When a company implements a Content Management System (CMS) or starts a CMS project, a plan to deal with any existing content needs to be taken into account. Of course there are times when there may not be existing content so in that case this makes life simple, but less often this is not the case. So the question is “To migrate or not to migrate?” Here is how I approach it.
- Determine if there is some type of ROI by completing the migration. Some common areas where ROI can be recognized: Reduction in hardware required to house content, ability to sunset existing software or consolidate systems.
- Is there a business need to migrate content? In many cases there are valid business reasons to migrate content. However migrations are typically expensive and the business value may not dictate the need.
- Is there a compliance requirement. In some cases there may be a need to move content into a more secure repository and thus justifying a migration.
- Figure out what the real cost of conducting the migration is. Like mentioned previously migrations are normally expensive, and the expense can take many forms. In some cases it is additional project resources to develop tools, index, and map metadata. In other cases there may be expenses in terms of actual infrastructure costs. Knowing this up front is key to answering this question.
After addressing these items I normally have a clear direction on whether or not to migrate content. When it makes sense I migrate, when it does not I normally have to look for a Plan B. In today’s economy Plan B normally takes the form of an Enterprise Search Tool such as Google or Autonomy. Google has been a very cost effective method which many clients have found successful. The reason this is such an attractive approach is the fact you really do not have to put much thought to structuring content as the search tool does all the work. Search tools can also be integrated into a CMS sometime cheaper than migrating.
It’s definitely not always cut and dry on when to migrate, but migrations are a key aspect of most CMS implementation.