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Leaving Connections

When I first wrote this post, it was clear that the Connections community was on the wane. But looking at the customers who still request support, the requirement for help leaving Connections is still strong.

Team Vamosa had always been at the forefront of content management migration to the old IBM Connections system (now owned by HCL). We were observers and partners at the birth of Connections, and moved organizational data content there when it was ‘the place to be’. We were involved in data migrations to Connections from various other systems including Jive, SharePoint, Quickr, Documentum and many more.

Dozens of projects later, when IBM launched their Connections Cloud offering (Social Cloud), here at Vamosa we delivered workspace migration services to IBM’s biggest customers to get them into this platform.

Imagine my surprise when we started hearing whispers a few years ago that all was not harmonious in the Cloud. When IBM sold the software portfolio to HCL, “business as usual” was the aim. However, it transpired this was not the reality for HCL Connections Social Cloud. Customers were told that the service was going to close on 16th July 2020. Furthermore, support for the software was to cease on that date too. See HCL’s announcements at the time:

So this left customers in a bit of a quandary. We heard a lot about this from the customers that we had previously migrated into Connections Social Cloud as well as Connections On-premise customers. They were all looking for Plan B and Plan C (based around the presumption that HCL’s Plan A – Connections MultiTenant (MT) – and data migration was palatable and would land in time).

But tempus fugit – as time ticked by, the opportunity to complete a well planned, well-rehearsed and business transparent move before the cut-off date was reducing. However, many of our customers told us they saw this as an opportunity to revisit their whole strategy for social collaboration.

And, as ever, one size never fits all. Our customers who were concerned about their content migration to HCL Connections fitted into four broad categories:

  • The believers – they had faith that HCL Connections would deliver a solution that matched the benefits they currently had, with a fully formed data migration and zero impact, allowing business as usual
  • The disillusioned – they felt let down by the whole experience of accepting the Social Cloud strategy proposed by IBM, and felt that a move to a broadly analogous system was the only option. They were resigned to having to swallow the gap in functionality
  • The pragmatists – they were building a new solution based around either a content migration back to on-premise Connections or (more likely) some other system such as Office 365, with a supporting application such as Beezy now Appspace) to fill the gaps
  • The angry – we heard stories of organisations who were so upset about this change of direction, they were willing to allow HCL to move them to Connections Multi-Tenant, but planned to leave as early as possible afterwards

Naturally, at Vamosa, we also saw this as a business opportunity. We have always offered content migrations of this type of data, and we still uniquely supply this as a managed service. Our service offers:

  • The ability to take data, files, social attributes (such as “likes), structure, comments, security attributes, activities, tasks out of ANY iteration or version of HCL Connections (On Premise, Cloud) and move that in context to your chosen target
  • The ability to build and test the move, and then complete the move with zero impact on your day to day business
  • The ability to use our delivery methodology to make sure that all valid data is transferred – and the assurance that we guarantee it
  • If you choose a new platform (such as Office 365), then we make sure
    • The security works
    • Links are translated
    • The data is structured as it was in the source
  • And if you plan to use a new application (such as Beezy), then we ensure the transferred data is modified to suit the requirements of the new system

Obviously we are now more than three years further on. Many customers did use our unique approach to migrating Connections as a complete entity into a similar platform (Microsoft 365 was by far the biggest winner here). Over the last four years, we have moved millions of users to different platforms, taking all of their content of value- Hundreds of terabytes of data, millions of personal and community files, tens of thousands of blogs and wikis. Global corporations, governments, customers large and small have placed their face on what we do – and this is because we do it well, we deliver a complete job and we don’t stop until our customers are happy with the result.

We migrate both into and out of HCL Connections

You might also want to read about enterprise content migration and cloud native solutions

See the benefits gained by a global network and security when they moved all of their Connections data into Microsoft 365