The Daunting Task of Switching Systems

Posted by Brian Esmao - September 15, 2020


Have you ever considered moving to a new home and meticulously weighed the pros and cons, but still weren’t sure if it was the right move? You might have had a strong feeling that it would just be easier to stay where you are. Maybe you got overwhelmed thinking about searching through listings, lifting all the furniture, or worried “What if I don’t like the new place as much as this one?” Sometimes it’s the same way with switching a software system that is integral to the way your organization operates. But at some point, the benefits of moving far outweigh the convenience of sticking with what you’ve got.

A bug tracking system is critical to our LMS development team’s daily workflow. After using the same system for years, we knew there had to be more modern technology out there that could transform and optimize the way we work. So we made a switch to Atlassian’s Jira, which took some planning and work. Here are some tips and lessons learned from our experience that may help you with your switch to a new system.


Find Out What The Team Needs

Meeting with your team is a great first step. They use the tool every day so it’s important you know what they like and dislike, and what’s on their wish list for a new system. For our team, searchability and ease of access were must-haves for the new system. Having to install and use the outdated native client for our old system was cumbersome, and the fact that Jira would be cloud-based with a modern web UI was a big plus for us.

You can send out a survey to your team to get these kinds of insights. Or better yet, hold a meeting to get everyone’s candid thoughts and to look at potential alternatives together. Consider sending out an email a few days ahead of time to get your team consciously thinking about how they use your current tools on a daily basis before the meeting.


Just Try It Out

Even after you do your due diligence and research, there might still be some question marks about whether the new system is the right fit. It’s at this point that it’s really easy to get stuck, because of those little unknowns. Doing a trial of the new system may help get some of those questions answered. For example, we had a process in place to grab release notes from our issue database and sync them up with an external website. We had no idea how we would re-implement this process in Jira, but we committed to using Jira alongside our old system for a few weeks to figure out the finer details of how we could use it. Through this process we found that we could set up release notes in Jira, and grab them through the Jira API to sync them up.

It can be hard to envision how complex tools and software will meet your needs. A good software vendor will provide plenty of resources to support you in using their product successfully. Take advantage of any demos available and look into what deals are offered for a trial period. If a trial isn’t free, consider paying for a month or two for a small number of users to get their feet wet with the software and find out how it really works.


What To Do With Legacy Data

After using our old issue tracking software for years, we had accumulated a ton of historical data. Thousands of tracked issues with screenshots, issue descriptions, and workflow events. We weren’t sure if it would be possible to migrate it all, or if we even wanted to. In our case, we decided not to do a mass migration of data to the new system and get a fresh start. We are keeping an archive of the old database just in case, but starting fresh with Jira gave us the opportunity to re-focus on the projects and issues that were truly important to us.

It's worth looking into if your data can be migrated to the new system. It might be as simple as exporting from the old system and importing into the new. But also consider ditching your data if it doesn’t bring value any more. Or only migrate the relevant data. Get rid of the data that doesn’t spark joy.


It’s Worth It

When you’ve outgrown the apartment you’ve been at for years, moving to a new place that fits your needs can give you the opportunity grow and do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Switching to the right software system can enable your organization in the same way. With our switch to Jira, we continue to grow our efficiencies and agilities and support our future growth.

If you invest in the time and effort it takes to move to a new system sooner rather than later, your organization will benefit from the investment now and in the long run. Set aside the time on your busy calendar to take the necessary steps, and you’ll be well on your way to switching systems before you know it.


What We Learned About Our Customers

After having to do a major system transition ourselves, we gained more insight into how our customers might feel about moving to a new Learning Management System. We can incorporate this knowledge into our customer service and sales philosophy by not only showing what we believe is great about our product, but also helping our customers plan out a seamless transition to a new system. We know that making sweeping changes is challenging when the business needs to keep operating – and so we can provide even better support when our customers are making the transition themselves.

Considering switching your LMS or Associate Development platform? Schedule a call with us and we can tell you in 15 minutes if Cognition might be the right fit for you.

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Topics: Learning Management System (LMS), Service & Support

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