Why Are Community Platform Migrations So Expensive?

Robert Hanson

Community platform migrations can be a daunting and expensive undertaking for businesses, due to the amount of work required to transfer content and data from one platform to another. However, the cost of a migration will depend on a variety of factors, such as the size of the community, the complexity of data and platform being migrated to and from. For example, is the client migrating from a CMS where each page is really just a collection of widgets? Or are they coming from a platform that allows content to appear in multiple places? Or is the API of the platform they are coming from not sufficient enough to be able to export all of the data points they want exported?

Are platform migrations actually expensive?

Let's take an average data migration that includes the migration of 3,000 users, 15,000 content items, and 45,000 comments. The migration project includes several steps:


  • Exporting the data
  • Performing an analysis on the data to identify hidden complexity
  • Generating reports for you so that you can understand their content better
  • Providing data mapping worksheets to you and showing you how to fill out those worksheets
  • Strategizing with you on landing pages in the new environment

Build Out

  • Building out a couple of those places
  • Writing code to handle client-specific requirements
  • Testing the code to make sure it works correctly
  • Performing an initial data import
  • Performing limited testing on the migrated content to make sure it migrated properly
  • Convert links to the new platform
  • Providing you a report of links that could not be fixed 
  • Preparing for a delta import by testing the mechanism several times
  • Answering questions

Going Live and After

  • Providing project management services
  • Attending weekly update meetings
  • Working with you to develop an hour-by-hour plan for go-live
  • Performing the final delta import
  • Performing a final review of the content
  • Providing warranty support for 30 days after go-live to troubleshoot
  • Fixing any issues that are discovered.

We do all of this work for the equivalent effort of one person in five weeks.

What are the Challenges with Community Platform Migration?

As you can see, the challenges with community platform migrations is ensuring that all content and data is transferred accurately and efficiently. This can be particularly challenging if the community platform being migrated from has unique features or customizations that don't exist in the new platform. Additionally, there is the challenge of ensuring that the migration doesn't disrupt the user experience for community members.

How Much Does a Community Migration Cost?

The cost of a community migration will depend on the factors mentioned above. Generally, the larger and more complex the community, the higher the cost of migration. However, businesses can work with experienced migration providers to reduce costs by streamlining the process and using automation tools.

It’s worth noting that simply deciding to reduce the amount of data being transferred does not necessarily reduce the cost. There's still a certain level of effort regardless of the amount of content. You still have to run through the tasks that you described and do that required amount of planning, strategizing, etc.

Community platform migrations can be expensive and challenging, but with the right approach and partner, businesses can mitigate these challenges and ensure a successful migration. At Social Edge, nearly all of our migration work is performed under a fixed fee contract, which means that their costs don't go up if our estimate was wrong (and IT estimates are notoriously wrong.) By working with experienced migration providers and carefully planning the process, we can ensure a smooth transition to a new platform that meets the needs of your community.