Why Early Pre-Migration Planning and Evaluation of Migration Products is Critical to a Successful Migration

Does anyone else wince at the idea of an ECM migration? Well, we know a lot of people that do, and it is our goal to reduce the amount of stress incurred by an organization. In this blog post, we are going to concentrate on two of the four migration steps that are critical to success. We will post a second blog with the other two steps at a later time.

The two critical steps for successful migrations that we are focusing on are: Early pre-migration planning and the evaluation of migration products and solutions. Each of these steps has a set of sub-steps that should be followed to guide you to a successful migration.

  1. Early pre-migration planning

Before you even look at migration solutions or tools, there is a whole bucket of things you must do first. The number one thing to do is to assemble a cross-functional team to guide the migration. This will also help with conducting a migration assessment. You have to understand the needs of the migration, have a high level of understanding of the systems, and find out what the overall goal of the migration is prior to vetting any systems. It is recommended that you involve experienced migration experts to help you with this step. In this stage, it is important to find out what you don’t know. As an IT manager, you might think you know everything about the way users are interacting with the ECM, but in many cases, you don’t. Figure that out first! This goes hand in hand with understanding the historical source environment and data. In some cases, it might help to secure a true data expert to assist with this step. Sometimes having an outside set of eyes can help find issues before the migration. More importantly, though, you should have an understanding of what you want out of your target environment and how the users want to interact with content in the new environment. This will help with a user adoption plan. Another thing you can do is evaluate the use of other silos such as file shares and other ECM systems. Maybe you don’t need to migrate your content at all. Sometimes adding a file share with synchronization is the better, less time consuming, option.

  1. Evaluating how you will perform the migration

Now that you have made an educated decision to migrate your content, you need to first determine how the migration will be carried out. Specifically, whether you will perform the migration in-house, or if you need a tool, product, custom solution, or a combination of these. Once you decide on that, you want to ensure the usability of the migration method. Is it going to be too complicated for your migration team to understand? Or is it pretty much out of the box and ready to go? And will it support data clean up? Another important feature that you should know about the migration tool you select is how configurable it is. Migrations can take many forms. One thing to consider is will it allow for synchronization to accommodate changes made during the migration? Occasionally we see things get left out that need to be synchronized in or out of the migration, while it is already taking place. Another thing to consider is if it can it handle custom scripting for situations where you need a feature built into the product., And, lastly, what types scheduling can it accommodate?   This is important to know considering it will directly affect your business. In most cases, we observe a need for at least some scheduling to minimize the impact on end users. When vetting migration solutions, another capability that is useful is if they utilize native APIs to get the job done. This will help with the headaches of migration. In the previous step, it was key to find out what you don’t know. And of course you’re not going to find every little thing, so make sure the migration tool or solution you choose can handle the unexpected. If you are looking at choosing a custom solution, ensure that it has the flexibility required to get the job done. And lastly, confirm that the solution can give you a pre-migration analysis. This will help provide insight into unexpected issues you may run into during a migration.

As you can see, these two steps have a lot of considerations within them. And it is important that you take the time that needs to be invested in each of these steps for a successful migration. If you would like to know more about these two steps, or content migrations in general, please read our Master of Migration: Best Practices whitepaper. If you are interested in speaking with someone about your migration needs, contact info@seeunity.com.