In our long and established existence we have transitioned many customers into the GEN ecosystem and of course a few have chosen to leave GEN. It is important that during the transition process there is a clear and agreed hand-over process to ensure that the customers staff and services are not adversely effected. The strategy should loosely follow the guidance below but be tailored to each scenario.
The transition phase of any handover covers the steady and scheduled migration of services from one IT Services organisation to another. Such activities typically include transfer of staff, setting up of new support and management environments, workplace logistics, as well as interim or temporary tools provisioned to make the process easier. The incumbent service provider should analyse and detail all systems and services currently in production status and for each negotiate an agreed plan for transition. For services such as groupware or hosting this can be as simple as migrating data and setting up new services, but for more complex provisions such as on-site or managed services, shared storage, databases etc the planning will be more detailed and comprehensive. It is important to identify the services that can and those that cannot be migrated during this planning phase and those that cannot will require additional considering and planning.
As with any IT services transition there will be an impact on business processes such as CRM, Groupware, Slack and so on and this impact should be minimised as a priority. Where SaaS is involved then it may simply not be possible to transition the system because its not owned by the customer and in this case specifically there will need to be detailed discussions around a replacement system together with reliable migration of data and assets. A good example here would be a Customer Relationship system developed or licensed by the incumbent and licensed to the customer.
Transforming data from one database to another whether that be SQL based data, Messaging, LDAP, etc can be a lengthy process involving several stages. The design and testing of the transformation systems require the co-operation of both the incumbent and gaining service provider and GEN will always work with providers in these area's.
Where connectivity services are involved and these are provided by a third party such as OpenReach or Virginmedia then migration of these services without interruption from the incumbent is often possible albeit with some caveats. Successful migration will in many cases be more cost effective that provisioning new services because most connectivity solutions involve both setup and rental costs.
Data and Confidentiality
During any transition its critical to ensure that both the incumbent and gaining service provider have clear determination on their obligations to the customers data. That is, at what point the incumbent is no longer responsible for the customers data and the gaining provider becomes responsible. In any transition plan there must be clear and concise directions to the incumbent ensuring that any customer data residing within their domain is removed as part of the transition process to prevent any misunderstandings surrounding data ownership and duty of care.
In any transition there will doubtless be a period where both the incumbent and gaining service provider are providing the same services and this will doubtless have a cost to the customer and this cost must be considered in the planning phase. Where GEN is the gaining service provider then we may offer to cover some of this expense as would other providers but this should be considered and confirmed during planning.
In many transitions existing staff may be retained or migrated to the gaining service provider and this process is a delicate one. Staff should be given a clear path at the earliest opportunity during the planning phase because one of the biggest threats to the process is disgruntled staff. When gaining new customers we will always try to maintain existing staff, but its not always possible especially when the primary motivation of outsourcing to us is the cost savings associated with managed services.
Where GEN is gaining the customer we will assign dedicated account managers to oversee the process and use our project management suite to document and manage the transition ensuring all parties have access to our collaborative tools.