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Five steps to an effective migration strategy

by Paul Turnbull : Move

Five steps to an effective migration strategy

Migrating content to the cloud has many financial, operational and reputational benefits, but the costs are often underestimated. Over the years, we have seen many organisations turn to us for help when their migration has not worked as well as they would have hoped.

Here are 5 simple steps to avoid common mistakes and ensure your migration works brilliantly.

1. Content Audit.

Normally carried out by the organisation, this audit will identify both the content and the processes involved with the migration. Decide what content is to be migrated keeping in mind that not everything may need to be migrated. For example, if there are multiple versions of a document or if the content has expired and should have been disposed of anyway etc. Also, consider if there is metadata associated with the content that will need migrating too.

2. Plan the destination.

Migrating to SharePoint / Office 365 opens up a raft of new capabilities to govern and protect your content. Knowing what features will be used, such as Labels and Classifications for records management, will influence the structures within SharePoint and the migration tools.

3. Identify migration tools.

There are potentially three stages in a migration, extraction, transformation and load (often referred to as ETL). When the extraction target is a proprietary document management system there may be tools provided with the product to extract content and this is certainly a starting point. If these fail to meet the requirements, a bespoke path is available but is obviously more expensive. The extraction process typically places the content in a file store. Transformations are required when either the content format or the metadata needs to be changed before loading into the destination. Examples include converting image files to OCR’ed PDF files, amending filenames to conform to the destination standard, joining or splitting files, adding and/or changing metadata, often via an integration with a third-party system. Loading into SharePoint / Office 365 from a file store is a well-proven path and there are excellent tools on the market to carry out this activity. Our favourite is Sharegate.

4. Migration Plan.

Firstly, ensure that users are involved for any cleansing of the data prior to migration – this bit can’t be successfully outsourced to a third party, even with supporting tools – there will always be some exception that needs a decision from a content owner. If the content being migrated is system generated, then it is possible to fully outsource. The potential involvement of users means some level of training will be required, even if migration is simplified to a drag and drop exercise but will most likely involve a tool such as Sharegate, Metalogix or Concept Searching.

5. Migration Execution.

The two main standouts from running real-world migrations are firstly the time it can take and secondly the impact of also migrating a process as well as the content. Time can be in the order of months, especially if there are complex transformations involved. Modern tools have a rapid mode for use with Office 365 – certainly worth deploying for larger migrations.

Migrating processes can be a mini-project in their own right. If the moving of the content also precipitates a movement of the application; Alternatively, the migration will require a new integration with an existing application and very likely, a regeneration of links to the documents from that application.

Get back on track with your digital transformation journey. Contact a Deltascheme expert today to learn how to take full advantage of the benefits of cloud migration

Author: Paul Turnbull, Managing Director at Deltascheme