At enterprises, rolling out new technology often portends an extended period of adjustment. There are new procedures, new rules, and new software. Everything is new, and that’s good. But it’s also… confusing.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, pre-deployment should be anything but confusing. It should be productive. It should be … empowering.
So, how should you prepare for an effective MFT rollout? Here’s a realistic blueprint for how things ought to unfold:
By now, end users have at least heard that they’re getting an MFT solution. Some will be eager to use it while others might be a little apprehensive. Maybe they like using DropBox, or maybe they’re worried they won’t “get” the new system.
Keeping in mind that feelings will run the gamut, you’ll need to prepare users for deployment. Here’s how to devise a communication strategy:
1. Create awareness – Start doing this well in advance of deployment. Pin data security-related posters, banners, and info sheets around the office. Email entire departments. Deliver paper letters. Any activities that build awareness about the impending rollout will minimize concerns regarding the what, when, why, and how of deployment.
2. Identify key individuals – Who’s going to lead deployment activities? Whose support do you need most? Key individuals will include IT personnel as well as end users. On the user side, determine who your power users are. Their support could be immensely helpful during training. Also identify influential users who might assist with your awareness campaign.
3. Document user frustrations – Even the apprehensive set will have some frustrations with the status quo. Documenting user concerns shows that you care about making the transition as smooth as possible for them. It should also inform your technical and business priorities.
Besides communicating with individuals whose support will enable a successful rollout, you’ll need to develop a technical strategy. Enlist IT personnel, managers, and key users to craft a plan that satisfies technical and user requirements, both of which are often intertwined.
Technical plans vary substantially depending on specific business needs. That said, here are general guidelines for making yours effective:
1. Assess files, resources, and processes – Which files are critical to the success of your deployment? Which processes do you seek to improve via MFT? Answering these questions will help you know how to proceed.
2. Identify risks – What potential problems could force you to deviate from your plan? Knowing what they are ahead of time can help you mitigate them when they arise.
3. Create an environment snapshot – From a technical standpoint, what are you working with? From hosts, legacy applications, user trends, file transfer configurations, and security, you’ll need to develop a keen understanding of the working environment you’re about to improve.
Frequently, conducting an inventory will inform your environment snapshot. Work closely with individuals who understand user groups to figure out what users need based on resources currently at their disposal. Identifying the applications they depend on, how they use them, and what customizations they require (or lack) will help you create a comprehensive inventory.
Testing, pilots, and adoption
So, what do you do after preparing users and nailing down technical requirements? You perform tests. Testing should include pilots, deployment design, and risk mitigation studies, all based on the data you’ve collected thus far.
Identifying strategies for migrations, integrations, and systems management should be primary goals for your tests. By the end of the testing period, you should know the precise configurations necessary to make the rollout a success.
And when it comes to user experience, pilots should help you pinpoint hurdles to adoption and determine whether additional incentives are necessary to increase it.
Ultimately, pre-deployment preparation will empower users, ensure minimal systems maintenance, and address all technical concerns necessary for an effective rollout. Everything will be new, but nothing will be confusing. Tackling the challenges outlined above can make it happen.
This is the ninth post in a 10-part series on managing file transfers. Read earlier posts here. Be sure to subscribe to our blog to receive the last post of the series.