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MES Migration - The three critical factors

August 12, 2015

MES Migration - The three critical factors

In the previous article we have established how and when the need to migrate from current legacy MES is realized. Today we will look into the details of what factors should influence the migration decision.

The three factors which affect a migration project are:

1) The time required,
2) The risk involved,
3) The cost incurred.

The time required to migrate invariably depends on the state of the current process. Any migration strategy applied should consider the total time required to migrate. The timeline calculation should factor in all three stages of migration: pre-migration preparation, the migration itself and the post migration settlement period. It would be wise to build in some time for contingencies and unforeseen challenges which might present themselves during the execution of any of the three stages.

The risk, just like any project, carries inherent and contingent risks. Risk exposure, which is basically the probability of a risky situation presenting itself times the cost of the risk including its mitigation, shouldbe considered. Risk analysis allows decision makers to gauge what they stand to lose in case the migration doesn’t go as per the plan. The better the understanding of risks associated with a migration project, the better the chances of the management selecting the most suitable migration technique.

The third and probably the most important factor for the C-Suite of any organization is the cost of migration. Depending on the strategy being considered and the existing processes, costs would include any expenses on the old application, expenses associated with switching to the new application and the other peripheral cost components, like internal man hours of work required, down-time losses which constitute operational costs and risk related costs too.

It is critical to highlight at this juncture that the time, cost and risk associated with the migration project and the choice of a migration strategy should be weighed based on three vital sub-factors or conditions.

First, the interdependence,signifies how much the other systems of the organization depend on the existing MES application to function, when the interdependence is lower, all three i.e. the time, the cost and the risk related to migration tend to reduce, and vice versa.

Second is the the level of automation in the process which the existing MES is responsible for. The more automation the existing MES provides, the higher would be the time, risk and cost associated with replacing it and vice versa.

Third condition would be the downtime impact. This is a crucial sub-set of the two conditions mentioned above, as the higher the interdependence and automation for the current application, the larger its down-time impact and thereby larger risks, costs and time.

Ideally in plants where there is a manual or almost non-existential MES application, the primary factor to consider while deciding a migration strategy, becomes the cost followed by the time required and the risk associated. In companies where there is a standalone MES and where interdependence is lower, again cost is the most important factor followed by time and risk.

In operations where the current MES is integrated with the other organizational applications, the interdependence becomes high and thereby both cost and risk become important followed by the time required. Finally in cases where there is both high integration and high automation, risk becomes the topmost factor followed by the cost and the time. This is because in such circumstances, interdependence, downtime impact and automation level is high, hence the operation is at a higher risk of disruption and that needs to be considered first and foremost.

Once all the three factors are clearly understood, it is easier for companies to make a more informed and logical choice as to which migration strategy to follow. So, the next logical question is what are these migration strategies and how do they work?

In the next few articles, we will discuss the different types of migration strategies as well as pros and cons associated with each of them. Keeping in mind the factors discussed above organizations can make the best choice for their given set of conditions. In the very next article we will see how the Big-Bang strategy works, so stay tuned!!

Coming up!
New White Paper release:

September 3, 2015

MES Migration Strategies

MES Migration Strategies.

By Critical Manufacturing

A MES migration project represents a big endeavor for any organization as it involves a significant amount of time, cost, risk and it involves many stakeholders within the company.

Critical Manufacturing has created a white paper that covers the topic of MES migration strategies to facilitate this process in the companies that are considering changing their existing system.

Stay tuned for the release of the MES Migration Strategies White paper!

Meanwhile you can still enjoy the read of our article published in Future Fab International (Issue 43): "MES Migration An Absolute Need or a Utopia". Click below to download the paper.


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