13 September 2021

Mastering Migration: Stories from the other side

Identifying the need for change, and then selling it

Data centre migrations are generally multi-year propositions, which means that even when you have a clear vision, a detailed roadmap, and a high-performing team of people and partners to bring it to life, there will inevitably be unforeseen bumps in the road.

With many organisations planning or considering similar projects, over the coming months we’ll be opening the archives around Migration stories from the otherside, from some of the most successful projects we’ve supported our customers on to master their migrations. We work with Australia’s leading companies and innovators to help them identify opportunities and overcome challenges on the path to a more interconnected, flexible, resilient and sustainable operating environment.

Our first story comes from a longstanding partnership with one of the world’s leading developers of innovative, forward-thinking fin-tech solutions. The company has an aggressive cloud and transformation agenda in the Australasian market, with their local presence underpinned by NEXTDC’s digital infrastructure footprint.

We recently partnered to help them deliver a multi-million dollar project. As a major part of their future-ready plan, this project saw them rethink and rebuild their infrastructure from the ground up, ensuring it was best aligned to support their growth and transformation ambitions. This was a major undertaking that took extensive planning, implementation and delivery; it involved meticulous co-ordination of the company’s people and resources, as well as external partners and numerous vendor/provider contracts.

We spoke with the company’s Regional Network Manager, who not only helped to raise funds and support for the project, but he also oversaw the implementation and delivery.

Together, we took a dive into their top three learnings to help you recognise the need for change in your organisation and gather the critical support you need to get the project off the ground.

  1. If things don’t feel right, they probably aren’t. Ask questions!

According to the project lead, a key factor in identifying the need for large-scale change in the company’s infrastructure was the simple fact that things didn’t feel quite right the way they were - although there was no single, obvious reason.

“On reflection it was a range of factors: things taking too long to get done, simple tasks took too long to be completed with lots of manual processes,” said the project lead.

“As time went on, I started asking questions - why are certain things being done this way? I soon worked out that lots of manual processes, ‘it’s too hard’ responses and other barriers to getting things done aren’t normal. It poses an enormous risk to the business and the bottom line if you’re doing things manually.”

It’s only by asking questions around why things are the way they are, that you can start to dig a little deeper and discover where the sensitive points are, and that often informs a requirement to change.

  1. Always look for new ways to sell big change.

It’s easy for IT leaders to see where things aren’t working. The challenging part is communicating this to others within the organisation, particularly anyone without a technical background. Unless a project has a substantial financial outcome tied to it, it can be challenging to get the project pushed to the top of the organisation’s priority list.

If this situation sounds familiar, it helps to think differently about finding new ways to communicate the ‘invisible cost’ of not changing. We refer to this as ‘the pain of same VS the gain of change’.

A game changing moment for this project was enlisting the help of someone who could help translate technical concepts into the language of the business. Afterall, these are technical solutions not technical decisions. They helped to align and closely map the business case with the company’s vision, strategic plan and values.

“I explained the project vision as a five-year mission, which helped people conceptualise what needed to be done”.

“I presented our vision around the role of our digital infrastructure, and our need to rethink how we were looking at our platform. I explained the need to rebuild the infrastructure from the ground up, with no shortcuts and no band-aids, in the clearest possible terms that was meaningful to the entire business.”

  1. Partner well, and partner early.

By engaging your data centre partner early, and viewing them as part of your extended team, you’ll have a better understanding right from the outset of the critical components such as building true infrastructure diversity for resilience purposes, starting with an interconnection-first strategy, end-to-end physical security, streamlining compliance and meeting sustainability objectives right off the bat.

“Your data centre is a strategic asset, so your data centre partner should be your most strategic partnership. Involve them early and don’t treat them as a vendor,” said the project lead. “By embedding your data centre partner into your business and your team, everyone has skin in the game, and you can develop the personal relationships needed to get things done more effectively, leaving you to focus on your core business and your priorities.”

Start by pulling apart these three things – and ask those vital questions. Your digital infrastructure strategy is the plumbing for your IT. It underpins the success of your business, so finding a partner that will be there with you, every step of the way on your journey is a critical part of your success story.

Tune in to the next Mastering Migration story, as we unearth what other challenges you can tackle - and overcome – with the right artillery.

Reach out to our team if we can help you master your migration. One day we might be telling your story together, from the otherside.