Content migration moves data from one location to another, from one system-of-record to another. Your migration may enable new business processes, automate manual processes, or standardize on a new platform to improve support and functionality in existing processes. Content migration has common pain points and concerns. Most organizations switch from manual or paper-based processes to digital over many years, achieving long-term benefits from doing work electronically vs. paper-based processes and keeping copies of content managed electronically instead of filing cabinets.
Today, content management systems can automatically share data between knowledge workers, companies, and business processes while enforcing data security. What started as an effort to eliminate physical file cabinets has become a cornerstone of compliance and efficiency. Of course, none of that comes easy. There are plenty of ECM migration pitfalls to avoid when choosing a solution. Primary indicators of content migration projects heading for failure are:
- The unclear business case for the required investment
- Poor stakeholder or user involvement in planning
- Undefined or limited vendor selection criteria
- Mismatched of product capabilities and business requirements
- Rushed install to gain short‐term benefits
- Limited change management practice
How do you successfully choose where to migrate your content to?
Any content migration initiative must begin with clearly defined measurable goals designed by cross‐functional teams. Establish between five and ten clearly defined goals and require agreement from all business units before you start looking for vendors. You can go back to this list of goals throughout the project to make alignment adjustments and check your progress. The goals should be strategic and reflect your two or three-year objectives. The goals should be short, measurable, clearly summarize the essence of the required solution, and linked to your organization's overall strategy. The executive sponsors and stakeholders must actively support them. Define precisely what you must get from your migration efforts for the project to be successful. The benefits of defined goals included:
- Documented and defined business case for the project
- Communicate the benefits of the migration project clearly
- Transparency with and support from Managers and Executive Sponsors
- Quickly create a shortlist of vendors
- Reduce your costs (especially time) to select the right vendor
- Leads to an accurate list of requirements
Another approach is a road map. A road map is a high‐level representation of the planned changes against the timeline for those changes. Think of this as a timeline to long-term success from your migration. Represent these roadmaps with Gantt charts, with the overall effort typically divided into overlapping phases. The complexity of changes will determine whether multiple steps for a particular goal or requirement area are one phase or multiple phases and if that affects your migration schedule. This approach helps mitigate the risks associated with longer projects, like attrition of key staff and budget reallocation away from the project. Some benefits of the road map approach are:
- Prioritize the deployment of ECM Solution components to your overall business strategy
- Avoids deploying short-sighted point solutions and silos (easy, early wins are great, but not at the expense of higher‐order goals)
- Enables a realistic vendor assessment, eliminating those that can't support your vision or project goals
- Accurate representation of how long it will take for your ECM Solution to provide business value
Once you select a solution and your vendor/technology partner, invest in that relationship. It is critical to your migration project success and the longevity of your solution. Rely on your technology partner to define or recommend additional hardware or infrastructure and the ECM solution architecture. Some of these changes are likely to involve third‐party products and require a firm statement of compatibility from your primary technology partner.
When implementing a Content Solution to migrate to, you should set your sights on a technology partner that is an integrator and, ideally, a platform provider to implement infrastructure and services that streamline processes. The technology partner should help your organization leverage your information assets through document imaging, distributed capture, workflow, and integration with existing business software systems. A true technology partner will have a comprehensive approach, including analysis, training, and support, and will advance efficiencies, security, compliance, and cooperation through your entire organization.
You want to work with a partner that does not come to you with a rigid idea of how to migrate but instead concentrates on defining business challenges you face and collaborating on solutions, leading to solutions that integrate with your technology investments and result in return-on-investment for your organization. The technology partner's services should provide an independent and objective approach. Many use a one size fits all philosophy. Find a flexible partnership with proven methodologies to help you define a usable solution.
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