Having recently joined the team at Vamosa, it quickly became clear that we deliver value to our customers and operate in a space that not many others do – at least not to the same level of success. So after doing the ground-work and having a better understanding of the methodology, tools and migration approach, it was time to be involved in the delivery of a project.

Salesforce – a new challenge

Vamosa was approached and asked to migrate a customer’s set of support forums – not something new to the team. The challenge was to standardize the content coming from multiple source systems and migrate each of them into the Salesforce platform – this was a first for this target. Four source systems, each with its own feature and capabilities which meant a migration process would have to be developed for each one – or a configuration factory to be precise.

Development frustrations

Vamosa have a rich history working with a vast array of systems, for extract and load across many types of platforms and sectors. Interestingly, this was the first time Vamosa had been approached to perform a migration into Salesforce. A challenge the team often have is testing with production ready environments.

In this project, there was also the lack of a legitimate test environment we could utilize for development. Ideally, we would have had access to a test environment that was a mirror of the target production environment with regards to API functionality – that was in a constant state of change. If available, it would have allowed us to build a reliable ‘push’ connector with an end to end migration process in the test environment that could be directed with ease to the production environment and produce the same expected results. We would eliminate any potential errors that may occur prior to changing from one platform to another. We improvised with a temporary solution by creating our own Salesforce trial site which would enable us to use the API to create content. This at least allowed us to start development on a connector that would support the core features for our requirements.

From there we started developing the migration process for each source, starting with the two that were a higher priority as they were the first of the sources to be getting migrated. As we began the development process we came across issues with the API, the first one being poor documentation, the second limitations in functionality that we needed to meet the migration requirements. To resolve this Vamosa worked closely with the Salesforce developers to get clarification on the documentation or to create implementation requests for the functionality that was required.

Platform improvements

Our customer then decided to make some User Interface (UI) changes to the platform before progressing with the migration. These UI changes were crucial to the migration result because they offered improvements that end users would appreciate – had they not been there the system may not be adopted and users would resist change – and migration could be criticised as a result. Given the effort required to implement the change, the migration went into a freeze period.

Eventually, the business units would be happy to go ahead with the migration and allow us to resume the development process again.  In the meantime our team maintained contact with our customer, still producing weekly reports and providing support when requested to ensure that the project could restart from where we left off with little disruption. Additionally, the possibility of getting a legitimate test environment seemed more likely as the customer was working on giving us access to a ‘sandbox’ environment that would mimic the production environment.

Moving forward with purpose!

Once we gained access to the sandbox environment we began by testing our connector, verifying the functionality and confirming differences between the system since the UI changes had been implemented – it does happen as the API is often the last thing to be maintained! We found some gaps and challenges with the environment which prevented us from successfully loading/creating content. Again, we worked closely with the Salesforce developers to recreate the previous environment to identify the anomalies and resume the migration of content.

Although this project is ongoing, we have recently been able to complete validation migrations with a sample set of content for the customer to review and provide feedback on. The project has been successful so far and it has broadened our knowledge and opportunities of Salesforce, for example, we have been working closely with the Salesforce developers to understand and develop the API capabilities. This is a  positive outcome as an improved API will allow Vamosa to widen its migration capabilities for future projects with Salesforce.

Take the next step!

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.

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