Parallel Conversion Method

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Hi everyone and thank you for visiting my third blog post. In my last two blog posts I discussed the Virtual Revolution and also who actually owns the internet. This weeks blog will focus on discussing the pros and cons of numerous strategies which are used for system conversion.

Conversion is the process of switching from something old to new, so, system conversion is the process of switching from an old system to a new system. The reason why system conversions need to take place is because existing systems may be outdated or they may not cater for the users needs any more.

New systems are computerized, therefore it is important for new systems to be implemented using a conversion strategy. There are numerous conversion strategies, each strategy has their own advantages and disadvantages.

The four main conversion strategies are:

  • Parallel
  • Cut over
  • Pilot
  • Phased

Parallel Method

The parallel conversion strategy is when both the old and new information systems operate alongside one another for a specified time (Vermaat, M.E, 2016). Once the results have been compared between the old and new system, the organisation may choose to gradually welcome in the new system or immediately end the previous system.


1 By using the parallel method, small minor errors can be easily seen

2 Companies are able to fix any problems with the new system before ending the previous system


1 It is very costly as two systems are being operated simultaneously, so there will be the costs for more power for example

2 Operating two systems simultaneously is also very time consuming and stressful as there is more work involved, such as creating more reports

Direct Cut Over

The direct cut over strategy is when the company stops using the old system and immediately starts using the new system.

Methods of system conversion Source: O’Brien & Marakas (2006, p. 424)


1 It is less costly as it is a direct change over

2 It is not very time consuming as once the old system has stopped being used the new system is immediately being set up


1 If the system has not been implemented properly the new system may fail to work and this will affect the whole organisation.

2 It is very difficult to detect small errors in the new system


The pilot conversion method is when the new system is introduced to a single department/location at a time, this strategy is mainly used for testing the new system in different environments. The pilot method is very helpful for organisations which have several locations.

Methods of system conversion Source: O’Brien & Marakas (2006, p. 424)


  1. Risk is reduced
  2. Allows the organisation to see whether the new system will meet the organisations needs in one department/location before using it throughout the entire organisation


  1. Too much time is involved testing in one location, there is also increased development and labour costs


This method replaces the old system in stages, this method is different to the pilot method as the pilot strategy tests in one location and then is implemented in the whole organisation. Whereas the phased strategy introduces the new system to one department at a time.

Methods of system conversion Source: O’Brien & Marakas (2006, p. 424)


Parallel Conversion Method

1 As the system is tested at every stage, there is very little chance of error

2 This strategy is more user friendly. Because the new system is implemented one department at a time, the IT staff are able to draw their attention to training one department effectively to using the new system.


1 It takes a lot of time to implement the whole new system to the entire organisation.

Conversion from one information system to a new information system occurs in almost every organisation. Each of the conversion strategies discussed above may require organisations to alter hardware or operating systems. Therefore it is important for organisations to identify the best conversion strategy which matches the organisations purpose when introducing a new system, when implementing a new information system. If a unsuitable strategy is chosen, the company may potentially cause risk to the future of the organization.


Vermaat, M.E (2016). Enhanced Discovering Computers ©2017. USA: Cengage Learning. 526.

O’Brien & Marakas (2006). Methods of system conversion, p. 424

System Implementation:- The term Implementation may be defined as “Implementation is the process of converting the manual or old computerized system with the newly developed system & making it operational, without disturbing the functioning of the organization.”

System Implementation comprises the following

1. Creating computer compatible files

2. Training the people who are going to actually operate the system

3. Installing the necessary hardware, terminals & network

4. Installing the proposed software, testing and performing audit trail

Types of System Implementation

Fresh Implementation

Implementation of a totally new computerized system by replacing the manual system

Replacement Implementation

Implementation of a new computerized system by replacing an old computerized system

Modified Implementation

Implementation of the modified computerized system by replacing an old computerized system

Installation/ Conversion/ System Changeover Installation

The organizational process of changing over from the current information system to a new one.

Approaches to Installation/Conversion Methods

Basically, these are four methods of conversion.


A. Direct cutover Installation

B. Parallel Installation

C. Phased Installation

D. Single-Location Installation/ Phased-in method of conversion

A. Direct cutover Method

Changing over from the old information system to a new one by turning off the old system when the new one is turned on.


Fastest Method


Very risky

This method is prepared in situations where

> Change over time is very less

> Available man-power is also new

>New system is not very crucial to the business operations

B. Parallel Installation

Running the old information system & the new information system at the same time until management decides the old system can be turned off.


> Availability of the old system as a backup

> More secure



> Very expensive & time-consuming

> Additional manpower must be provided for the operation of two systems in parallel

C. Phased –In- Method of Conversion

In this method, the new system is implemented in many phases. Each phase is carried out only after successful implementation of the previous phase.


> It is not expensive

> There is no danger to the total breakdown

> The users get sufficient time to become acquainted with the new system


It is used in a situation when the new system significantly differs from the old system.

D. Pilot System/ Single-Location Installation

Single location installation involves trying out a new information system at one site & using the experienced decide how the new system should e installed throughout the organization.


Limits the potential damage & potential cost of limiting the effects to a single site.