Managing Migrations: Solutions as Diverse as Needs

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Content migration can mean many different things to different organizations. For some, it can mean migrating the contents of their current content management system (CMS) to another, more efficient system.
For others, it can mean moving that content into a content delivery network (CDN) so that it's more accessible for users. It can also be identified as the migration of content from one archiving system to another, making the content much easier to sort and identity for any future needs.

And for some companies, content migration may even mean moving that content from more static, traditional webpages to easy and seamless accessibility by mobile devices.

Regardless of the origin of the content and where it's moving from and to, there's no disputing the fact that most organizations have a lot of content-probably more than they actually need on a regular basis. And as their business plans and processes evolve, a migration of that content into a new system is often a necessity. From mergers and acquisitions to changes in business strategy (even the addition of a new initiative), the reasons behind migrating content can vary.

However, one motivation is shared by most companies: the need to replace outdated systems that don't help organizations solve their current business challenges in the most efficient way. From his experience, Apoorv Durga, an analyst with the Real Story Group, says, "A lot of companies implemented [first-generation] systems, and now they are planning to move to a new content management system that is more modern."

A Major Migration
That was certainly the case for professional staffing and consulting services firm Robert Half International, which needed to migrate all static content that resided on the company intranet to a global portal system. The old system wasn't scalable, according to Chad Miller, manager of portal development at Robert Half, and the company needed a system that would enable it to more easily expand its intranet content on a global scale.

Robert Half turned to Kapow Software and its extraction browser to extract the data from its previous location to the new portal system the company wanted to use. Then, robots, a main component of Kapow's technological solution, took over to help automate the process of converting the data into the new system. "The traditional method that is used is manual," says Stefan Andreasen, founder and CTO at Kapow Software. "But if you move it manually, it will stretch over time and it will freeze content. You want a method that does it without freezing, and in the shortest time possible."

Robert Half had 1 year to complete the project, which it completed in five phases. Among the static content it had to migrate were HTML content, Word documents, and images that resided on the old web-based intranet platform. The company needed the process to be completed as soon as possible because Robert Half had to maintain both the new and old systems during the entire transition. "We couldn't take down our intranet. While we were working on the new portal, we had to keep the other one up and running," explains Nikole Castro, senior manager, enterprise intranet portal at Robert Half. "It was a lot to ask of the team to double the job" and manage both systems simultaneously.

That's why automating the process was crucial for the Robert Half team, and one of the reasons the company felt that Kapow and its robot technology provided the right solution. Using Kapow technology, Miller and his team developed robots to help with a variety of tasks, such as content inventory. "We developed robots for each task to meet whatever needs we had," says Miller. "And we developed those to meet the challenges that came up."

"By leveraging the robots, we focused our team on development and really working on the portal versus engaging in manual migration efforts," adds Castro. "That was a big win for us."

Miller added that using Kapow's technology for the migration enabled Robert Half to maintain the accuracy of its content. "One of the things with migration is accuracy of the content, and having an automated solution kept our accuracy higher than if it was a manual process," says Miller. "Another benefit is decreasing time for issue resolution. As you do find issues with the content, if you manually have to address them, that's a time-consuming process. We could automate each of those fixes." Miller says it also helped the company optimize its content when it was migrated and improve search results in the process.

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