As an organization approaches a migration from network file shares , one of the most difficult thing to do is get started. The shear amount of information and documents spanning across years of accumulation can seem insurmountable. Sticking to a solid migration strategy and understanding the benefits moving unstructured data into a more formal Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution can be critical to the success of your effort
1) Review content and purge
Organizations tend to lean towards hoarding data rather than keeping what they need to keep. Not only is this far more risky than consistently purging data, but it makes planning a migration very difficult. Review your organizational and industry policies and have a content ‘garage sale’. The less content that needs to be moved, the less complicated the engagement will be.
2) Identify personal storage
Some organizations keep personal file shares. Others have ‘personal,’ folders within department drives. The truth is that these documents can be intermixed and make sticking to policy difficult. Prior to the migration, separate this content so decisions can more easily be made to migrate, remain, or purge.
3) Map the file plan to the network file shares
As the file shares become more organized, it will be easier to associate types of content (AP Records, HR Records, Memos, Board Reports, etc) to general content types. Many times retention policies and file plan can be applied to similar content, making it easier to make decisions on where it is stored, who owns the content, and who should have access to the documents.
4) Build the ECM repository
Consider the critical data to categorize (and eventually find) to a particular document type. For example, an HR record may have data such as Employee ID, First Name, Last Name, Date of Hire, and Date of Termination. Build the ECM system to accept these documents with the data on Day 1. Doing this up front is far easier and less costly then coming back to it after a file migration.
5) Migrate and classify
More often than not a migration tool should be used when moving from file shares to an ECM system. Choose a tool that works best for your organization – including usability for the migration team. The benefit of a tool is that the documents can be tagged and classified as they are being migrated, instantly providing business value through context and search ability. As the ECM matures, this data can also be used to drive business process through workflow.
6) Implement record and policy standards
After the content is classified and migrated to the system, content policies can be applied to systematically declare records, drive retention, or purge documents from the system. All of these end of life activates reduce risk and effort to manage content — preventing the end state which exists in the file share world today.
Adhering to these steps can ensure a successful migration to an ECM platform. Following best practice and reducing the amount of content that will be migrated and managed is a big step in the right direction. Finally, migrating the content with context into a well thought out structure will provide instant return on investment from the migration effort.