Like clockwork, every year wildebeest and other animals perform their thunderous run (“The Herds of God”) across the Serengeti plains. For those who enjoy Africa and safaris in general, check out the article below on how the herd handles dangers, self-polices etc
I have always wondered how software vendors can get their users to be so driven to migrate as a group, with urgency to a new product release. Most software user base migrations take years and resemble “forced marches”. This is especially true when there is a major architectural/data model change. Even if the destination (a new release) has attractive features, the migration path is often fraught with dangers.
Most vendors develop some level of automated migration tools. But they only automate 5 to 30% of the migration effort. Here are some of the areas they ignore or cannot automate:
a) Even when automated conversion tools are provided, master and transaction records source and destination fields are often incompatible so that the converted data is often truncated, consolidated or other wise mangled
b) In most cases reports, queries, security, customizations, interfaces and several other items have to be manually migrated or custom coded.
c) Every re-implementation or new implementation involves a significant amount of testing – unit, integration, stress
d) A major upgrade calls for significant new certification. Under recent Sarbanes Oxley legislation, auditors want all kinds of comfort around risks as major transaction engines are upgraded.
e) New software versions or destinations call for a whole bunch of new training and documentation
Many vendors develop migration campaigns (several a year) and try to raid other vendor’s customers with “give away” licenses. The lowered license cost only offsets a small part of the migration cost, and so most of these campaigns are marginally successful.
As SAP and Oracle woo PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards customers to migrate to their own current (SAP with its "Safe Passage" offering) and future (e.g. Oracle’s Fusion) offerings, this will be a huge issue they both need to focus on. Just like the “Herds of God” in the Serengeti, this herd can sense where the dangers are.