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How to Migrate ECM Applications

    Mar 22

    When organizations consider migrating to a new ECM system, they fall into one of two traps. One, that it’s never worth the trouble to make the move. The devil you know is always better than the devil you don’t. The other is a failure to plan for a successful migration. Maybe the people in the first camp have heard what happened to the second group of companies?!

    Inventory Your Existing System

    Underestimating the ECM migration process can have disastrous consequences including lost documents, security breaches, etc. Instead, companies should remember that about 75% of their time should be dedicated to planning before completing the migration.

    Begin as soon as possible. ECM migration planning more than just identifying how to get documents from point A to point B.  The planning process also includes metadata mapping, user profiles, folder structure and security. Long story short is that you need a thorough inventory of your existing system. This inventory can potentially take months depending on the company’s size, but it’s a necessary step when beginning the migration process.

    Let’s be honest. No one likes the inventory step of the migration process, but it can help to view it as an opportunity to clean out the ECM system. Systems are full of junk, from old documents to empty folders, that clog up computers and business processes more than you imagine. This is the perfect time to clean house deleting documents, users, folders and other cyber junk you no longer need in addition to setting up architectural changes for the new system.

    Migrating Your Documents

    Depending upon the complexity of your data, it can help to do a test run. Beta migrations catch problems in advance of the full migration and have a number of other benefits including: 

    • Create sample document batches (nothing that would be devastating to lose) to perform a test migration. This allows users to see how long the full migration will take in addition to factors like their network, memory, storage, database speed and CPU. 
    • Once these tests are completed, users should then examine their migration logs to identify any possible factors that may require addressing. Often, users will find they can fix any issues that pop up with simple fixes like adding additional RAM or running the migration system on a different server. 
    • Finally, these beta batches can help users figure out how to best complete the final migration using manageable batches. When transferring files in batches, employees are able to analyze the migration statistics after each batch and can much more easily restart a migration if issues such as network outage or maintenance arise that interfere with the migration process.

    One of Benjamin Franklin’s famous quotes is “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” We recommend that you do both, sort of. You should have good answers to these two questions: what could go wrong and how can I reduce that chance and if something goes wrong, what is my plan? You should plan for issues with their migration. Even with a thorough inventory and beta migrations, problems will arise from corrupted files, outdated systems or other unexpected issues. A success migration isn’t necessarily one that comes off without a hitch; it’s a migration where issues minimized and those that remain are addressed with minimal disruption to your workflow. 

    Your New ECM System

    You need a place to send your documents too and your team is enabled to use the system. Broad strokes, here’s what happens on the new ECM system side.

    1. Build the New System: From folders to pathways to security, the new system needs to be set up before beginning the migration process. 
    2. Migrate the System: This is the process of moving content from your old repository to the new ECM application.
    3. Test and Train: Get to know your new system. Companies sometimes invest big bucks on a best-in-class ECM platform like Hyland’s OnBase, but then they skimp on training. This is a mistake because the success of an ECM migration is as much about the migration itself as it is about user adoption and the ability of your team to use these tools effectively. 

    ECM migration can be as smooth as possible with proper planning and testing periods. To learn more about how DTI can help your organization migrate away from your legacy tools to a modern solution that better meets your needs, request a quote or visit our services page.

    ECM Migration Services

    Posted by Ryan White
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