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Most implementations of SharePoint as document management system require migration of content and depending upon where the content is, what form it’s in, and any association with an existing business process, will determine the approach and tools / techniques needed to make it accessible by a SharePoint user. In our experience each migration project is unique but there are common threads and a logical approach to apply. Below are a few example scenarios and the approach we’ve adopted.

Legacy DMS

The typical legacy document management system will have additional metadata associated with the documents and may also be integrated into various line of business systems. Moving the content to SharePoint requires a re-mapping of any metadata to SharePoint content types, preserving the permission model, and potentially re implementing an integration with other line of business systems. At its most complex the migration of content from a legacy DMS will require a fully bespoke ETL tool to carry out the extraction, transformation and load into SharePoint.

The extraction aspect is sometimes built into the legacy DMS and it’s a simple matter to generate a dump of the electronic content to a network file store complete with a metadata file describing the extracted documents and their file path. Where this is not possible we have built extraction tools that use either an API or access the legacy DMS database to generate an extraction metadata file (e.g. Open Text Livelink for Bupa).

The transformation and load aspect of the migration may be a simple case of mapping metadata into the fields of SharePoint content types in which case standard tools such as Sharegate can be deployed to migrate the content. Where the transformation is more complex such as stitching together documents, changing the file format (e.g. TIFF to OCR’ed PDF), altering the permission model, or relinking to a business process then a bespoke migration program is normally required.

Over the years we have built up expertise and libraries of code to quickly and reliably migrate content from most legacy DMS systems.


Network file share

Migration from a network file share into SharePoint is the most common form of migration and the simplest option is to allow users to drag and drop their files in their own time. If this isn’t practical then there are a couple of tools we use depending on requirements. When the original metadata of a file needs to be preserved then Sharegate, a desktop application, is our preferred third party tool. However, this tool is licenced per user and could therefore be expensive. Alternatively Deltascheme have a multi-file upload tool that applies a common set of metadata to the uploaded files, deals with duplicate filenames, and is run from within SharePoint. This tool doesn’t preserve the original creation data or author but is licenced for all users at a competitive price. For example, Canal and River Trust use this tool for uploading images into SharePoint.


Migrating paper to electronic content is a very common aspect of a DMS project and one we are very familiar with. For example Man Group carried out a large paper back scan exercise for its HR department when it downsized office space (see associated case study). The technologies we use for paper scanning are covered in the section on “Scanning and Digital Mailroom”.

Associated Deltascheme products

Associated partner products

  • ShareGate

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