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The Innovation in Implementation Series

Bringing an agile approach to systems transformation: Download paper #2

Agile working is about eliminating the barriers to getting work done efficiently, with the greatest flexibility and fewest constraints.

Agile has been around for a long time but, when applied in practice to an enterprise systems implementation project, is easy to get wrong.

In the Innovation in Implementation series, various individuals from Alfa draw on their talent and experience to discuss how you can work in an agile fashion to deliver quick and often. The newest paper in the series, #2 Agility in Data Migration: Onboarding Portfolios Efficiently and Effectively, is out now.

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Historically, systems replacement projects have focused on large ‘big-bang’ milestone deliverables that transform complex systems landscapes overnight. Such projects often span multiple products or countries, build in a large number of integrations, and refresh all of the operational procedures - all as part of one single, giant effort.

In Derisking Your Systems Replacement Project through Phased Implementation, we discuss how the lessons learned from the industry, alongside the rise of agile methodologies, have prompted alternative, phased implementation approaches which present an exciting opportunity for companies to move away from the traditional models that bring a high level of risk, complexity and cost.

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Phased Implementations


Working in a phased manner is difficult to perfect – especially for early phases – and project teams must adapt to continuous delivery whilst retaining a strong focus on the overall vision.


A phased approach not only allows companies to add value sooner, but also empowers them to make more informed and pragmatic decisions for subsequent phases, creating a stronger – and more balanced – overall solution.


Agile projects usually require a clearer vision of scope that often drives pragmatism in decision-making throughout the project. This enables delivery to occur in an incremental fashion.


Solving the challenges of the phased approach, and converting them into opportunities, hinges on clear communication and commitment within the organisation, starting with executive leadership.


    ‘Big-bang’ projects are a daunting endeavour. Not only are organisations obliged to contend with high and often overrunning costs, but they must also manage customer satisfaction and operational change for a large portion of their business.

  • Making the choice

    A promise to be strict on scope, shielding the project from executive pressures, is key, and a high level of trust is required in both the project and the end product.

  • Vendor and system selection

    Having a system that can meet your phased aspirations is hugely important. Configurability is the cornerstone of this choice, as it provides organisations with the ability to improve upon or enhance existing configuration to reflect new phases.

  • Vendor and system selection

    Ultimately, selecting a vendor with strong integration experience and a system with robust API capabilities provides the best opportunity to succeed.

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    #1 Derisking Your Systems Replacement through Phased Implementation

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The second paper in the series focuses on what is often thought of as the most challenging aspect of an implementation project: data migration.

This usually takes the form of either migrating existing portfolios from legacy applications as part of a system implementation, or onboarding newly acquired portfolios to an established production system. Common to both is the need for data to be migrated in an effective and efficient manner, with a pragmatically balanced data selection crucial to successful delivery.

In Onboarding Portfolios Efficiently and Effectively, we explore how agile techniques can minimise risk when manipulating large volumes of sensitive data. We also discuss how cross-functional teams, empowered to drive pragmatic scoping decisions, can accelerate the delivery of business value and provide robust support for future onboarding.

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  • Agile Methodology

    Agile techniques form the core of a repeatable, measurable process that builds the confidence required for a successful large-scale delivery event.

  • Agile Methodology

    Having confidence in your organisation’s ability to efficiently onboard new portfolios empowers the business to quickly pivot and take advantage of new market opportunities.

  • Migrating Data

    Data migration is a task in which it is essential to interpret existing representations of business concepts, then adapt them to an altogether different paradigm.

  • Migrating Data

    It is the varied experience and expertise within the team, combined with the empowerment to challenge decisions and propose alternatives, that will unlock the greatest efficiency in migration implementation.

  • Migrating Data

    A strong cross-functional team is best equipped to strike the appropriate balance of pragmatism and functional richness in the migration scope.

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    #2 Agility in Data Migration - Onboarding Portfolios Efficiently and Effectively

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