CASAHL has learned over the course of hundreds of enterprise-scale migration projects that eight key processes and products are needed to ensure migration quality in terms of content fidelity, correctness, completeness, and user acceptance. We’ve also learned, from customer stories and experiences with inadequate migration tools and techniques (either from CASAHL competitors or home-grown), that an unsuccessful migration project can generate revolt from users, hurt adoption of new cloud deployments, and, often, result in lost user productivity and content control. In particularly disastrous migration projects addressed with inadequate migration tools, we have even seen enterprises revert to their old content/collaboration environments, incurring extended periods of user disruption and considerable expense only to end up back where they started.
That’s not how migrations should go. We’ve applied our accumulated experience to develop the following set of key requirements, processes, and products to bring enterprises a streamlined, completely supported migration lifecycle.
- Full support for multiple source collaboration systems: a full migration solution needs to support any source system from which an enterprise would want to migrate, meaning it needs to support the following: Google Drive and Sites (a paired option since many companies have both, and Sites pages frequently contain embedded references to Google Drive documents); Box, Dropbox for Business, and other file shares; Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange public folders; IBM Notes/Domino, QuickPlace, and Quickr; and Web-centric content/collaboration platforms such as Atlassian Confluence. CASAHL’s migration engine ecKnowledge, with its connector-based architecture, supports all of the above.
- Assessment of collaboration environments: no migration plan can succeed without a thorough understanding of the content, apps, usage patterns, and active users in your legacy systems. A detailed and automated assessment is a required first step on all legacy systems to be migrated, as it provides an overall landscape and scope-of-project understanding from which a migration plan can be built and a migration project can be managed. CASAHL’s assessment system, composed of our Discovery and Analysis products, review all of the above criteria and more, then compile detailed reports on the findings to provide enterprises a uniquely powerful solution for multi-source legacy assessments.
- Support of multiple migration target systems: some enterprises need more than one option when choosing a migration target system. Enterprises migrating from Google, Box, and/or Dropbox, in particular, often choose a mix of OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online as migration targets in order to maintain the features and capabilities provided by their original environments. CASAHL’s multi-source, multi-target ecKnowledge migration engine offers enterprises one central location from which to manage both migration to the cloud, including Office 365, or migration to hybrid deployments combining cloud systems with on-premises systems.
- Pilot migration: the pilot migration process allows us to understand the customer’s environment in terms of network bandwidth, operation and security policies, and other system-wide details. More importantly, it also allows us to understand fully the users’ requirements and chosen migration targets. CASAHL’s Quick Start program offers enterprises a cost-effective, low-risk pilot migration so they can migrate several high-priority sites while we calibrate the rest of their migration to go even more smoothly.
- Estimation of migration duration: CASAHL’s Migration Estimator product uses the information gathered in the Assessment and Pilot Migration phases of migration, including the number of drives and files to be migrated, network bandwidth, number of virtual machines and VM threads, and more, to compute a precise estimate of time needed to migrate the desired content. Without this type of comprehensive assessment, there is no way to effectively manage the project or set up accurate user expectations. Experience shows that users and management both become less anxious about migrations if precise estimates of migration duration and cost are readily available. Indeed, for some enterprises we’ve worked with, migration projects couldn’t get management approval without the detailed estimates.
- User participation in project management: CASAHL’s Project Manager supports and solicits user participation in managing migration phases. The Project Manager product allows the customer to prioritize and assign drives and sites to a weekly workload “bucket” where each drive or site is assigned a migration weight by the Migration Estimator. The Project Manager, along with the Migration Estimator, allows users to decide what content to migrate when using estimates based on actual parameters on their own environment. This helps make users active participants in the migration process, empowering them to “control their own destinies” and keep the content they need available. The end results include higher user satisfaction and accelerated deployment adoption.
- Support of a coexistence period to ease migration: most users need to be able to continue using their source systems during a migration. Maintaining user productivity during migration is critically important for enterprises, and is a base requirement for increasing user productivity post-migration. CASAHL’s ecKnowledge migration engine supports this coexistence period with built-in incremental migration (also known as delta migration) and synchronization capabilities. Our migration experience has shown us that this capability significantly eases the users’ anxiety about migrations and makes both the migration process and user adoption of the new deployment much smoother.
- Automated verification of migration results: a key aspect of the post-migration process is the ability to detect and address potential migration errors such as missing files, missing or mismatched metadata, missing or mismatched permissions on files and folders, rich text errors, and many other types of errors resulting from inconsistencies in source and target systems. CASAHL’s supporting automated product, the Migration Verifier, checks the results of a migration for any such mismatched or missing information and, when applicable, automatically corrects problems. This gives enterprises the unprecedented ability to verify that their migration has been carried out completely correctly, down to the smallest detail.
A migration solution missing even one of the eight keys can result in frustrated, unhappy users and stalled cloud deployments. We’ve seen this trend hold true over twenty years of migration experience; it’s why we developed the products described in this post to make sure all of the key considerations listed in this post are fully addressed. We ensure that migration projects are successful by using our unique product set to meet all required processes, and carry out migrations with full content fidelity and maximal user acceptance for a smooth transition to the cloud. CASAHL’s approach offers an end-to-end solution that makes it possible for CASAHL to directly manage all migration tasks and scheduling, minimizing user impact. Please see our DART Product Suite overview for more details about CASAHL’s unique migration solution, and feel free to contact us for more information.