Speaking from Experience: Surprise Processes During a Major Analytics Migration

 Months of planning complete, hardware and software procured, associates prepped. The sails are set, and the stars are aligned to flip the switch on a major analytics platform migration. That’s what the buildup felt like when Dell was ready to start moving users from our legacy analytics platform to Statistica, an easier-to-use and lower cost solution, as the company’s analytics platform.


In a previous blog post, we covered the lessons learned from process planning. It bears repeating that the time Dell spent working through process-oriented questions positioned the organization to start moving users onto Statistica on schedule. Even still, when the actual migration is in progress, some new and perhaps surprising processes pop up.


What actually happens when a company migrates to a new analytics platform? Find out in the Dell-on-Dell case study. The e-book, “Statistica: The Great Analytics Migration,” is available for download.


During our migration, Dell realized that it was the business leads in the Centers of Excellence (CoEs) that had the best glimpse into progress, knowing how close each user or department was to migrating completely off the legacy analytics platform. The CoEs also had the insight into unexpected roles and tasks users and managers took on along the way. Let’s look at three:


Working in two platforms: Perhaps it’s not surprising that a migration of this magnitude would put added strain onto employees taking part in the migration, but there are only so many hours in a workweek. If there is an expectation on teams to add more tasks onto the daily workflow, plan deadlines accordingly.


Double checking, for a while: Since analytics are pervasive at Dell and run mission-critical business applications, to ensure the integrity of results and minimize risk during the migration, Dell ran Statistica and the legacy analytics system concurrently to make sure everything was operating as expected. It was a process that was unexpected and time consuming but necessary before the legacy analytics platform could be turned off.


Trying to align individual business groups: You’ve heard of the phrase herding cats. It’s certainly a good comparison to managing a migration in which various groups operate on their own timeline, working toward their own objectives. But success means getting all groups to completion by the overall deadline.


During the migration, we encountered some additional necessary processes to move the migration along. For instance, the team realized it was important to stop and correct inefficiencies, despite the reluctance to take any time away from moving forward. Managers also experimented with different motivation tactics, including contests. To find out more about the actual migration, download the Dell-on-Dell case study, “Statistica: The Great Analytics Migration, Part 2: Process,” which recounts ways to get all teams to stick to the deadline. Would you expect pressure in your organization to come from the business leads or IT?


There’s more to come from Dell on its Statistica migration. In part 3 of the e-book, we’ll cover all aspects related to technology components of the migration project — from architecture to tooling. In the meantime, read part 2 to get more insight into our migration process.