Five Data Migration Best Practices to Ensure a Successful Move

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Click to learn more about author Duncan Bradley.

At some point, every enterprise must move their documents from one ECM or system to another. Businesses get acquired, organizations move, and enterprises outgrow the processes that once sustained them. Eventually, the content your enterprise generates will outpace the resources at your disposal—if it hasn’t already—leaving you with a slew of documents that no one can find, extract value from, or even open. Before you can even think about moving your content, you must first understand the Data Migration best practices that will help you address the content challenges you already face.

Many enterprises undergo a migration with the typical “lift and shift” approach in mind—only to find that their content is still just as difficult to find, manage, and use. To leverage the most strategic value out of your migration project, it’s important to improve your content along the way vs. just moving it from one system or repository to another. Otherwise, your enterprise will burn through a lot of time, money, and resources and still be left with the same disorganized content—just in a different location.

To ensure that everything goes smoothly, follow these Data Migration best practices:

  1. Look at Your Data Migration Project More Strategically

By seeing your migration project as a strategic endeavour rather than just another task to cross off your list, you’ll be able to garner greater benefit from your content. Looking at the process through a more strategic lens will also encourage a full organizational appreciation for how much your migration project will impact your enterprise.

Why is it important to go beyond just “lifting and shifting” your content? Eliminating low-value content can help you deliver better services faster, for internal teams and workflows as well as for external customers and partners. Plus, by categorizing your content, you’ll be able to extract more value from the information that’s locked inside. This can be used to drive actionable insights, streamline operations, and reduce risk—ultimately leading to faster, better decision-making and improved business outcomes.

  1. Take the opportunity to improve your content

Migrating your data is about so much more than moving your content from one place to another. Unfortunately, many organizations simply “extract, transfer, and load” their content rather than enhancing it along the way. By removing redundant, obsolete, and trivial (ROT) content from your database before beginning your Data Migration, you can be sure that the only content left provides true business value and insights that can be leveraged accordingly.

By cleaning up your Data Repository and improving your content as you move it, you’re also taking steps to improve Data Security. With legislations such as GDPR coming down the pipe in 2018, it’s more important than ever to know where your sensitive data lies and to classify and protect it accordingly. The typical lift-and-shift approach to migrating your data does little (if anything) to address the data security risks that unstructured content presents.

  1. Identify the Vital Processes that a Data Migration Can Improve

Some business processes require more content fuel than others. If you highlight exactly which business areas you need your migration to impact, it will be easier to send the flow of content in the right direction. Once you’ve determined which tasks have critical content requirements, it’s time to prioritize them based on your organization’s most pressing concerns.

For example, does HR need a more efficient content flow, or is accounts receivable experiencing greater content bottlenecks? Focus on the areas where you will see an immediate business and operational impact, and then structure your Data Migration strategy accordingly.

  1. Create a Partnership Between IT and Business Teams

Although the process of migrating your data will generally be handled by the IT team, the business processes it affects are highly strategic. That’s why it’s crucial to reconcile the technical requirements and the business objectives of your Data Migration as early in the process as possible. Getting all your teams on the same page will help you develop a clear plan, and will eliminate any disconnect between their expectations.

To start, get all the key stakeholders aligned with your migration project plan.

Getting everyone on the same page is critical, since IT needs to be aware of the strategic goals of your migration project, and business leaders must be mindful of the tactical and operational challenges associated with a project of this scale. Getting everyone aligned will help your organization develop a clear migration strategy that considers all the stakeholders and business units involved.

  1. Choose the Right Migration Vendor

Whether you select an established migration vendor or an up-and-comer, it’s important to do your research before signing on the dotted line. Consider choosing a vendor who aligns with your corporate culture and vision, and provides a solution that can scale up or down to address your unique infrastructure and project requirements. Look for a partner who is familiar with your industry and operational challenges, and can provide use cases that demonstrate success with similar projects.

Keep in mind that many traditional vendors simply focus on the “bread and butter” of your migration project: moving your content from one system or location to another. Most migration vendors do little to help you remediate redundant, obsolete, and trivial (ROT) content. Choosing a partner who enhances your migration project is like adding a few thick slices of meat to your bread-and-butter sandwich. Instead of just focusing on the basics, you’ll take steps to uncover information of business value, decrease organizational risk, and improve the overall findability and usability of your documents.

Wrap Up

There are a few Data Migration strategies and best practices that all enterprises must consider before implementing a full-scale migration. To start, look at your migration project more strategically, and take the opportunity to improve your content along the way. Finally, identify the vital processes that a Data Migration can improve, create a partnership between IT and business teams, and choose the right migration vendor.

A Data Migration is the perfect time to clean up your content to ensure that it fuels more effective and efficient business processes. By identifying key tasks that can be restructured, choosing the right solution, and getting all your teams on the same page, you’ll reduce the risk posed by unusable and unconsolidated content, and increase your ability to make strategic business decisions based on the data you already possess.

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