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The Parallel Worlds of IT and the NFL — What Draft Day Can Teach Us about Migration

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It’s my favorite time of year, the NFL draft is here!!!  I am a huge football fan and, especially being a Dallas Cowboys fan, I always seem to be saying, “This is our year.”  But, with RG3 in the same division, I am sure I will be saying this for a few more years to come!

As a fan of the NFL and the draft, however, I am sure there are lots of things to which we’re not privy.  We start by watching the combine on the NFL Network, seeing how fast the players run and how long and high they can jump.  It leads into the private workouts that most of the QBs do, and then to the primetime lights of Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, when Roger Goodell calls out which players go where.

Too bad it’s not 1989, when Troy Aikman was drafted first and then, a year later on the 17th pick, Emmitt was available.  I wanted to name our son Troy Emmitt Tweddle, but the wife quickly overruled. After our franchise players are chosen and proceed through the off-season work outs, pre-season and into the regular season to finish with a perfect season, my Cowboys win the Super Bowl in the Meadowlands!!!! But I digress ….

I’m sure I’ve left out a few details in the overall process of drafting a player to winning the Super Bowl —   things like the player analysis a team does before the draft, contact negotiations, workout and nutrition plans and personal shoppers for those fancy clothes, etc.  But, as a fan, I don’t need to worry about that stuff. I just want my team to draft the best players to fill the holes on the team and watch them win in Jerry’s World.

What an NFL fan sees is somewhat parallel to what a user experience should be for a migration. For example, as an employee, I want my productivity tools to be available to me when I need them.  I need to login to AD, access my email and my data on SharePoint, and I want all my apps to work when I get my much-needed Windows 8 laptop. Pretty simple, right?

But, I’ve left out a few details.  Much like the NFL, the IT department needs to complete a few more steps when they move from one platform version to another, regardless of whether this is on-prem to on-prem, or on-prem to the cloud. Within the Dell Software Group, where we have migrated over 100 million users and mailboxes and more than 500 terabytes of data to SharePoint, we have the experience to lead a company to a successful migration — much like the success Jimmy Johnson had in the draft when leading my ‘Boys!

There are four simple steps to follow:

  1. Prepare. Migrating is a great idea, but, without a plan in place, you’ll be overwhelmed and over budget. See how to best prepare for a successful migration.
  2. Migrate. Whether you’re consolidating, restructuring, upgrading or migrating platforms, trust Dell to provide a safe and budget-friendly migration with ZeroIMPACT on end users, IT and productivity.
  3. Coexist. Migrations don’t happen overnight; sometimes you need two platforms to work together for an extended period of time. We’ve got the solutions to make that happen.
  4. Manage. After the migration, get the most out of your Microsoft platform investments. Dell helps reduce administration time and meet SLAs with solutions for automation, recovery, auditing and development.

A perfect draft, just like choosing the perfect partner and tools to perform a migration, will lead to success!  GO COWBOYS!!!!

Michael Tweddle is senior director of product management at Dell Software.  He has more than 13 years of experience working in all areas of Windows management and compliance. Follow him on Twitter @QuestITExpert.

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