This past weekend, I was sitting in my backyard and looking at the leaves start to turn to their autumn hues, and I heard a noise from a few houses down. One of our neighbors behind us is having a large expansion done to their home. The workers there were starting to put windows into the new construction — filling in holes in the wall that were previously covered by small tarps. A few weeks earlier, there was a huge tarp over what was eventually going to be the roof. At that time, there wasn’t really much of a difference between the inside of the house or the outside. The past month has been a transition period for the home, to say the least. When the home is in this state of limbo, a lot of things could muck up the overall project. What if a storm hits? What if the tarp leaks? What if some key infrastructure piece, such as plumbing or electric, gets damaged and affects life in the livable half of the house? I’ll be honest: I’m in my 30s, and I have kids, therefore I’ve watched a lot of HGTV and the DIY network. I can’t tell you how many shows consist of someone trying to do something themselves, and then being rescued by professional contractors. At what point do these “Do-it-Yourself”-ers realize they are in over their heads? Some disaster occurs, and they realize they need help from someone who’s not only done it before, but done it often, and done it well. They need help from someone who understands all the local and state codes and building regulations. They need someone who knows which tools to use and how to properly use them.
As I thought about it more, this logic lends itself to why firms hire consultants. Ideally, firms would love to staff everything in-house since they are already paying their staff salaries. But unfortunately, the expertise (or time commitment) just may not be there. A good consultant will bring years of experience to a particular project. A good consultant will have done this sort of project multiple times per year. A good consultant will know industry best practices, and know what strategies work and don’t work to meet an end-goal.
To take this analogy a bit further and tie it into Enterprise Content Management, imagine the house expansion project is now a DMS migration from one product to another. You want that period of time when you’re in limbo (running both systems simultaneously) to be as short in duration as possible. And you need to make sure everything is done properly to avoid events that can eat up your budget. Let’s put this in table form:
|House Expansion||DMS Migration|
|Infrastructure||Need to tap into existing plumbing/electric, with minimal effect to the rest of the house||Need to tap into existing storage and datacenter equipment, with minimal downtime to production systems|
|Rules||Local, state, and federal safety codes||Design, implementation, and security best practices|
|Conversion||Before the structure has a roof and windows to seal it up, external forces such as weather can damage progress already made.||While content is being migrated, you want to ensure that content is not editable on both sides at the same time. This would complicate the final migration.|
|Resources||For best results, interview and hire a contractor with solid references||For best results, interview and hire a consultant with solid references|
Anything that goes wrong will eat up project time and budget. You see it in all kinds of projects. You can protect yourself and your environment by ensuring the resources doing the work are honest, reliable, and proficient at what they do. Kraft Kennedy has been helping firms build out and expand their environments for over 25 years.