Content Migrations: What Are the Options for Legacy Systems?

By ImageSource Team on July 19, 2021

Most modernized organizations made the switch from manual or paper-based processes to digital over several years. They benefited from doing work electronically vs. shuffling paper and managing electronic documents instead of dealing with filing cabinets. Content management systems enable data sharing between knowledge workers and companies, and drive business processes. Digital content has become a cornerstone of compliance and efficiency.

For anyone who’s been storing and accessing valuable digital information, there comes a time to consider migrating to a new, updated platform. For some customer partners, that can mean moving many years worth of valuable content and data. Millions and millions of documents. The decision to migrate can be driven by positive technology goals or driven by a vendor’s decision to pull support for the system you rely on. When you’re facing a content migration, it’s important to know your options and what a migration might look like.

Option 1: Migrate the Information

Suppose you need to migrate everything within your retention policy from an old system to 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 customer partners ing migrating 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 day-forward strategy to implement a new system and point input data to the new platform. The new content was directed to ILINX instead of the legacy system, which bought the agency time to properly plan the total migration with ImageSource.

ImageSource implemented an integration between the legacy repository and the new solution to allow users to search solely from the ILINX platform. When performing a search in ILINX, the system searches both the new repository and the old one to return results regardless of which repository the content resides in (historical: legacy repository and anything post-go live: new repository). Users never have to search two separate systems, saving 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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