Migrating Every Drop

Posted by Leadent Solutions on August 7, 2013

Migration of documents sounds fairly simple right? It’s just moving documents from one location to another. Sure you have to update the name, file type and metadata tag; but in the end you have that single version of the truth you’ve been seeking, the ability to store everything in a common location which anyone in the business can have access too.

So let’s say we multiply that 1 document you want to move across by 100, or how about 1000, or in most cases hundreds of thousands – not so easy now right? While there is no substitution for the hard work that is required, there are a number of examples and well proven methodologies that can minimise the pain of document migration.

Here are some hints and tips you should consider when preparing to migrate:

Make sure the migration tool you use is appropriate for the environment you are working in. Take time to investigate which tool will be most productive for you. You need to correctly identify who will be using the tool as this is crucial, and has knock on effects which will essentially drive the migration process. It’s also important to consider who your end users are, because they will need to populate information which will help make the migration successful. Every migration tool produces different output files to work with; from a basic excel spread sheet to a more complex format like xml.

Naming Conventions
Define your naming conventions right at the start of the process, as it will be used throughout the migration. This convention can then be adopted by the rest of the business. Some things to remember when naming a document are to not use any additional spaces, unnecessary full stops, or characters in the name. By not using such characters you will make searching for documents easy. In summary, keep it simple and in plain English.

Folders and documents in the new system will likely be able to have Metadata assigned to them, and can cascade down this metadata to the sub folders/documents. The migration process can be vastly simplified by using ‘inheritance’ of metadata – designing user simplicity into the folder structure itself so that much of the metadata can be applied by the system rather than the user.

It is vital to keep a tight rein and track the migration progress. Try to create a tracker of all the folders and the number of documents you are moving across, as this provides a platform to both monitor progress and incentivise completion. Don’t forgo quality for quantity though.

Fight the battles you need to
There is significant business and project effort involved in migration, even with slick process and tools. You should always consider the content area where you will be getting the most benefits, and focus all efforts on making that ‘perfect’. It may be acceptable to limit duplications, renaming and filling in new metadata tags for less critical areas of content.

Migration is critical to your business’ ability to harness value from your information. Whilst migration is never easy, defining the right approach for your business will help minimise the pain and maximise your return.