Content migrations are a huge undertaking for any organization. Not only that, but they are extremely frustrating when they fail. Migration failures typically boil down to two things: Missing the target deadline and going over budget. These are pain points we will discuss in this post.
To begin, content migrations are the result of a few things: 1) A merger or an acquisition took place; 2) your organization is doing away with one business system for another; or 3) Large scale mandates decide where an entire organization, industry, or government must standardize on one technology, where previously a different one or a variety of technologies existed. In the land of ECM, we see all of these as equally common reasons for migration. With each of these drivers, it is not as simple as saying we need to move all of our content to another system. There is plenty that needs to be done before a single document can float on over to its new home.
Taking the leap from one ECM to another doesn’t happen with the snap of your fingers. And many migrations miss their target deadline. Why, you might ask? Well, some organizations don’t put proper planning or organization in place. Typically, it is the early pre-migration planning step that gets missed. In this step, it is vital that your migration team find out what they don’t know. Your IT department might think they know everything about where everything is stored, but that isn’t always the case. We have seen situations where users are going around IT supported systems and creating, saving, and sharing files on systems that are unapproved. Since this data is technically organization related, it too has to make its way into the migration. We can’t stress enough how important it is for organizations to find out what they don’t know in the early pre-migration stage.
Another important piece of the early pre-migration step is to interview your users about how they use content. You have to have an understanding of what users want in a system to ensure user adoption. You can’t just slap a pretty interface on a system that doesn’t meet user requirements and expect them to have 100% buy-in of the new system. If you can grasp what your users want out of your system, you can then architect it in a way that best takes advantage of the new system as well as user requirements. The set-up is just as important as anything else in a migration, and when the set-up doesn’t reflect the user requirements we see people very unsatisfied with their migrations.
When you move on to the next stage of evaluating migration products and solutions, this is where you’re going to want to pay attention to your timeline and budget. You must first determine whether your migration requires a product, tool, custom solution, or any combination of these. This will quickly determine if your budget matches your needs, and how much time the migration will take. While vetting solutions, tools, or products, data clean up support is an important consideration. You want to give your new ECM the best chance for success, so cleaning up data before your migration can save time (less likely to run into errors during the migration) and money on storage for old data. Some migration solutions will include this with their services. Another consideration you should have while looking for a migration solution, tool, or product is how the migration will take place. Is it going to take place all at once and halt any business activity? Or is it going to be an ongoing project that is running in the background to continue work? These things are key to determining how long a migration project will take.
Next is the planning for the actual migration. In this step, the number one pain point for migrations is mapping the metadata correctly. This is where your IT people get all the “majors” and “minors” where they belong. Mapping metadata correctly from a database prior to your content migration is key to a successful migration. If you have a good understanding of the hierarchies and folders that are used in your ECM, and you have found out what you don’t know, this step shouldn’t be too difficult. It is time-consuming and not the most fun to do, but it is extremely important.
When a migration fails, it is because vital steps in the lengthy migration process were missed and you go over budget or past your deadline. To ensure the most success with your content migration, read our Best Practices Whitepaper, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.