The 5 Upgrade Headaches – Headache #4: Migration Customizations and Integrations
by Markos Symeonides, on 22-Aug-2017 16:24:00
This is the third in a six part series in which Axios Systems’s EVP Markos Symeonides discusses the top five headaches IT managers face when upgrading their ITSM solution.
So now that we’ve discussed the headaches involved with Application Complexity, let’s talk about another headache that seems to be keeping IT up at night – Migrations! Specifically, migrations that involve heavy customizations and integrations. How can these migrations be successful? Can it be done or is it better to rip and replace? Will minimizing customizations and integrations make the upgrade process a more seamless experience?
Let’s face it, problems can occur as soon as an organization is using custom functionality that creates new or modified source code – see my post on Customization vs. Configuration. As these fall outside the scope of the vendor’s core solution architecture, customizations are not covered by vendor agreements and are not supported to the same extent as core off-the-shelf functionality, if at all. For this reason, customers are forced to rely on independent consulting firms and the user community for assistance. Unless the vendor is mindful of the customizations that are in place when developing new versions, (which they typically are not) the migration process can be laborious. If customizations do not integrate well with the new version, they cannot be directly ported across and this often requires a complete reimplementation of customizations on the new version. For some ITSM solutions, the impact of customizations and integrations is so great that it prohibits the organization from upgrading the product at all because it is too cost prohibitive, forcing them to work with outdated technology that needs to be further customized, in house. It is at this point that the organization should strongly consider going back to the market to identify a toolset that better matches its requirements.
Integrations with third-party applications and databases can also introduce problems when upgrading an ITSM solution. If the application interfaces have changed in the new version, it may be necessary to rebuild integrations. It should be the responsibility of the vendor to ensure integrations are not broken by the upgrade, but many vendors choose to focus their R&D efforts on a product roadmap to entice new business, instead of focusing on providing long-term value for their current customer base.
Because of the factors surrounding customizations and integrations, often the Service Desk and ITSM requirements that an organization perceives as a “differentiator” are of little business value when weighed against the cost and effort required to support them. Add to this the problems that occur during the upgrade process and a cost-benefit analysis of these types of customizations, it becomes apparent that these are more of a burden than a business enabler. Vendors must be focused on delivering value to customers through ITSM solutions that are flexible and configurable. The solution should also be built to provide broad and deep functionality to support the Service Desk and ITIL best practices – ensuring some standardization for easier upgrades. Furthermore, R&D should be driven by customer requirements, not new customer projections.
In selecting a vendor, it is important to ask how its product roadmap is determined – to ensure the vendor cares about the long-term value of the customer. A solution should provide the functionality customers need out-of-the-box, without the need to extend the product themselves or via consultants. A massive need to customize a Service Desk and ITSM solution likely means the core system is not well-built or it’s not the right solution for your business. When making purchasing decisions, it is important to look at the business problems at a strategic level and select the solution accordingly, in order to deliver the functionality needed. Choose a comprehensive solution that eliminates the need for tailoring. By reducing the need for customizations at this level, you’ll reduce upgrading issues in the future.
About Axios Systems
Since 1988, Axios Systems has been committed to innovation by providing rapid deployment of IT Service Management (ITSM) software. With teams in 22 locations globally and over 1,000 successful customer SaaS and on-premise deployments, Axios is a worldwide leader in ITSM solutions, with an exclusive focus on ITSM. Axios’s enterprise ITSM software, assyst, is purpose-built, designed to transform IT departments from technology-focused cost centers into profitable business-focused customer service teams. assyst adds tangible value to each client’s organization by building on the ITIL® framework to help solve their business challenges. Axios is headquartered in the UK, with offices across Europe, the Americas, Middle East and Asia Pacific. For more information about Axios Systems, please visit our website, Twitter or YouTube channel.