The Rise Of Do IT Yourself

Posted by Barney Haye on Apr 28, 2016

DIY is a common term these days, but is mostly used within the home improvement market. The DIY culture was first demonstrated with property improvement work carried out by US college graduates in the 1970s, as they rolled up their sleeves to renovate old houses to live in. Soon after came the business advancement of this culture in the form of many of the huge retailers we’ve all come to know, like The Home Depot, Lowe’s and the Kingfisher Group.

In the IT sector, never one to align itself with common everyday phrases, a better-known label could be self-service. Self-service applications – designed to be used without specialist knowledge or domain expertise – have been rapidly advancing, driven chiefly by the explosion of apps on smartphones and tablets where users have to get by without live support from specialists.

Transvault’s own domain over the last ten years has been exclusively that of the specialists. Moving an email archive from one format or platform to another in a reliable and trusted way requires a high degree of understanding about archiving platforms, message variants and the complex messaging meta-data. Additionally, it’s important to have a clear understanding of any regulatory compliance or governance that may apply to the data, as well as domain skills in servers, networks, security, databases, email and cloud environments.

Some companies actively seek to use an accountable, external party to deliver a specialist, one-off migration project to an agreed statement of work as good working practice.

Transvault’s partner certification scheme has proven to be a great way of ensuring the capability and skill-levels of those external parties (or partners) working with its software. This highly successful approach has underpinned relationships with around 100 service providers that have taken our methodologies and tools to deliver over 1,200 migration projects to their customers.

Our application design has evolved to enhance usability, getting closer to the ideal of a tablet app where the user is lead through a pre-defined workflow and does not have to refer to an instruction manual. The screenshot above, taken from our Transvault Sprint archive migration product, highlights a clear display and logical steps designed to minimize risk and remove complex options that could cause confusion.

We have also addressed one of the most challenging aspects of a migration – archive data quality – by introducing the revolutionary (in our market) concept of a ‘Live Trial’ mode.  This is where the entire legacy email archive can be test-extracted with an evaluation licence to ensure project success, before the commitment to starting a production migration is made.

Ease of use and self-testing are some of the reasons why Transvault Sprint has been successfully deployed as an Assisted Migration service offering. Unlike Managed Migrations, where the service partner is likely to deliver an end-to-end migration service, Assisted Migrations focus only on the pre-production phases of planning, installation and piloting, leaving the customer’s own engineers to get involved in an initial proof-of-concept and then complete the migration project.

Archive migrations are confounding types of projects sometimes – the requirement to retrieve and validate all of the millions of emails in even a small corporate archive can uncover large pockets of data that need special attention and even customized processing. Whilst modern email archive systems are fairly reliable now, some of this data was stored away many years ago by earlier software versions, yet to earn a reputation for accuracy or reliability.

The value of working with a certified partner is that they know archives and migrations and can diagnose and resolve such issues, with an option to apply an in-box upgrade to Transvault Migrator, the most powerful solution in the world with over 400 parameter switches that can be used to adjust methods of processing and tolerances to non-conformity. Migrator licences also include a provision for adaptive development – this is customised development commissioned by a partner to manage a very specific outcome for a customer.

Given this potential for complexity, the announcement this month of a new packaged archive migration solution from Dell Software is one to keep an eye on. A software-only tool, delivered by a company completely without heritage in solving data-related issues created in third-party archive systems and without a specialist services organisation on call for each customer, is a huge leap, but one that announces a new intention – the DIY Email Archive Migration Project.

In short, there are lots of very smart IT teams capable of designing and running archive migrations to successful completion. We want to empower them to run a project with Transvault Sprint so we will be taking Assisted Migrations to the next level with free access to self-evaluations through selected partners, ensuring customers get a full choice of our proven version of “Do-Assisted or Managed Migrations.

The choice will be yours.