Keys to Successful Migration to a New EV Charging Management Platform

Posted By Driivz Team

April 14, 2024

Migration to a new EV charging management platform is a milestone event for a charging network operator (CPO, eMSP or EVSP).  But it needn’t be a daunting one.  The attraction of a new platform lies in superior operational excellence – more efficient network operation and growth, reduced TCO, and a seamless charging experience.  Migration to a new platform becomes very attractive when viewed through this three-part lens.

Charging Operators invest in migration when legacy infrastructure impedes their success.  They may bump against a ceiling for managing charging subscribers and scaling up charging networks. They may encounter roadblocks to onboarding roaming partners.  Their legacy platform may require new, costly resources to scale operations, impacting TCO.  And most importantly, their legacy charging management platform may be “fraying”, delivering a driver experience of declining quality.

 

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The impetus for migration frequently originates as a micro-issue, a tactical problem.  Subsequent evaluation of a new platform often proceeds in a “bottom-up” fashion from this sore point, coloring the entire migration discussion.  But migration is a strategic undertaking, involving much more than just consideration of individual capabilities and benefits.

EV Charging Management Platform Migration Considerations

The most important considerations in deciding to migrate, choosing a platform and actual migration, are:

  • Impact on drivers – migration should be as transparent as possible to end-users. Ideally, impact (if any) should be strongly positive, offering an improved user experience, with minimal disruption in access or service.
  • Effect upon internal customers – IT staff and business users should enjoy greater ease of use, uptime, and efficiency. The new platform must preserve existing business models, and hopefully enable new business opportunities.
  • Revenue continuity – the migration process must not disrupt revenue or cause “revenue leakage” for any part of the EV charging ecosystem. Preserving transactions and in-place business models must be paramount.  For example, billing and collections for EV charging in process during the last moments of the legacy system must carry over to the new system or be billed and closed out as part of the legacy system shut-down.  Transactions occurring after the transition initiate a new billing cycle processed by the new platform.
  • Balancing risk and TCO – all operational transitions carry risk. The new platform should by its nature mitigate that risk. The decision to migrate and the migration itself must reduce TCO, not increase it.

EV Charging Platform Migration Strategies

In general, there exist two transition strategies: big bang and iterative. In a big bang strategy, the transition from the legacy platform occurs as a single cut-over event: the legacy platform operates until a “zero-hour” and the new system begins running at zero-hour-plus-one. In an iterative approach, individual operational components are swapped out, one at a time, and new ones are made operational in their place.

Each of these approaches carries risks and benefits. Big bang requires comprehensive preparation down to a very detailed level. It also demands a fallback and remediation strategy should the cut-over reveal unanticipated issues.

An iterative approach is superficially more conservative, but also more costly: the legacy system and its components must remain operational during the transition, incurring incremental expense from duplicated IT resources, software licensing fees and other operations costs. An incremental approach can also cause fragmentation in your user base, with some drivers using the legacy system while others enjoy the new one.

A good compromise lies in implementing a proof-of-concept (PoC) to test the new platform either internally or with a subset of the involved customers and ecosystem partners.

Before You Migrate

Prior to embarking on your migration journey, there are several essential activities:

Stakeholder Communication – aligning internal stakeholders on both the value and capabilities of the new platform must precede migration itself.  Begin training well in advance of the actual migration kick-off and make resources available for self-learning, including a Q&A, discussion forum and role-based instruction.

Data and Feature Mapping – Also key to successful migration is a comprehensive mapping of legacy functionality onto new equivalents: which functions to perpetuate and which data sets to preserve, and how to prioritize migration of those elements.

Planning and implementation of data migration and systems connectivity ensures that historical information is integrated into the new system. This information includes customer data and system-specific data such as maintenance records, contracts, warrantees, specifications, etc. Be sure to catalog and map legacy API use to maintain business continuity and connectivity to ecosystem partners and other third parties.

Planning for Downtime – Downtime of existing chargers and charging stations may be required during the transition. Efficient migration should ensure continuous network serviceability, but cut-over may not be instantaneous. Implement plans for a rapid switchover and provisions for support and maintenance, including remote repairs, during and after the transition.

Vendor Migration Experience and Support

Ultimately, the most important consideration for platform migration is vendor experience and the offer of a more robust platform.  A successful platform supplier will have accompanied other customers through the migration process and will be ready and eager to recount the experience.  They will be most aware of the challenges facing charging network operators and of the best migration approach for different types and sizes of organizations.

When choosing an EV charging management platform, the keys to a successful selection and migration start with the vendor:

  • understanding your business and business challenges
  • comprehending the need for efficient migration and integration
  • offering a migration-ready platform with well-defined migration methods
  • providing a platform that can deliver benefits quickly, efficiently and effectively
  • having vision and processes in place and resources to support an eMobility provider across the entire transition process 

Read the Recharge case study to learn how Recharge Migrated 4,000 Chargers in Under Four Months.

Migrate with Confidence.  Migrate to Driivz

Selecting a new EV charging management platform is not simply a question of digesting system specs and reviewing stated benefits.  Your choice of a platform and migration to it is a holistic endeavor, involving your organization, your partners and most importantly, the community of drivers you serve.  The “right fit” involves a mix of platform capabilities (including integration APIs and built-in migration paths), plus vendor experience and competence, and a vibrant partner ecosystem.

The right fit for your next EV charging management platform is Driivz.

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