By Jen Sweeney
We’ve written a lot in this space about the challenges organizations face with company-wide technology migrations. We believe that to get the most out of the software—to increase productivity, to enable meaningful collaboration, to inspire innovation, and to encourage better business outcomes—business leaders need to prioritize user adoption of the technology. The employee’s journey toward technology proficiency and mastery must include a range of training and support services, during the migration and long after. It means business leaders need to let go of old ideas about how people learn best, and design new approaches for today’s workforce.
But business leaders need to ensure their employees can first find the road.
Enter the deployment architect, who helps minimize disruption, maximize productivity and adoption, and ensures the focus stays on business users throughout the migration process. A deployment architect gains an understanding of the entire business environment—by identifying which mailboxes need to be migrated together and when, by assessing user constraints and readiness, and by determining how to minimize disruption for business users.
It’s a role that’s often overlooked, even though so much depends upon it being carried out smoothly. In many migrations, a company’s project leaders set the migration order with little consideration of the relationships between departments and employees. For example, IT leaders may decide to migrate the home office before the field employees, or the executives before lower level staff.
It’s a role that’s often overlooked, even though so much depends upon it being carried out smoothly
But employees in today’s organizations—executives or otherwise—do not function in bubbles. Relationships are not linear, but complex and circuitous. Home office and field employees regularly work together and executives depend on administrative staff, who often lean on admins from other departments for vacation backup and other assistance.
When a migration is executed without consideration of these relationships, significant disruption can occur. It can delay the migration, encourage even more resistance to change, create frustration, and impede user adoption. Also, once an organization is in the thick of a migration, it’s much more difficult to rewind and reconfigure the order.
A deployment architect can help make the transition easier. In addition to helping to determine the migration order, they collaborate with the people responsible for user communication to ensure that the right information about the deployment, available resources and more is delivered to each group when it is needed.
The deployment architect’s role includes responsibilities that fall into four broad categories:
- IDENTIFY user migration challenges and readiness; work with the organization to create the migration roster; document mailbox permissions and delegations before the implementation; and determine issues, risks, and opportunities to minimize impact on users.
- DEVELOP migration group definition and scheduling strategy; assess user inventory, requirements, scheduling, and release management deployment schedule; and coordinate with communications and user activities.
- PLAN a deployment design document, detailing all aspects of the migration workflow; and devise a deployment coordination workshop with participation from the communications champion as well as other stakeholders.
- ASSIST the customer team in completing migration communication activities; assist during pilot migrations to test user communications, and help desk and support processes; help with the implementation of pre-pilot, pilot, and velocity deployment schedules.
While the duties of a deployment architect may appear to be largely technical or methodical, getting the job done right requires a thorough understanding of a company’s unique business environment. Like other elements in a larger migration journey, the service delivered by the deployment architect is just as critical and ensures that the focus is locked on the business user throughout the process.