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This blog is intended as a follow up to our migration process overview which you can read about here. Vamosa Content Migration – Process

Technically, a data content migration project does not begin at Phase 2 – Analysis. All projects should begin with an initiation phase, covering:

  • Customer kick off, i.e. introductions, agreement on an understanding of statement of work, scope and timeline

Once all required dependencies and software installations are complete, the project can move into the analysis phase.


Analysis Inputs and Outputs

Why do we do analysis?

Often the customer will provide metrics and a view as to how good the content quality is prior to content management migration, but quite often, this can be a different view to that of the migration team. We use our vast experience in complex transformation migrations to understand the content migration process, with a view to what must be applied to migrate from one platform to another.

The analysis approach used by T-Systems is extremely flexible, allowing results to be tailored specifically to the needs of our individual customers. The focus of the analysis is to understand the source content in relation to both its volume and complexity. This allows the migration team to define the best strategy to help with the data content migration into the target solution.

By analysing the source data store, the migration team learn valuable information relating to:

  • Source scope/inventory – how much content is in the source, and what should be included in the scope for migration?
  • Duplication – are there large numbers of duplicate files that can be normalised during the data migration, reducing the migration footprint?
  • Metadata quality – is the metadata in the source well populated, and is it suitable for migration or to form the basis of migration rules?
  • Information Architecture – how is the content stored logically at the moment, and is this system suitable to be maintained or should it be restructured during the migration?
  • Content complexity – when the content to be migrated includes HTML/XML content, is it suitable for the target or will a transformation be required?
  • Migration Readiness – are there areas of the source material that would benefit from being addressed prior to migration, in order to make the transition a smoother process?

Once an understanding of the above points is obtained, the migration team can improve the estimation for the migration effort and overall strategy best suited to the customers needs.

Types of Analysis and Considerations

No two data content migrations are ever the same, because even when the source and target systems are the same, the actual content will be different. Analysis can be applied on its own as a stand alone service if a customer wishes to understand the health of their content estate (which can be recurring), but typically it fits into a migration project.

Content migrations generally fall into three types, each of which can warrant a different degree of analysis:

  • Web Content – Web sites and intranet sites will typically contain the majority of HTML markup as well as supporting binary images and documents
    • Complex migration complexity – some areas to address include:
      • Poor Markup and Metadata Usage: There will most likely be a source Content Management System (CMS) that is used to control how the content is authored, and this will usually improve the quality of the HTML produced – but not always. Users may have free reign on how they can author content and can become quite imaginative to work around system constraints. Metadata population can be poor if it is not a forced required field
      • Template Mismatch: Content Architecture is defined within the authoring templates, which will not be migrated or recreated in the new target platform. New authoring templates will be designed, sometimes without consideration for the content they have to house
      • Unsuitable Structure: The information architecture of the site may require restructuring if it has grown beyond the scope of the original design
  • Social and Collaboration Content Migration – Social platforms contain a mixture of HTML and binary content, typically constrained by dedicated content types
    • Moderate migration complexity – some areas to address include:
      • Template Mismatch: Content Architecture is defined within the authoring templates, which may not have a direct map to those supported in the target collaboration platform. When mappings can be identified, lower level field mappings might be required to ensure the content can fit the target content type
      • Content Versioning: If different versions are required for migration, how many are there and are they all required?
      • Orphaned content: Document owners may no longer be working within the organisation, so migration may provide the opportunity to assign the content to new owners
  • Document Content – Document management stores and file systems contain a large proportion of binary documents/images
    • Low migration complexity – some areas to address include:
      • Poor Metadata Usage: Binary content will not require transformations to the underlying content itself. There may be requirements to transform and enhance the metadata associated with the content, especially when migrating to/from a document management system
      • Unsuitable Structure: The information architecture may require restructuring if it has grown beyond its original design
      • Content Versioning: If different versions are required for migration, how many versions are there, and are all of themrequired?
      • Orphaned content: Document owners may no longer be within the organisation, so migration may provide the opportunity to assign the content to new owners

There is always a crossover with the migration ‘types’, and there are differences from project to project where analysis is concerned. For instance, the phase can be driven by the customer with a view to the target platform, and quite often there will be bespoke requests that might not impact the data migration but will add value to business process improvement. Analysis gives us the opportunity to understand the content and identify the gaps in the migration mapping, highlight areas for discussion, and identify weak or unused metadata assignments which will help define the migration transformation rules.

Risks and Recommendations

Analysis can be as complex as the customer wants, ranging from a simple content inventory to help determine scope, to a more detailed analysis, when the the migration type is considered complex, and this can all help to drive the key design discussions.

The recommendation of the migration team would be to conduct a detailed analysis for complex migrations, such as Web content and collaboration content. Document migrations can be complex, but there is less scope for transformation and as such, a content inventory and minor reporting may suffice. Each project will be given proper consideration with regards to the complexity of the source and target systems and nature of the content they house in order to provide a suitable recommendation for analysis.

Removing or reducing the analysis phase from the migration project will increase risk in the following ways:

  • Migration estimates can be inaccurate and content may be unintentionally missed if the full scope is not known and verified by the customer
  • Areas of concern might not be detected, and without the proper inputs, this can lead to a poor quality migration design

Analysis is an essential precursor for a good design phase. It is a foundation to a successful content migration as it allows the migration team and customer stakeholders to understand more about the content prior to agreeing the migration strategy and transformation rules. The T-Systems Vamosa Migration Architect tool will automate the analysis and the rules engine can identify patterns in the content to quickly obtain relevant information for the migration consultants which help drive the design phase.

A follow-up blog post will discuss the migration design phase and how it is followed to ensure that the migration strategy is agreed.

Read on for more information from our Analysis resources

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A division of T-Systems, Vamosa Technologies specializes in content migration to cloud, on-premises and hybrid cloud systems. With two decades of customer migrations, Vamosa Technologies has experience with a comprehensive range of leading enterprise content management systems. To learn more about services from Vamosa Technologies, please read our case studies and whitepapers or contact us.