Migration expert: get the big picture first

IT executives have to think about the big picture before diving into software migration projects, says consultant Peter O'Dowd.

IT executives have to think about the big picture before diving into software migration projects, says consultant Peter O’Dowd.

Far too many get down to the detail too soon, he says, and run the risk of too much time being wasted if projects get turned down.

O’Dowd, who runs his own Microsoft development and training company in Wellington, eXACT, was in Auckland this month delivering a session at Microsoft’s Tech Ed conference on directories. He says he is working with Microsoft NZ to introduce one of its parent’s software tools called QuickStart, which he claims saves substantial amounts of time in the design stages of migration projects. QuickStart is used overseas but has only been implemented here on an unofficial basis.

QuickStart gets firms to review their business requirements and the vision and scope of a project. It looks at design sessions, assesses desktop configurations and the compatibility of hardware and software and offers scenarios for deployment.

“It gets a representative from each department to sit down around the table and plan. If you leap into the detailed part of the design up front you can be four months down the track, present results to the board of directors, and they say ‘no’. QuickStart is a very good method to avoid that. It gives you a template and structure to follow,” he says.

O’Dowd has employed QuickStart at the capital’s 500-user Aviation Security Service.

Aviation Security IT systems manager Mark Lilly says the templates used in QuickStart meant a six-week Windows 2000 network design project was cut to nine days at the end of last year.

“It was very useful. It made the entire process very streamlined, quick, easy and efficient.” He says he would recommend the product for anyone considering mid-to-large-scale Windows network design.

O’Dowd says all businesses should start migration projects with a big picture. “If we can encourage more New Zealand businesses to think that way, it will help them towards their business goals,” he says.

O’Dowd says many other New Zealand businesses, such as the NRMA, already take a big-picture view. “The challenge is to get all CIOs to think that way”.

Microsoft’s Jay Templeton confirms he is talking to Dowd about QuickStart, but says he is unable to say when or if Microsoft will launch it in New Zealand.

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