst a large-scale digital workplace migration has many benefits, there are also a number of areas to be mindful of, to ensure it is successful.   

It is recommended that the following areas are considered when undertaking your large-scale migration: 

  • Scope definition and agreement: Allocate sufficient time to discover, define and agree the scope of the migration with all necessary internal and external stakeholders. This includes third party agreements where there can be potential gaps leading to additional costs. 
  • Licenses and equipment: Check the availability and type of licenses that may be required, as well as the stock levels and lead times of any new required equipment in order to forecast additional costs. 
  • Financials: Ensure all necessary funding is allocated in advance, including sufficient contingency allowance. 
  • Senior stakeholder buy-in: Clear requirements and deliverables must be signed off, including a formalised change control process. This ensures top-down buy-in and influence for the programme.  
  • Understand the needs of each business entity: Often there are many different user profiles in each area of the business, along with software customisation, application versions and their dependencies.  
  • Understand location differences: Factors such as culture, working hours, shipping requirements and device compatibility must be fully understood.  
  • Form a community of champions: Identifying individuals from each business area to undertake a champion role can help with user adoption and can foster two-way feedback. 
  • Clear communication plan: Ensure all stakeholders are kept informed throughout the various migration phases and have clear escalation routes. The communication plan must be part of a wider change management strategy. 
  • Defined roles and responsibilities: Clearly define from the outset and include the identification of business areas, that require additional resources with relevant large migration experience. 
  • Testing and defect remediation: Ensure all pre-requisites are known and undertaken in advance of any live migration.  
  • Realistic timeframes: Allow sufficient time to be allocated to each phase of the migration, with flexibility to allow for unforeseen delays given the scale and complexity of such projects.  
  • Track progress: Understand the KPIs required to monitor progress and create a dashboard so this is easily manageable. Additionally ensure that frequent quality reviews and checkpoints are in place. 
  • Data Quality: Work from a single source of truth throughout deployment, and make sure all information is validated and stored centrally. 
  • Different types of migration methods: Physical, virtual, 1-2-1, and also in groups. It’s important to understand your audience; a one-size fits all approach may not be applicable or effective. 
  • Conduct a pilot phase: Provisionally start with a small sample, which will help to discover teething problems, that have been overlooked. Start with the less complex migrations first to build confidence.  
  • Post migration support: The correct levels of support must be made available to help resolve issues quickly and provide a good quality of service 

Final piece of advice 

At Wavestone, we are committed to helping our clients adapt so they are ready for the challenges and opportunities of a different, digital world. We are currently helping our clients with large scale migrations for laptops, MDMs, OS upgrades, mobile devices, and cloud-based applications to name a few. If you would like to discuss any of the points in this article, please get in touch.