Even today, organizations still rely on the slow, painful, error-prone manual process of working with data. This can involve scanning various documents, OCR with the mandatory deciphering of bad handwriting, adding needed metadata, properly naming documents to fit the organization standards, saving digital files in the right format, moving documents to other physical and digital location, etc. Just reading the description of this process is enough to give you a headache.
Is There Light at the end of the ECM Migration tunnel?
Now think about the scary process of moving all that data into an ECM system. Enterprise Content Management systems are massive systems built to answer most of the modern company’s data needs. But, taking all those scanned files, all those disjointed excel spreadsheets, tons and tons of data stored in different databases is scary, to say the least.
Companies can spend thousands of work hours in processing all their data and still not be out of the woods when it comes to eliminating human error. There are far too many moving parts, far too many variables, and every step of the way is yet another chance of forgetting something, overlooking a small detail, and end up with a failed migration into an ECM.
The old saying goes applies. If I could get a Nickel any time the phone rang with a stuttered voice on the other end of the line saying “Um, guys, umm, we have a problem. The Payroll database, we kind of dropped the ball and, um, we can’t really make sense of what we have. It’s just a series of numbers, then a series of names, then a series of commas, colons, semicolons. Please help!”
Our data migration teams have gone through all kinds of data migration near-death scenarios and we’ve come out more focused, more successful, with a streamlined and even automated process of data migration. This goes both for data migration into an ECM, and data migration from one ECM into another.
When doing Automated ECM migration the key step is to come up with a repeatable and scalable process of taking all kinds of data on the Input of the process and send out structured, properly formatted data on the Output of this process. This usually results in a very simplified data intake because we’ve removed all or most of the manual steps. When a migration is properly architected, the flow should look something like this:
- All of the organizations’ paper documents are scanned and OCRed in batches, and very little human intervention is required.
- Document metadata is formatted according to the target ECM system needs.
- The digital files are automatically identified, categorized, located, and named according to the organization’s rules.
- The files are automatically stored in workflows.
- New files are noted in the master directory.
Automating the whole process of ECM migration means that operations that previously have taken weeks to complete, especially on large groups of documents, now take just a couple of hours.
Why Automate ECM Data Migration?
Most of the times, people jump at the pitch of automating anything. But companies are a bit more conservative to hop onto new glittering trends when it comes to their data. And this is actually a good thing. The Shiny Metal Object Syndrome caused some pretty big headaches for pretty big organizations.
Sometimes, however, there is a lot to be gained from automating an ECM migration, especially when this is done by a seasoned team of experts. Here are just a few benefits to keep in mind:
- Save time: Migrating your content manually is a time-consuming and complex process where you can spend maybe months of constant work. Automating the whole process can perform the migration in just a few days, or even hours (depending on the amount of data).
- Avoid data loss and duplication: Instead of missing some data or copying it twice, you can do things automatically. Translating your organization’s’ databases directly to the new database structure is a much easier process. With an automated approach, you can avoid data loss and duplication and simplify the whole process.
- Reduce human involvement: The good thing about automating the content migration is that you can start when you want and whenever you want. Automating your content migration will reduce the delays and errors connected with manual work.
- Skip reinventing the wheel: Whatever your case may be, chances are that somebody somewhere was in a very similar situation. So there is probably somebody out there that has the experience, and more importantly, the tools to do an ECM migration properly, the first time around. Tools like Caliente have done automated ECM migration far too many times for you to avoid the fact of its existence.
Automating the process of migration is completely different from the manual process. It is very easy to trace back steps and find where data originated and this makes fault-fixing much, much easier than any manual process. When you factor in ECM data migration tools like Caliente, the whole Automation idea takes a much more approachable, down-to-earth look where you get to see benefits much faster. Not to mention that the period from starting the ECM migration to the day your organization starts using the ECM will be much shorter.
Data migration is an important part of every intranet redevelopment. It is a challenging process and it can become extremely tedious if a lot of content awaits migrating into an ECM. Most of the times, this loosely organized content is the stumbling block for many organizations to even consider ECM Migration.
The good news is that many other organizations have already migrated onto an ECM, or migrated from an old ECM to a newer, stronger, better-supported ECM. The processes and technology needed to make data migration a manageable risk are already out there. There are teams who have migrated millions of documents and terabytes of data. Chances are, regardless of the specificity of your organization, someone out there has a process and a tool to make the data migration fully automated.
One such tool is Caliente. It’s a data migration solution specifically designed to handle large-scale data migration to and from various enterprise content management platforms and electronic formats including, but not limited to, Documentum, Alfresco, and Microsoft SharePoint. An automated data migration tool like Caliente will help you simplify the whole process of migration by providing a library of templates and tasks that can be easily performed with one click.
Our data migration experts have moved enormous amounts of disjointed documents into an integrated ECM. If you have any concerns about your specific situation, or you have some more general questions, feel free to comment below and we’ll get back to you with some answers, insights or advice.