How Microdec exceeded targets for upgrading users on a global scale
With 153 global offices and more than 5,600 staff in 38 countries, PageGroup is one of the world’s largest recruiters; so when they decided to migrate their Page Recruitment System (PRS) to a new version of Microdec Profile RPM software around the world, everyone knew the project would need to be brilliantly managed and executed to ensure success.
In January 2015, PageGroup set an ambitious target for 80% of its global users to be migrated to the new version of PRS by the end of the year, with the balance to follow in 2016. Each migration needed to be carried out on time, without negatively affecting any users - and with minimal downtime.
Implementing an individual IT project on this scale with so many local challenges was unprecedented at PageGroup, but not for Microdec.
At the heart of the project was Zsuzsanna Nicholson, Senior Project Manager at Microdec. As well as co-ordinating our team of engineers, consultants and technical developers, Zsuzsanna worked closely with the Michael Page Hub in London and regional groups made up of representatives from Latin America, Asia and Europe.
The project was managed using a global roadmap showing each migration and a short-term rolling plan, to bring focus to the matters in hand.
As each new country’s migration date approached, new testing platforms were prepared for both Microdec and PageGroup to carry out tests. On successful completion of these checks, the software was then moved to an environment that was especially built for the upgrade project and would later become the production environment at go-live.
When ready, PageGroup was able to add the various third-party integrations and other applications that made up their PRS solution. At least 2-3 weeks of testing followed, with both the local and central teams working to ensure everything was as it should be. In a weekly meeting at PageGroup offices in Central London, information was shared between the Microdec project manager, PageGroup’s project managers, business analysts, helpdesk team and other stakeholders as necessary.
Each migration was different to the last. Local implications such as third party software, local language and country-specific workflows and processes changed each project in some way. The time planned for each migration was based on the complexity of the operation. At any one time there could be 6 countries running at different stages of the project consecutively.
The cut-over to the new system was always scheduled for a weekend and would typically run from Thursday or Friday until Saturday evening. The migration work itself may take anywhere from 8 to 40 hours depending on the size and complexity of the database. Microdec staff would often work overnight on a rota, handing tasks over at agreed break points. Throughout this time, the Project Manager is on-hand day and night, following the process and helping to resolve any issues that arose.
PageGroup with Microdec support carried out Go-live testing on the Saturday and when successfully complete, the information was shared among the teams before a final ‘Go’ was agreed and the environment opened up to users to seamlessly start work again on Monday.
Before the end of 2015, we had already migrated more than 80% of users, exceeding the targets set by PageGroup. By the end of the 2016, all projects had been successfully completed on time without a single roll-back [where a problem forces you to revert back to the previous version].
Zsuzsanna comments “This was a large-scale, high-risk project with many individual challenges. We have a very good working relationship with PageGroup and our experience in projects of this scale meant we were able to guide them through successful implementations time after time”