Migration: the dos and don’ts of end of life systems in local government
If you work for an austerity-struck council, you will more than be aware of the pressure you are under from the coalition government to deliver more for less money than you used to have at your disposal. Efficiency savings are therefore top of the agenda, but councils still need to rely on systems that allow them to effectively deliver their services to their constituents, their customers. To achieve this is not an easy task. There are end of life legacy systems to consider, which could make it harder for the council and its partners to meet their changing obligations. An informed Linux implementation assessment is therefore essential in order to analyse your options and to plan for change within the legacy environment.
Linux implementation specialist LinuxIT’s own experience of major change management projects is that most of them fail to deliver the forecasted levels of financial savings and benefits. “It is vital therefore that every effort is made to support councils in realising the benefits from their change programmes, to ensure that the public are protected from unnecessary cuts in services due to an over expenditure caused by an ineffectual transformation”, says Mike Curtis, Executive Director-Service Delivery at LinuxIT.
Professor Bryan Foss, a visiting professor at Bristol Business School and a board-level advisor, adds: “While the councils aren’t under pressure to move to Open Source software, shared services and lower cost systems can help to create service agility and cost reductions.” Given the challenges that councils face, Open Source software (OSS) and systems can make sense when a strong business case for them is made. With the help of a company like LinuxIT, you can create a strong argument for Linux implementation by working together to achieve the outcomes that the voters, the councils’ partners and the politicians need.
“The level of change required will be uncomfortable to many, but for others it presents new opportunities to fundamentally re-think the councils’ IT and Information Services (IS) to re-design them around the needs of local communities, sharing services and forming partnerships to maximise scarce resources”, explains Curtis. For these purposes, and if it is correctly implemented, OSS can offer a number of distinct advantages.
Migration success to Linux therefore requires an understanding of what to do and what not to do. By knowing and understanding these rules, the IT overhaul and migration process will seem painless – particularly with the assistance of LinuxIT’s experts.
- Do analyse the needs of the affected stakeholders to determine the migration schedules, training requirements, ongoing support, operational structures and processes that are necessary to support the move over to the new system.
- Do develop and agree some quantifiable metrics to measure the success of your IT migration to OSS.
- Do ensure that you have clearly defined lines of communication and authority, as well as the resources to support the project, but do not treat it as an additional task that the incumbent team members have to manage.
- Do involve all of the stakeholders that are affected by the changes in the planning of the migration project.
- Do not allow any implementation of the new systems to begin before a migration plan has been approved by the stakeholders involved with it.
- Do not try to do everything at once, but break the migration project down into manageable and achievable steps.
- Do not forget to establish your operational priorities from the beginning, and immediately address any high risk migration issues that could otherwise prevent the migration from being successful.
There are a number of factors to consider, which will determine how successful an overhaul of your own IT systems will be. Foss says that one of them is about gaining advocacy at board level for the assessed and required changes.