4 Reasons Why ECM Migrations Fail

November 3, 2022

As organizations look to modernise their Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems, data migrations have become increasingly complex and lengthy processes. There are many potential pitfalls which can lead to a failed migration. In this article, we will explore the top 4 reasons why ECM migrations fail. By being aware of these potential pitfalls, organizations can take steps to avoid them and ensure a successful migration.

1. Vague Requirements

More often than not, requirements for data migration projects are rather vague or incomplete. Most of the time, these requirements seem to be based on assumptions around the data instead of facts. This can often lead to unaccounted duplication across data sources, mappings missing key values, and structure disparity not being fully discerned.

Usually, the requirements are documented in data dictionaries. But there is a legitimate need to have a clear standard to make sure that there is no incompleteness or unambiguity in those requirements. Otherwise, information can fall through the cracks. Simply put, vague and incomplete requirements are a bane of data migration and will ultimately lead to implementation errors.

The best way to avoid this issue is by conducting an accurate and thorough data assessment during the pre-migration discovery process. This will allow for more clearly defined requirements that reflect reality and match the desired outcome.

2. Misaligned Skills

Even when the requirements are clearly defined, there can still be knowledge gaps or lack of expertise that will lead to a flawed migration. This is because these projects are often driven by employees who lack system and business knowledge. Business analysts might have the necessary data and system knowledge, but it is usually vendors or in-house developers who are driving the solution in most organizations.

Unfortunately, these knowledge gaps will often cause process models to be poorly designed, which can ultimately lead to a failed migration. Although the input of these stakeholders is valuable, the resulting knowledge gaps will inevitably cause problems further down the line. This can manifest in poorly designed process models that will only be discovered once the system goes live.

This is why engaging an ECM migration expert like Helix International is highly beneficial. Helix is the IBM partner of choice for data migration and industry-leading experts for over 30 years. With over 80+ ECM developers and data engineers across 7 global offices, Helix has skills, expertise, and experience to execute data migration projects of any size with 100% project success rate.

3. Rigid Processes

Most traditional methods for data migration are quite rigid and unyielding. This lack of flexibility can be a serious problem when there are adjustments that need to be made. When new requirements are discovered in the middle of the project, it can cause an endless, unpredictable, and unmanageable refinement loop.

The traditional methodology is often unable to accommodate these new requirements. Changes to the implementation and additional testing can uncover further needs, which then influence the implementation, and so on. This is a very expensive loop and completely impossible to manage with traditional methodologies.

As discussed before, it is unrealistic to create precise and upfront requirements when we are dealing with outdated, large, complex source systems. This is especially true when the required analysis skills are in short supply. Oftentimes, system documentation is lacking, outdated, or missing altogether. Furthermore, new requirements are frequently discovered during the testing phase. All of these factors can contribute to a failed migration.

4. Poor Measurements

In many cases, companies struggle to monitor the impact of optimizations in real-time. They also lack the tools or methods for identifying or measuring success when it comes to KPIs like manual touch rates, delays, or on-time delivery.

This is especially true when you are dealing with large data sets. Without the proper tools, it is very hard to identify these values quickly. As a result, system migration initiatives can lose focus on the business objectives that companies have set.

All of these factors can contribute to a failed ECM migration. By being aware of these potential pitfalls, organisations can take steps to avoid them and ensure a successful migration.

100% Successful Migrations with Helix International

ECM migration may seem simple in theory. However, overlooking the complexities and potential pitfalls will ultimately lead to issues too complex to deal with once the migration is underway.

Helix International has been in the ECM migration industry for over 30 years. With over 500+ enterprise clients to date and having migrated well over 1,000+ petabytes of data, Helix boasts a 100% project success rate. Not only that, our proprietary software MARS Data Platform, is the only one in the market that's purpose-built for seamless ECM data migrations. It gives enterprises superpowers like viewing documents in any filetype on demand from any data source, unearthing "dark data" and forgotten assets from archives that most viewers and content managers can't access, different migration options and scenarios, locating any data issues and predicting errors before even beginning a migration, and a whole host of other amazing features.

Data migration is an intricate and arduous process. Being aware of the pitfalls and having a good migration partner is crucial to a successful ECM data migration project.

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