In part one of our blog post series on EV charging platform migrations, we explained why you should migrate to a new EV charging software solution and the right time to do so. Once you have made the decision to switch your software, you are ready to plan and execute your platform migration. Setting the right expectations at the start is critical, as there is no such thing as a perfect migration. Every migration has unique challenges; unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. However, we have created an optimal process to minimize mistakes and mishaps. If you follow the next six steps, you will set yourself up for the best possible outcome.
6 steps to a successful EV charging platform migration
1. Define your business needs
Get clear about the results you want to achieve by undergoing a platform migration. Understand how migrating to a new platform will improve your capabilities to scale across markets, reduce costs and accommodate a broader range of use cases. To do that, start by answering the following questions that will help you decipher your business needs: What role does EV charging play in your business? Is it your primary focus or an additional service that you offer? What will your business look like in 5 years? How do you generate income, what charging use cases do you want to cover, and what software features do you need to accommodate them?
2. Determine the scope of your migration
Scoping is the process of translating the business logic, needs, and functionality from your existing platform to your new one. This includes your tariffs, partners, users, chargers, subscription plans, etc. Decide what data, such as sessions, users, and transactions, you would like to migrate and whether you need to migrate everything at once. You could prioritize some datasets over others and move them to the new platform in phases. Based on the scope, estimate the budget and ensure you have the resources needed to perform the migration.
3. Choose your migration strategy
There are two strategic approaches you can take. The first is a cut-off approach where you shift all planned business operations and data from one platform to another at once. The second is the iterative approach, where implementations are done from one phase to the next until the full migration is complete. The business impact of each approach is different. An immediate switch might be quicker, but avoiding interruptions to end customers and limiting losses of charging transactions is more complicated. The big benefit is that once you complete it, you have one platform to support and a unified user experience for all your customers. A migration done in phases will take more time, but in some cases, it might be the safer option. Having two platforms up and running simultaneously gives you a “fall-back” option if something goes wrong but also adds significant complexity in maintaining both systems. Choosing the best approach is not easy, but heeding the advice of EV charging experts can save a lot of headaches.
4. Plan your migration process
Formulate a comprehensive data migration plan. Your employees, as well as your customers and partners, work with your software. Communicating the migration process and the changes beforehand is essential to plan the workload for your team and set the right expectations for your customers. Work with your newly chosen software provider to ensure the shortest possible downtime and avoid service interruptions to end customers.
5. Prepare your assets
One of the first things to consider is what charge points you are migrating. Is your network composed of chargers from multiple brands? What OCPP protocol do they support? What connectivity do they have? Answering these questions will help you understand what additional resources you may need to handle the migration.
Evaluate and clean up your existing data before the migration process starts. Define how much data history you want to transfer and map it to the data structure in the new system to meet its requirements. Sometimes it’s best to leave some data behind and export it as a backup in case it is needed. Any exchange of data with external parties has to be considered as well like payment processors, external systems like CRM or billing, and roaming connections. If possible, back up your data so that you can quickly restore it if you need to.
6. Pre-execution testing
Train your staff on how to work with the new platform, so they can confidently import the previous data, set up tariffs, and all the necessary configurations. Always migrate parts of the data as a test run and check how it will continue to operate after the migration. Identify any issues related to data or configurations and ensure you apply the corrections before the final migration. This will help to limit any negative impact on your operations when you execute your EV charging platform migration.
AMPECO’s customized migrations keep clients in control
As described, there are two standard approaches to migrating your EV charging network: the cut-off and the iterative approach. Both have their unique benefits and challenges, and we walk you through them in detail to help you choose the best approach. However, in our experience, customers often need a third option tailored to their specific requirements.
For instance, you may require a setup where you keep your users’ proprietary data and integrate EV charging functionality into your existing apps, web portal, and customer-facing interfaces. This can easily be achieved via AMPECO’s APIs. Alternatively, you could migrate your users and EV charging assets to our platform but continue using your existing systems, such as payment processors, CRM, and ERP solutions. Regardless of your chosen approach, rest assured all customer and charger-related data is wholly owned by you and always will be.
Migrating to a new software platform can be a challenge, but it is infinitely more manageable with an experienced partner to guide you. If you’re considering migrating your software, talk to one of our EV charging experts, and we’ll help you get started.