15 Frequently Asked Questions on Platform Migrations

Migrating from one platform to another can seem daunting, but if you go into it with a clear strategy and organized content, it doesn't have to be. I interviewed Robert Hanson, Social Edge's collaboration technology architect and migration wiz, to answer some of the most frequently asked questions people have about migrating from one platform to another.  

1. What happens to my existing content when it's migrated from one platform to another?

It really depends on your business goals. When working with a client on a migration project, we start by asking what their primary objectives are so we can develop a migration plan that matches their specific needs. We customize the experience and tailor it to each individual organization.

2. Is it possible to lose content or have items not be carried over?

Generally everything will be migrated, but there may be some platform limitations that prevent migrating some content types.  If a limitation is discovered we will work with you to come up with a solution that may allow us to retain your content in a different but similar format.  We also recommend performing a data cleanup and review in advance of the content migration so that you don't end up bringing over content you might not necessarily need.

3. How do I make sure that all of my content is organized and moved to the correct areas once it's migrated to a new platform?

In order to make sure everything is migrated to the correct places we work with you to make an inventory of your content followed by a mapping exercise to keep everything organized. You can map it closely to your current state so that the future state reflects what you already have set up in the community you are migrating from. Alternatively, sometimes our clients prefer to use this mapping exercise to do an overall place cleanup and map content to new information architecture by creating new space/group hierarchies.

4. What types of content can be migrated from one platform to another?

It depends on the platforms you are migrating from and to, and the platform's capabilities. By capabilities we are referring to what the API of each platform allows us to do with regards to exporting and importing data. Our team will work with you to identify any affected content items and attempt to identify alternate strategies to meet your business goals.

5. What happens if a content type I have in the community I'm migrating from does not exist in the new platform?

We try to find alternatives that meet your objectives. For example, take the "helpful answers" feature. Some platforms don't support "helpful answers" but every platform has a similar feature in some form or another, such as "suggested answers." In scenarios like this, we'd used the recommended platform approach to accomplish this goal. Another example would be document versioning. Both Telligent and Igloo have "wikis" that support the versioning of content, similar to native Jive documents, so we would use that content type to provide you with similar capabilities.

6. Can user profiles (profile fields, profile photos avatars/points) be migrated?

The ability to migrate profile data depends greatly on the platform you are migrating to, but typically we are able to migrate the majority if not all of your profile data.  If you are looking at a specific platform to migrate your data to we could provide you with a consultation on how well your current profile data maps to the target platform.

7. How are permissions impacted during a migration?

Sometimes permissions can be exported but we haven't found this to be the best way to set them up on a new platform as permissions don't always match up from one platform to another. During a migration project our Social Edge strategists work with our clients to inventory existing permissions and map them out in the new platform.

8. We have moderation enabled in the community we're migrating off of. How does this impact the migration?

Turn off moderation in the new platform for the import so it's not stuck in the moderation queue and awaiting admin approval. If you have content in the moderation queue of your current platform during a data migration (content that has not yet been approved or rejected) it is typically not exported, so the moderation queue should be reviewed by an administrator before a data export.

9. What happens to content that has been saved as a draft and not yet published? Will this be migrated over?

It depends on the platform, but generally any content that is in a state other than "published" (e.g. drafts, archived content, future dated blog posts, etc.) will not be visible to our export tooling. For example, a future dated blog post is only visible to the author, so our tooling won't be able to see it to export it. Our recommendation from a change management perspective would be to give your users advance notice that a migration is coming, what to expect, and how to publish their content so it is brought over.

10. Can content be back-dated?

In most cases yes.

11. Can links in content be maintained (including @mentions)?

In most cases yes, aside from links in attachments (e.g. Word Documents).

12. How much does a content migration cost?

We will provide a solution that meets your budget and platform needs.

13. How long does a data migration take?

Typically the overall project is 8-12 weeks, but it depends on the size of the migration and your business objectives.

14. How far in advance should I begin to plan for a platform migration?

Typically you should start looking around six months before your license renewal, and you should start your data migration no later than three months before your license renewal. Many platforms are willing to negotiate the start of the production license date.

15. How do I get started?

Easy! Email us at contact@socialedgeconsulting.com and our team will be in touch to set up a discovery call to help you kick off the process.