by Royce Yeager
It used to be said that core conversions (or “migrations” if you want to use a less adrenaline -producing word) were like open heart surgery. Only the best of the best were called upon to perform open heart surgery and then meticulously over the course of 10-12 hours, this skilled surgeon and a handful of equally gifted assistants repaired or even replaced the one organ keeping you alive. Dramatic right? Now imagine, that same cardiac team charged to systematically repair/replace not only your heart but your liver, lungs, kidneys, eyes, ears, etc. Oh, and this surgery must be done safely, without causing you any time off of work and most importantly – you’ll be faster, more intelligent and able to leap tall buildings afterwards. Guaranteed failure ensues should the cardiac team approach this alone. In order to increase their chance for success, a plan is developed, experts are secured for each element of the surgery and the newly expanded team tests their plans through simulations over and over again until satisfied that the plan works.
In a similar scene across credit unions worldwide, Information Technology executives are being charged to perform core conversions – which in most cases involve the complete dissection and re-engineering of every business process, system and network currently in use. Add to that the myriad of third party vendors interfacing to the core and you are facing the equivalent task of performing your own “whole body” replacement surgery along with “open heart” surgery for ten of your closest “friends”/vendors. A daunting task, yes! Impossible, no! Aside from the traditional project plans, best practices checklists and consulting advice one tool that stands out as a “go to” resource for those that have successfully converted their CORE is the DR/BCP program. How can a strong BCP program increase your chances of a smooth recovery?
Sustained Distributed Ownership
In a strong BCP program, each functional area has assumed ownership of the operational integrity of his/her area. Department level recovery plans have been developed which include mitigation strategies for continued operations should a disruption of service occur. Although a conversion isn’t seen as a typical “threat” to a credit union, it does in fact present a real risk and is easily introduced to the plan as another scenario to plan for. All too often, a core conversion is mistakenly seen as an IT project and a false sense of security can be felt thinking that if a system “works” that it works correctly. By approaching the core conversion as an organizational level “threat/risk”, you ensure the oversight of the expanded team of experts each contributing to the overall planning, testing and execution. Monthly planning sessions with each department, along with a combined organizational level walkthrough of proposed migration plans will strengthen your overall conversion plan and mitigate risks that may otherwise create roadblocks to your progress.continue reading »