Analyzing the source and the target systems and defining the transformation rules for migration are the pre-requisites for successful digital transformation. Ensure you have a content migration strategy and an elaborate plan that includes an effective test strategy with a pilot migration before embarking on the actual migration. The first step while charting your content migration strategy is to create a content matrix specifying the type of content in different sections on each page. Content types can be verbiage, images, audio, video, and any keywords or tags. This information will then be used in the target system or site based on the target site’s design. The strategy will be to employ a manual, semi-automated, or automated approach to moving and attaching assets to core content.
Common types of content in migrations
Assets (Images, Documents): Includes assets currently maintained in a folder structure under web application. These assets can be migrated either manually or using scripts from existing folder locations to the target site. If the target site is re-designed, many images tend to be new. Try to use original uncropped or modified versions provided by creative teams.
- Media files: Includes videos and audio clips used on the existing application/website. These are excluded from the above assets category, because the destination of these video files may be an online video platform (OVP such as eVidoe) and hence needs a different migration approach. Video files will be migrated to this OVP and the corresponding metadata, video ID, video links will be maintained in content management system. Preferably use originals for effective transcoding and better quality.
- Structured Content: Includes structured content such as product info XML files and can be migrated automatically to the target CMS. The high volume of product XML files and their structured nature allow us to take advantage of the automated migration approach.
- Un-structured Content: Includes any existing content, copy embedded in the HTML files, which doesn’t allow using the automated scripting approach and needs some manual intervention. For this type of unstructured content, a content matrix spreadsheet has to be created manually based on the user experience journeys, functional requirements, and content reusability needs. This content matrix will contain both the existing content, which needs to be migrated as well as any new content created to support the future user experience and functional requirements. The content matrix must have the destination target location mapping. Migration scripts must be created to migrate the content from the content matrix to the corresponding target systems.
If the volume of migrating data is high, then opt for an automated approach. For smaller volumes (less than 5000 pages) manual migration is good enough. While both manual and automated approaches have a number of options, automated migrations are the most complex to manage successfully. As migrations progress, they tend to attract a growing requirements list. This scope creep occurs, if the original constraints and the business requirements they are founded upon are ignored. It is important to tie back the choices for the type of migration undertaken, cost involved based on the original constraints, and the success criteria designed for them.
Automation or Manual migration?
Volume of content determines the approach for migration. If the migration volume is large, you must create batches for migration through custom scripts. As volumes increase, the need for executing in a number of smaller batches arises. This typically involves breaking down into smaller manageable sub-projects that migrate in either a parallel or sequential manner.
Follow the below steps to determine execution options for migration:
- Agree on the delivery strategy such as batch creation for migration.
• Identify each batch and scope the migration within that batch
• Depending on the batch scope, determine the QA strategy. Define the critical to quality parameters.
- Estimate the effort expected to execute the migration of batch
• Determine program impact for the batch
• Process all the batches created for migration for all the above steps
• Create delivery schedule for the complete migration
If the volume of content is less, then manual migration with a copy-paste approach on to the newly created templates is the best option. You can also choose a semi-automated migration model where some part of the content is manually migrated and some standard sections are created to automate migration.
The actual migration process can happen after you determine all the pre-requisites and approaches. All the earlier steps undertaken will provide you an operational framework reflecting both the source information and the target system requirements. Matching of the final migration output to the success criteria is extremely important. If a migration does fail, it is because the previously defined success criteria, based upon the transformation rules, are not met. Follow the below steps for undertaking migration:
- Run migration for all the identified batches
• Undertake acceptance of each batch
Remember, the migration roadmap is vital to ensure project success.
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