Content Migrations: What Are the Options for Legacy Systems?

By ImageSource Team on July 19, 2021

Most organizations made the switch from manual or paper-based processes to digital over many years. They’ve benefited from doing work electronically vs. shuffling paper and keep copies of content managed electronically instead of filing cabinets. Content management systems enable sharing data between knowledge workers, between companies, and business processes. What started as an effort to eliminate physical file cabinets has become a cornerstone of compliance and efficiency.

For anyone that’s been leveraging a repository to store valuable content and information for years, there comes a time to consider migrating to a new, updated platform. For some customer partners, that can mean piles of data. Years and years of your valuable content and data. Millions and millions of documents. Sometimes the decision is driven by positive technology goals or caused by technology providers who are ending support, limiting their services, or no longer supporting the tools you rely on. So, when you’re ready to migrate your content, what are some of the options, and what can it look like?

Option 1: Migrate the Information

Suppose you need to migrate everything within your retention policy out of one system and a new one. The first action is to review, revise and re-approve your retention policies. There are few excellent resources for retention policies, like the Association for Intelligent Information Managementthe American Institute of CPAs, or ARMA. It may be a luxury to build the plan to migrate the content and data out of the legacy system; there can be uncontrollable changes that start bringing the existing repository to its knees, (Yes, we’ve seen this).

To minimize risk, we follow a tried-and-true methodology to assist our customer partners with migrating their content and data out of the existing repository. We recommend prioritizing volume, or department, and application. Whatever you decide is the priority, organize your migration around it and invest in the upfront planning and preparation before the actual migration begins.

Once the planning is complete, the migration starts! As content migrates out of the legacy system, it’s imported into the new system. Along the way, if specific pieces of content fail the export or import process, we attempt to reconcile what is happening and get the content into the new system by alternate routes.

ImageSource performs a full audit to determine the accuracy of the legacy system’s legacy and what is imported into the go-forward solution. Once all the content is migrated out, the legacy system can be set to be decommissioned.

But what if there’s a legacy system that is having failures and issues constantly? What if you don’t have time to wait?

Option 2: Stand-Up Integration

Some customers have millions of documents in multiple legacy locations that need to be migrated, and a classic migration isn’t ideal for them. But how do you determine the best approach? We all know nothing goes according to plan, even the best plan. The plan can be even more challenging to execute if the current system is already failing.

Take one of ImageSource’s government customer partners with an aging legacy repository with more than 120 million documents. The system would go down multiple times per week. Due to the high-risk environment high compliance nature of their content, the agency didn’t have time to wait for a new system to be spun up and then wait for migration of all existing information. They were quoted multiple person-years for their project—time they didn’t have. The alternative was a stand-up integration.

As a long-time partner, ImageSource worked with the agency to develop a strategy to implement a new system and point input sources to the new platform from a day forward starting point. The new content was directed to ILINX and away from the legacy system, which bought the agency time to properly plan the total migration with ImageSource.

Additionally, ImageSource implemented an integration between the legacy repository and the ILINX platform to allow users to search solely from the new solution. When performing a search in ILINX, the system could search both the new repository and the old one and return results regardless of which repository the content lived in (historical: legacy repository and anything post-go live: new repository). Users never had to go through two separate systems to search, saving staff time and improving efficiency and compliance by avoiding duplicate content between the two systems and desktops.

The integration process was seamless. No matter how you migrate your content, it can seem daunting, especially if you’ve got years of data that has never been purged. The goal is to make the process as seamless as possible for our customer partners in whatever stage they’re in.

Where are you in your migration process? Have you started? Are you in the process? Did you recently complete one? Share your stories!

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