A Cutover is a transition from one system to another while maintaining service-related data. As the previous system is already in operation, i.e. business processes rely on it, the disruption of the service must be kept at a minimum to avoid losses on business transactions, customer churn or fines by authorities and regulators.

What are the challenges?

The challenges in a Cutover come from a typically broad set of IT systems, interfaces, batches and processes which are well established in a running organization. But when parts of the system are exchanged, questions arise regarding data integrity, initial data loads, etc. On top of that, as the activities required to exchange a part of the system are not part of day-to-day operations, manual interaction and execution are required to perform the Cutover. We call this Cutover Orchestration or Cutover Management: The planning and coordination of all resources (technical and staff) in the extraordinary situation of a Cutover.

The data to be maintained in a Cutover is typically Client data, transaction data, audit data, market data, financial data. Depending on the system use, the data might include internal and operational data like HR information and also product planning and data used in strategic planning. If the data is not available via interfaces of the daily business, then data migration has to be executed on the day or weekend of the Cutover as well. A key aspect is then the data reconciliation, which ensures that the correct and complete data has been migrated. In some scenarios that can be a rather simple task, in other cases (e.g. when cutting over an Insurance Management or Investment Management platform) this requires profound scoping, planning and execution. The time pressure arises from the need to reconcile and validate the data in a typically tight timeframe of a migration day or migration weekend.

What is required to manage a Cutover smoothly?

In our projects, we always start with the definition of the Cutover Scope, which maps out all involved systems, platforms, interfaces, batches, and other technicalities. You can call this re-engineering the architectural and technical landscape. In parallel, we tailor the so-called Cutover concept to the specific situation at hand. The centerpiece is a so-called flight path on how we are increasingly preparing and practicing for the actual Cutover. Key elements are systems and data involved, business departments and support areas involved as well as the communication and decision making concept along the waypoints of the project.

When is a good time to start Cutover preparation?

We hear this question often – and the answer is for many surprising: You should start planning your Cutover straight away when kicking-off the project! A key reason is that many project stakeholders will be anyway involved in the Cutover and more often than not, the review of the Cutover scope and the concept is relevant input for other project team members. Timing is very important in all we do.

If you have any question or comments, or would like to have a chat on your current and upcoming projects Cutovers, please get in touch. More information on what we do in our Readiness Advisory is available here.

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