As in any information and technology related project the role that end-users play in whether or not a project succeeds is not any different when looking at conducting a content migration project. In comparison with application development, for example, it might be even more important to involve individual users or user groups. When developing an application, in most cases there is a general consensus of how it is supposed to work, this is not the case when looking at digital content.
Every content owner or group of owners will have specific needs, demands and requirements that apply to their content. In order to be able to identify these requirements a content migration project generally starts with an analysis phase. In this phase, the available content is identified and specific reports about the data are created. These reports are discussion pieces that allow content owners to make decisions about what to do with the identified content, usually, this is done in a series of workshops. The decisions that are made are tracked and are transformed into business/migration rules.
In order to be able to verify that the identified migration rules are applied correctly, the next step is to execute the content migration in a Test or Acceptance environment that represents the target environment as best and recent as possible. The trick here is that users should already be familiar with the new content system, this lets them focus on checking their content and not the workings of the new system. Together with the system implementation team (if in place), a migration partner is able to help setup and guide this process by creating test scripts based on the identified migration rules specific for each user group for example.
Impact in new environment
Testing the migration rules that are previously identified is a crucial part of letting a migration project succeed. In most cases, this exercise helps to familiarize content owners with how applying these migration rules affect their content in the new environment. It also allows them to fine-tune specific decisions that are made based on how they play out in the new environment. The effect of this is not to be underestimated. After all, it is their content and they should be the one to control what happens to it. The way how migrations are approached technically says something about the ability to process multiple iterations based on changing needs and requirements about where and how content should be stored.
As in any information and technology related project, the people who use a system or in this case content should drive the decisions and actions that need to be made. By being able to actively involve content owners you can increase the sense of ownership and in the end are able to deliver any migration as expected.
During the years Xillio has handled hundreds of content migration projects. Our user-oriented approach is very much appreciated by our customers and also gives our migration consultants the input that is needed to successfully deliver the migrations we execute. Could yours be next? We look forward to that!