The 10 Commandments of Transforming Enterprise Messaging Environments

POSTED BY : VP - Presales & Onsite Delivery
Saturday, June 8, 2013

Enterprises today face a transformed messaging and collaboration environment, which not so long ago was considered as a back end application. Messaging today is the pulse of the organization. Similarly messaging service SLA's have moved into the five 9's category and thus the design and architecture of the messaging platform and developing service management frameworks demands cutting edge skill and thorough diligence.

The global economy too has a direct impact on the organizations messaging strategy, one that translates into a distributed architecture and expansion of its messaging environment. This demands enterprises to look at non-functional aspects and design goals such as high availability, site level resiliency, and fault tolerance in their messaging platforms. The economy is also forcing the enterprise to evaluate IT as a Service and messaging is no exception and hence a large number of organizations are looking at E-mail as a Service while wanting to move towards total outsourcing of messaging platforms.

With Microsoft's recent launches such as BPOS and Office 365 being offered as public and semi-private options and several other options in the market place, cloud based messaging services is a now a reality more than ever.

While the future beckons us towards migration to newer messaging platforms, there are pitfalls to be avoided. With the experience of having migrated over a million mailboxes with zero disruption  in various business-critical environments Microland brings a mash-up of bests of two critical worlds the technology and process-based migration philosophy.

Based on our experience, we present a 10-commandment charter for enterprises that plan to undertake the messaging migration journey. Just like what they do not teach you in business schools, these are the practical aspects that you may not find in a book - or a tablet, for that matter.

  1. Thou shalt define the migration goals. Clearly articulate the problem statement and business drivers at the outset. This sets the expectations right from a messaging environment transformation initiative. It also forms the guiding principles in defining the platform migration strategy.
  2. Thou shalt understand the messaging ecosystem. Messaging environments in enterprises have several interdependencies with various systems. Migrating to a new messaging platform needs a thorough understanding of the existing collaboration ecosystem - starting from the hardware to all value added services.
  3. Thou shalt meticulously explain every feature of the new messaging platform to your stakeholders. This includes the impact and potential benefits in the short and long term.
  4. Thou shalt build business drivers and cost benefits analysis matrix.  Base this on the features that are set to tangibly justify the migration efforts, costs and timelines.
  5. Thou shalt build a what-you-see-is-what-you-get ( WYSIWYG) Lab This should happen post the design and architecture phase to demonstrate the features of the solution in a simulated environment.
  6. Thou shalt not try any migration step that has not been tested and tried in the Lab.  Every step, every feature should be tested under a simulated production environment. This is non-negotiable.
  7. Thou shalt be the custodian of the Bible for migration. ˜The migration process document will be the knowledge repository of all documentation on all migration specifications, SOPs, test cases and processes. Any update to this document shall be undertaken only post successful testing in the lab.
  8. Thou shalt not forget all the scenarios of co-existence. This applies at the server level, client level, archival, backup and disaster recovery during migration. Messaging migration is not a one-time mouse click activity but a gradual transition. If not planned right, it has the potential to bring the process to a grinding halt.
  9. Thou shalt ensure a zero data loss migration. Given the importance of the messaging platform in an organization, it is extremely critical to manage and transfer mailbox data between platforms without any errors.
  10. Thou shalt make your end users happy, very happy, by enabling a zero-disruption migration. This should strictly adhere to migration timelines and efficiently manage end-user experience

The pressure to optimize your IT infrastructure to adapt to changing business conditions requires you to be agile. Investing in solutions that provide reliability and choice is critical. While moving into a better messaging environment brings significant advantages, a disciplined migration strategy holds the key to unleashing the true value of transformation.

Disclaimer: The view expressed herein are those of the author and Microland expressly disclaims any liability arising from its publication on our website.

 This introduction is outdated for today.  An introduction in today's context must talk about digitalization, cloud-based UC solutions, business continuity and data security requirements in the face of  IoT, Big Data, cloud, etc., connected business and workplaces of the future,  multi-channel communication, etc

 

 This figure may need to be updated

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Murthy
VP - Presales & Onsite Delivery
Infrastructure Management