Six keys to successful legacy data migration

  • Mar 16, 2022
  • 5 min read
Shot by Denny Muller

No matter the industry or company size, at some point, all organizations need to modernize their information systems in order to remain competitive. This could involve moving from a legacy enterprise content management (ECM) system to the cloud-based version of that same system, or moving to a completely new system that offers the functionality and agility you need to scale and grow your business.

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve already thought about moving your organization from on-premises ECM to the cloud, but the mere idea of planning and executing such an extensive migration of high volumes of information can seem like an insurmountable feat, and your existing legacy system might be the very thing that’s holding you back.

The good news is, digital migration doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. No matter where your organization is in its transformation journey, progress can be made quickly with the right approach, the right process, and the right partners. In order to anticipate any challenges that may stand in the way of a successful legacy migration project, this blog offers six key takeaways that you’ll need to consider before getting started.

1. Understand your needs

A migration project without clear objectives, scope, and an idea of limitations is a project doomed to fail. In fact, most of your resources and energy should be concentrated towards the planning phase when preparing to decommission your legacy system. The first step is to understand the specific needs of your business: How much information are you moving? Who has access to the data? Will you need to accommodate for potential business growth?

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This step involves conducting a complete audit of your existing software and systems, including a list of all individual on-premise components and applications and how they are used. This will allow you to begin mapping the relationships between applications, identifying systems that can be combined, or codependencies between certain systems. Perhaps there are even systems you can avoid moving altogether.

Once you have a clear understanding of what your needs are and what the breadth of your migration will look like, you can be in a better place to make actionable decisions about your migration process.

2. Establish a clear roll-out plan

Once you’ve established a clear view of your specific needs and defined the scope of the project, you’ll want to construct a plan of action to perform the migration. This involves defining exactly what data will be moved when, and in what order. What are the priorities? When will users be able to access the data?

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Your roll-out plan is instrumental in determining how quickly your migration process will go. It’s critical to include all stakeholders in the planning phase of the migration project to ensure there are no critical interruptions or oversights.

3. Prioritize your information

The next thing you will have to do is prioritize your information. This involves identifying the most important data, which should be moved as first priority to the cloud. Establishing a hierarchy across all of your information ensures that vital daily operations are easily and quickly accessible while you sort through other roll-out protocols.

This is also the ideal time to clean up your data and use the migration as housekeeping for a fresh start in the cloud. Lifting and shifting is a common mistake, which can defeat the purpose of migrating in the first place! The small effort required to define some simple rules regarding what you need in your new system is well worth it — anything that does not meet your new needs should be either disposed of or moved to a secure and very low-cost separate location.

Legacy systems are full of ROT — Redundant, Obsolete, and Trivial – content that is potentially disposable given the lack of usage or the age of the content. It’s important to be brutal and key in on the value of the data more so than the volume. The more data you migrate, the longer and more complex your migration is likely to be.

Cleaning up your server and systems allows for more fluid migration, and even greater productivity once in the cloud.

4. Consider Security & Governance

Old legacy systems are a breeding ground for unpleasant surprises. Duplicate and unnecessary information and assets that should no longer be stored are often synonyms for security issues or governance oversights. It’s crucial to have a plan to ensure you consider compliance, privacy, security, and regulatory issues for all of the information and systems you’re moving.

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Integrating security into your cloud migration process means you are setting up safety standards as you go. When compliant firewalls and other cybersecurity tools secure your information, you put your business in a better position to respond to threats. In fact, one of the most critical parts of integrating security into your cloud technology is the ability to be proactive rather than responsive to any data breaches.

5. Test and track

It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to conduct a content migration incrementally, and test as you go. Not only does this allow for business continuity, but you will be able to test in a live environment with a gradual approach. With intelligent insights and migration tracking, you can monitor progress and detect any performance glitches in the early stages of the migration, then adjust to optimize as you go. A steady, step-by-step approach leaves room for trial and error — which all migrations face.

6. Invest in the right migration partner

When moving your critical business information to the cloud, you’ll want to have access to the best technology on the market to help you optimize and streamline the process, all while ensuring data security. Plus, when dealing with valuable archived data, independent experimentation is a rocky road. Investing in a qualified migration partner that can adapt to your unique transformation needs will increase the probability of success and lower the overall project time. Plus, you’ll free up your IT team to work on more important projects like serving your customers, rather than investing too much time trying to figure out the right legacy data migration strategy.

Prepare for launch!

Legacy migration may seem like a daunting project, but with the right tools and expertise, and a comprehensive method, you can be up and running in the cloud faster than you might expect. It all starts with understanding your business, establishing a clear migration plan, and testing incrementally to eliminate challenges. Adopting a trusted migration platform like Fast2 can streamline and simplify every phase of the migration process. From planning and discovery to task mapping and execution, data governance, control, and reporting, a dedicated, comprehensive system will alleviate a massive deal of associated stress and resources.


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