Business Intelligence Challenge – Product Upgrades & Migrations, Impact Assessment - 3

Posted by Muneeswara C Pandian
October 29th, 2008

The next step after ‘Object Consolidation’ is Impact Assessment.

What is Impact Assessment? The process in which, we try to determine the variations or gaps in the existing objects/reports by comparing against the target platform.

The gaps or variations in an existing environment could be due to an existing function being replaced by a new function or an existing function not being supported with an equivalent function in the new platform.

Steps Involved in Impact Assessment

We try to do this comparison against the target platform ‘Impact Assessment’ in an automated way by leveraging the underlying metadata of the existing environment.

1. Take the ‘object metadata’ collected as part of the Object Consolidation

2. Collect details of the possible issues faced during the upgrade or migration process. The source of details would be from

  • prior experience in executing similar projects
  • the manuals and release notes provided by the product vendor
  • the pilot project executed with the subset of objects from the existing setup

3. Convert the ‘issues’ identified into a relational structure table.

  • An issue could be an observation like the function ‘sum’ has been now changed in the newer version of the product to the word ‘sumif’
  • One way of converting this issue to a relational structure is to have two column names ‘issue_case’ and ‘issue_type’ where in issue_case will carry the value ‘sum’ and issue_type will carry the value ‘aggregate’.
  • Converting to a relational structure enables using SQL queries for automated search of the impacted objects by joining the ‘object metadata’ table with the ‘issue’ table

4.Run SQL queries joining the ‘issue’ table with the ‘object metadata’ table to determine the impacted existing objects

5.Classify each object by the degree of impact(number of impact points) and decide on the strategy of upgrade/migration for each these groups

Benefits of Impact Assessment

  • Foresee the challenges and being well prepared for system upgrade or migration
  • Ability to estimate and plan the execution & testing phases very effectively
  • Enable building comprehensive test cases
  • Minimize surprises and provide confidence to the execution team
  • Helps in making decisions of whether we should consider a object to be built from scratch or upgrade/migrate

Impact Assessment Challenges

First gathering the knowledge of issues; the options are talk to a person who has done an upgrade project to collect the issue details or perform a quick pilot with an appropriate sample from the set of objects to determine the issues.

Second conversion of issues logs into relational structure and running of queries to determine the impacts; both of these would require a good understanding of the underlying metadata structure, so explore the metadata structure and understand them to the fullest from the point of analysis.

Next time let us discuss on one other key task in an upgrade project…

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