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Lessons learned from a successful legacy migration

successful legacy migration
Chris Paul

Chris Paul

Market Advisor

Explores how to perform a successful legacy migration

25 Apr 2016

When developing a strategy for managing heritage books of business, the cost and risks associated with migrating the data are often cited as the most significant barriers to considering full heritage platform transformation.

This is understandable; anyone who has worked in our industry over the past 20 years no doubt has at least one horror story regarding a failed migration. But why do these projects fail, and how can we make them succeed? Well, Guardian Financial Services (GFS) recently completed the migration of over one million contracts in just over two years. Below is a summary of some of the challenges it faced and how it achieved success.

The Challenge

The three key challenges facing GFS were:

> Age and quality of the data - some contracts dated back to the 1920s!

> Range and complexity of the products - the book of business contained over 50 product types including Life, Investment, Pension, Protection and Annuities.

> Number of source systems - the source system was a collection of mainframe- and PC-based applications leading to multiple and often contradictory sources of data.

The Approach

Guardian's approach looked to minimise these risks as much as possible. The programme of work was split into a number of 'Waves', with the simpler products being tackled first. This allowed the migration team to refine their processes on a subset of the overall data before extending to cover the full scope. At the end of Wave 1, the team had developed a repeatable process, which was then reused for the remainder of the project waves, reducing cost and risk while allowing changes to reflect product complexity.

The challenge of integrating data from multiple-source systems was tackled through the creation of a single mapping document that defined how records in the target platform should be populated. Data was mapped from a source, derived from a source, calculated or hard-coded. The mapping document addressed the challenge of multiple-source systems holding inconsistent data by defining the single point of truth for each field.

Finally, Guardian used a cost benefit and risk-based approach when evaluating the scope of data to migrate. The book of business was evaluated by product line and contract status when deciding on the scope and volume of data to migrate. For inactive contracts, only a subset of the contract data was migrated. This further simplified and de-risked the project.

The Outcome

In just over two years, GFS successfully migrated over one million contracts and 250 million historical records supporting over 50 different product types.

To learn more about Guardian's successful heritage transformation, see our case study.

Chris Paul is Market Advisor at Aquila Heywood, the largest supplier of life and pensions administration software solutions in the UK.

Further Reading