Thankfully, this is not an example from a UK business but from Munich, Germany.
Fifteen years ago, the decision was made by IT specialists to migrate the city’s systems from Microsoft Windows to a Linux operating system. The change was to release them from Microsoft’s costs, terms and conditions. Linux was chosen for economic reasons and as the software was modifiable, they could make it meet their needs.
Excellent, you may think; a great initiative.
Not in this instance.
So, what went wrong?
In 2017 they’ve commenced their return to Microsoft Windows. Sadly, the Linux venture has proved to be a lesson in poor project management. The operating systems and software are excellent, it was human error that led them down an unfortunate avenue.
Munich’s in-house IT team made the mistake of thinking that altering the software and installing a new operating system across thousands of devices wouldn’t be a huge issue.
Professional and experienced IT support services provider and consultant Bob Lewis-Basson, who is a key member of Thames Valley Business Advisors, has looked at the Munich situation and believes that the greatest error was the aim to handle all IT demands in-house. Professional IT Support could have saved the city from an expensive embarrassment.
Poor project management invites problems
The Register’s Andrew Silver has written that he feels the poor project management created numerous problems.
- In-house IT staff were not capable of completing the task of migration.
- The council did not seek professional IT support, they continued to work alone.
- Too much software; this is a city where over 800 different kinds of software are present, it is an exceptional issue.
To the IT team’s credit, they did manage to find work arounds for half of them.
- Lack of support. City employees found the move to Linux frustrating, not because of the software but the lack of assistance and support resources.
- No matter how impressive the operating system is, a lack of readily available support is guaranteed to result in unhappy employees.
- Politics, a nasty word! Councils are not renowned for transparency or efficiency. It seems that politics got in the way of communication during a massive undertaking and essentially poisoned it.
Lessons to be learned
A positive aspect to the Munich matter is that other companies and authorities can learn how not to fall in to the traps their IT experts did. From their mistakes, millions of pounds worth of failed projects could be prevented.
Bob Lewis-Basson believes that any migration is possible but only with the right business IT support and project management. He invites you to contact him if you have any migration project management needs. A third-party specialist assessment by someone who has no vested interest or loyalties in the business environment can prove surprisingly beneficial.
He can also help with IT areas including 24/7 accessibility to remote IT support, fitting large server rooms, network security audits and consultancy.
Don’t leave projects to chance; seek professional advice.