Preparing, Implementing and Operationalizing
In the final stages of integration engine migration, decision makers are tasked with preparing for and overseeing the successful transition from legacy to new integration engines. We began our series on migration by discussing the impetus behind transitioning from a legacy engine to newer systems. After laying the foundation for migration by Planning and Procuring, the final stages of the migration challenge include Preparing for engine implementation by evaluating existing resources and end goals, Implementing and testing the engine, and Operationalizing by moving new interfaces into production and retiring legacy systems.
Thoughtful preparation in advance of implementing a new integration engine will help keep a project running smoothly. Project work begins with all the preparatory activities required prior to starting on actual conversion work. During preparation, an architect will evaluate the current state of integrations and interfaces in the enterprise, and will document the transformations and end state interfaces required to complete the migration, including any new integrations required.
In parallel, the architect completes sizing and capacity planning documents that the client uses to order software, hardware and vendor licenses required to begin implementation work. While ordering and installations are being performed, the client attends training and collaborates with the vendor to establish project teams in preparation for the implementation phase of the migration. These teams typically include project managers, developers, interface analysts and business analysts in proportion to the size of the migration effort.
Ideally, the infrastructure and environments are made ready for the implementation phase of the project and the development and test environments are ready on the first day of implementation so that work can begin without delay. It is common for the production environment to be provisioned while development work is underway, so that project teams work in parallel as much as possible. The implementation stage, where the interfaces are migrated and tested, is the critical phase of a project. This stage requires time proportional to the number of interfaces, whereas other stages tend to take the same amount of time regardless of how many interfaces are migrated.
Best practice is to establish a rolling schedule of design, develop, testing and deployment to pre-production, whether through a waterfall or agile methodology. When initial designs are complete, the development process can begin, and when enough interfaces have been developed, the testing process can begin –all three can run concurrently, depending on the number of interfaces to migrate and the duration of the work to be completed. When all interfaces have been designed, this phase ends, and when development is complete, the remaining work is on testing and deployment until all interfaces are ready for promotion to production.
The final step in migration is where the rubber meets the road. In this step, the new interfaces move into production, legacy interfaces are retired and migration is completed. This is achieved on another rolling schedule during which machine to machine comparison between the legacy interface and the new interface confirms the performance and accuracy of the new interfaces. When enough messages or data transactions have been verified in the new interface, then the legacy interface is decommissioned and the new one assumes production status. The rolling schedule “batches” groups of these interfaces in priority sequence, and enables project teams to plan the deployment on a schedule that fits the size and capacity of their teams.
An effective project team can run both the development lifecycle and the migration to production cycle in parallel, making maximum use of resources and achieving optimal use of migration project dollars.
Replacing a legacy integration product may seem like a monumental task. By carefully implementing the five phases outlined in this blog series, a healthcare organization will create a stronger platform that will serve its needs now and into the future. It’s as much about expertise and service as it is about selecting the right product.