An enterprise system can mean different things to different people. In this instance we are defining an enterprise system as maintaining central control over an entire access control system, while each local facility maintains independent control of its individual operations. Its power gives system administrators at the main facility the ability to configure and monitor all locations from that single site. It also allows them to simultaneously monitor alarms from multiple facilities from one convenient workstation. Whether your organization consists of a few locally dispersed facilities or many that span the globe, an enterprise solution scales as your company grows.
The main factor to keep in mind when you begin to plan the migration to an enterprise access control solution is preparation. You need to know what resources are available to you, who the key players are to help you in this process, and how to develop a solid plan to get the system up and running successfully.
When migrating to an enterprise system, you will want to avoid the following pitfalls:
- Failure to define the “Operational Paradigm”
- Failure to define performance and scalability expectations
- Poor coordination between multiple vendors
- Moving data without a plan
- Poor preparation for the unknown
Defining the “Operational Paradigm”
Often organizations get tripped up because they don’t define the operational paradigm. More simply put, they fail to address the administrative processes, reporting and monitoring and control experiences.
The migration to an enterprise system provides the opportunity to review and clean up databases, evaluate your old models and technology, and see where improvements or replacements can come in. The perfect time to define existing pain points is at the process’s beginning, not at the end. Often, this process affords the system owner an opportunity to review and clean up the existing database, which has more than likely been subjected to years of management by different people and groups.
Among the questions to ask are: What reports can you take advantage of? What should be updated? With the increased capabilities for alarm monitoring, how will you incorporate that into your workflow?
An equally important administrative process is reevaluating your naming conventions. Will existing conventions work across the entire enterprise system, or are changes required? Make sure that you have a naming convention that works across the entire enterprise system, keeping in mind how that convention will impact different groups, including administration, reporting, monitoring and integrations.
With an enterprise system, you now have multiple buildings to monitor, each with its own front door. How do you distinguish one from another under your new naming conventions, realizing the importance of having all this in place prior to starting the migration?
It is also key to streamline reporting before you begin this type of project. Currently, your organization has information in multiple locations relating to people, places, policies and ideas. How much of this data do you retain, and how do you manage it?
One consideration is adopting an advanced reporting solution designed to harvest and organize your business information properly. Such tools help turn business intelligence into security intelligence through intuitive Web-based interfaces that allow you to scrutinize the information without the need to print or review hard copies.
The second big step in conducting a successful migration is to define performance and scalability expectations.
Understanding the volume that you are planning to put through your enterprise will allow for proper definition of the overall system architecture. After all, every system has its limits, so proper analysis of input activity, whether it’s a door status monitor or request to exit traffic, will assist with this process.