A short look at the high level migration related tasks when converting your document management system to SharePoint. The processes are discussed in terms of the Clockwork Software ECMS / DMS / EDRMS SharePoint Migration Tool, though they are quite generic.
This diagram above summarises them. Here I’ll say a little more about each part, and as time goes on I will blog about each area and add links to each blog below.
- Old DMS: Detailed analysis
- Analyse data for errors and issues. Is the metadata all valid?
- Analyse files for errors (a few 100 per million is typical)
- Review errors found, implement a clean-up
It always surprises me how people are so certain that their data is in really good shape and don’t take this step seriously. Invariably they pay for it later with odd errors that are really hard to trace and suck up time. This is because the error rates in systems are usually very low, but 5-10 errors in 100,000 documents is devilishly hard to trace after a failed migration, but often quite easy to find and fix with some careful initial analysis. If you need some tools for testing have a look at our file checker and copier tool.
- SharePoint design
- Sites, libraries, fields & content types
- Look & feel
- Custom applications
By far the biggest task in converting a Document Management System to SharePoint is the SharePoint design. A common mistake is to get a long way down the design track (sites, libraries, metadata, security etc) without actually getting users to look at it with real data. I’ve seen beautiful designs with deeply thought out metadata schemas trashed because users didn’t “get” them. So get your users involved early, show them their own data and how it fits, and make sure they are commenting on it (good or bad).
Of course this means you need to get your migration tool configured and working so you can quickly and easily migrate documents for testing. My one can run in trial mode and do 9 documents at a time – click "Start" again to get more through for testing.
- Selecting documents for specific SharePoint libraries
- Do this early on. It can be quite tricky working out how to select what you need. One useful feature of the Clockwork Software SharePoint Migration Tool is that it won’t migrate documents twice. So you can sort out the really important ones first, migrate them, and then it doesn’t matter if other SQL would have selected them as, they’ve already been migrated.
- Mapping metadata
- If you’ve done step one and cleaned up your DMS data this will be quite straight forward.
- Mapping document security (if needed)
- How does this look? – “Test” migrations
Use the Tool (the trial version is ok) to push a few documents through and see how things look – libraries, views, search results, etc. This is the best test, along with getting real users to look at it
- Migration plan
There can be a lot of things in the plan including:
- Timing for go live:
- Who? When? All staff at once? By department?
- Migrate: all documents; recent documents only; recent plus as many older documents as possible
- Training schedule...
- Do you want to tag migrated documents in the old DMS – indicate SharePoint URL, set to read only?
- Determine checks and balances for validating migration runs
More on this at its own blog coming very shortly: "DMS to SharePoint Migration Planning - a few considerations"
Bear in mind that with my tool you can remove migration runs very easily. So if UAT shows up some issues that can be fixed easily you can refresh the environment very quickly.
- Migration runs
Once you’re here it probably feels like you are on the home straight, but it may be months before you are done, and it is highly likely you will revisit the earlier steps as departments turn out to need slight variations on the design.