Professional Services and the Elephant in the Room - Part 2

Congratulations! You’ve installed and configured FileHold, and your design has been given the stamp of approval by The Powers That Be. Now it’s time to tackle that other enormous elephant in the room: Data Migration.

Migrating data (metadata and/or documents) is an integral part of deploying a document management system, and probably the most challenging. Migrations range from simplistic document imports to complex data transformation. When done correctly, migrations are a thing of beauty (thus elevating you to super-star status among your mere-mortal peers). However, when done incorrectly, that migration elephant can quickly transform into an ugly T-Rex, and well… there goes your super star status.

FileHold’s Professional Services team has experience with data migrations of all sizes and complexities. Using best practices standards, FileHold approaches every migration with the same analytical methodology:

  • Analysis and Scope
  • Analysis Report and Cost Estimation
  • Solution Design Document and Technical Design Document
  • Build and/or Configure Migration Tool(s)
  • Verification of FileHold Configuration
  • Source Data Cleansing
  • Migration and Verification-Simulation\Execution Modes
  • Import Documents
  • Final Verification

The first step in any migration is to determine the scope and level of effort required. FileHold’s Professional Services team will evaluate the as-is environment in order to determine the scale of the migration (baby elephants, regular elephants, and/or potential T-Rexes). This analysis phase is critical to a successful migration in that it reveals potential risks or challenges that may impact the scope of the migration (refer to ugly T-Rex statement above). This includes, but is not limited to, the requirement to import document versions, complicated document security mappings, data anomalies or conflicts that require pre or post-migration clean-up.

The bulk of effort for most migrations is directly related to analyzing and sizing the existing data, and, of course, mapping and transformation tasks so that the documents get into FileHold with searchable metadata. If the export tasks are done correctly, the import into FileHold should be fairly straight forward. (Yeah! Super Star status achieved). Customers who have a good handle on their internal systems and as-is data may choose to take ownership of data export tasks, requesting only transformation and importation assistance from FileHold (just beware of T-Rexes). Other customers require or request an end-to-end migration tool, which necessitates custom development. In short, the Customer’s participation in the migration can have a direct impact on the overall scope and cost of the project.

For more complex migrations third-party tools may be necessary. Proprietary or legacy eDMS systems typically involve substantial investigative work, and may warrant assistance from outside vendors. These types of migrations are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

At the end of the analysis phase, FileHold will present the Customer with a detailed analysis report as well as a size-cost estimation.

Upon acceptance of the cost estimation, FileHold will prepare a Solution Design Document outlining the proposed solution. The Solution Design Document will be the guide for the migration process. It will outline data transformation (mappings), as well as other tasks and tools required to complete the migration. It will identify migration gaps, or those tasks that cannot be controlled by the migration process. When a custom tool is required to perform the migration, the specification document will become the basis for a Technical Design Document that will be used by the FileHold development team in building the tool.

Prior to the migration, it is expected that the Customer will have FileHold installed and configured to accept the imported data. Optionally, Customer may wish to hire FileHold Professional Services to assist with their implementation or to do a readiness audit of their self-configured implementation.

FileHold has several out-of-the-box tools (standard and/or optional) that may be used individually for migration purposes or incorporated into a custom migration tool. These include:

Managed Imports: This tool may be used to import documents from Outlook watched folders, exported from FileHold, import documents from legacy document management systems, or just about any source that can describe what to import as XML.

Automatic Document Importation Tool: The Automatic Document Importation (ADI) mechanism is an optional tool that allows importing a large number of documents into the document management system with minimal user intervention. It runs on the FileHold server to facilitate the mass migration of documents. ADI is similar to the Watched Folders functionality but can also be integrated with various custom migration tools using an API.

Watched Folders:  Watched folders is a standard feature that creates quasi direct line that allows users to place their documents into the watched folders and from there they are automatically sent to the FileHold system.

Additionally, FileHold has an open API making it ideal for creating custom client applications and/or integrating existing third party applications into FileHold.

FileHold Professional Services will do our best to ensure that no elephants are harmed during the migration process.