Conversions involve major changes to existing systems or applications, or the introduction of systems or data sets resulting from acquisitions or mergers. Conversions are a unique and more complex type of systems change, which may span multiple platforms. Consequently, they have a higher level of risk requiring additional, specialized controls. Strong conversion policies, procedures, and controls are critical. Improperly handled, conversions can result in corrupt data. Moreover, because the ramifications of conversion span technology operations, it is important for management to re-evaluate periodically all operations processes and consider the appropriateness of process re-engineering. Conversions require management to draw on a number of control disciplines involving change processes and strategic planning, including project management, change control, testing, contingency planning, back-up, vendor management, and post-implementation review. An improperly executed conversion can create inefficiencies including serious degradation of IT performance, internal and external user dissatisfaction, accounting problems, customer dissatisfaction, reputation damage, and critical operational disruptions.
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