FoxPro Migration Part 2: When should you migrate?

Part 2 of our series covering FoxPro migration and conversion...

Unless your system is simple, in most cases you’re not able to do anything immediately, a FoxPro migration or conversion project requires thought and planning to ensure a successful outcome.

If your system is small and simple then it’s likely that some off-the-shelf software now exists which could fulfil most of your business needs. In this scenario, a migration plan could be as simple as:

  1. Investigate the available options
  2. Evaluate features to make a selection or shortlist
  3. Select the new software
  4. Configure new software and migrate data
  5. Select a changeover date when staff would begin to use it.

You could choose to keep the bespoke FoxPro application running for a period. Use it as a read-only system or only complete existing work. Once it becomes no longer necessary or worthwhile keeping it around it can be retired.

If you want to convert your existing FoxPro data (or some amount of it) to a new system then you can get in touch with someone, such as ourselves, who can help you manipulate and convert your data into suitable export file formats to import into the new solution.

Start planning today

In most other cases, it’s advisable to start planning now. Don’t wait for issues to manifest themselves, or worse, the system stops working. Put together a working party across the areas of the business that use the application to design a migration plan. The nature and business of your system will dictate how any migration work can be undertaken.

There are many questions to consider:

  1. Which functions must be retained
  2. Which functions are no longer used
  3. Which functions don’t serve their purpose
  4. Are there opportunities to re-tool processes
  5. Has the business introduced new procedures or processes which would benefit from automation?
  6. What’s the expected lifetime of any new system?
  7. Technology platforms and developer availability for the future lifetime of the software
  8. Staff (re)training considerations for any new system

Once some of these fundamental questions have been considered you will be more able to calculate what kind of ROI (return on investment) you expect. This will enable you to begin to set some budget parameters to work within.

Identify project risks

You must also identify the risks involved in the migration project and how they might be resolved or mitigated. Some of the more common ones include considering transitional arrangements – how will the business continue to function day-to-day whilst a new system is developed? Are there enough resources to do this in-house whilst also being involved in the development of a new system?

Is it possible to do a staged migration so that you can realise benefits sooner or does it need to be meticulously planned for a “big bang” switchover date?

Unless your team has experience of migrating FoxPro systems then it can be extremely valuable to consult with an organisation with experience to help you avoid common pitfalls and other problems that can occur during a migration project.

They should be able to help you to:

  1. Discuss and understand your business goals to ensure that a new system will help you achieve them
  2. Design a cost-effective migration plan
  3. Understand how to ensure business continuity through the transitional period to a modern solution
  4. Identify the right technologies to migrate to
  5. Identify and help mitigate potential issues or challenges with the migration of your FoxPro application

A custom FoxPro system of any complexity will require a big investment of time and money to ensure success. There is no such thing as a typical migration project. Each one has its own unique circumstances and challenges. For all but the smallest systems, any migration project is a multi-month project which requires the talents and specialisations of many people to succeed.

Here at Foxsoft, we designed our FoxTrails service to help our clients with this essential planning step.

Once you have a plan of action, the next stage is budgeting and financing it. Our next article in the series tackles this subject.

Get in touch with us if you would like to discuss your individual needs and circumstances – we would be more than happy to provide some initial guidance or fill in the form below for some sensible advice on the subject.

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