Content migration may seem like a simple task, but it requires extensive planning and evaluation in order to effectively move content from one platform to another. It doesn't matter what size your organization is, you need to have a solid plan before migrating content to be sure that you are optimizing your effort and providing the best possible support to your users.
In this article, we discuss some best practices when planning a content migration project.
Seek solutions to a business challenge
Typically, a small interim group is organized to perform the preliminary research and exploration. One example of a business challenge might be to reduce training time for new support center employees by 50%. Another example would be to reduce time to onboard a new customer by 50%. This interim group is responsible exploration of the specific strategic objective and making initial recommendations for how to get started. These groups look at competitor offerings and industry trends to seek out the best options. Do not rush through this research phase even though it may feel overwhelming and ambiguous.
This small interim group spearheads the investigations needed to identify the root causes of a specific business challenge and identify the solutions available. They often have a very far-reaching scope and must dig deep to gather the information needed. There are many sources of information that this group uses, here are a few examples that might help organize your efforts while in this phase of the project:
Understand the existing reporting sources within the organization.
Gather all customer journey metrics that track movement throughout the website and self-service interactions with the current knowledge base. Some examples include: page views, searches, knowledge articles opened.
Compile existing metrics associated with assisted channels such as email, phone, and chat interactions. Some examples include: service levels, handle times, average clicks, and cost per contact.
Formalize the strategic vision
The first deliverable typically requested by the executive sponsor is a proposal that outlines the issue or challenge, highlights areas for improvement, and forecasts the tasks to resolve it. The proposal is reviewed by the executive team or equivalent, and if approved, the executive sponsor receives the assigned responsibility for successful completion of the project.
This strategic vision is then formalized and communicated to all stakeholders, which includes customers, knowledge users, and the organization as a whole. It is often the role of the executive sponsor to communicate the initial start of the project, including the requirement to form a project team. Strategic impacts on operational metrics, such as increased effectiveness of knowledge reuse, faster time to proficiency for new hires, and improved customer retention and renewal revenue, also become part of the strategic vision.
Assemble a migration team
You need a team of detail-oriented people to successfully perform a content migration. Once you identify the right people, assign each person a particular role to establish expertise. All team members don't need to be experts in each facet of the project, but make sure there are a couple individuals with deep knowledge in a particular topic so that there is always someone to turn to guidance and skill.
Obtain executive commitment
Getting a content migration project off the ground requires an initial commitment from a high-ranking executive who has the capability to align a budget to the project. The executive sponsor must also identify the person to lead the project. It is not feasible to move forward without an executive sponsor and a person to lead this content migration effort. An executive sponsor is necessary to communicate the business strategy that drives the migration plan. He or she provides the scope, budget, funding, establishes the timeline, and champions the migration project within your organization.
Perform an assessment and identify the scope of the project
After the key leadership positions are identified, it is time to move into the assessment, scoping, and design phase of the project. Begin with stakeholder interviews and process demonstrations to capture all the necessary inputs from end users and those responsible for migration process deliverables. Doing so early on ensures that the important considerations are clearly understood at the outset. It also provides everyone involved with a sense of confidence that their input has been sought.
The most critical key stakeholder is the executive sponsor. Work with this person to establish the vision and determine what a successful outcome looks like. This level of detail is critical when key scoping decisions are needed. Work with the executive sponsor to establish how he or she would like to manage the approval process. Knowing the information he or she will need and how this information will be presented to him or her is critical to a smooth approval process.
Complete the project roadmap
The end result of the assessment and scoping phase is a completed roadmap highlighting all the specific content migration project deliverables. It captures the key strategic decisions that will serve as the project’s guiding principles and provides a framework to direct all future decisions. It also identifies where resources or skills are lacking, and builds the functionality requirements needed within the technology solution.
At a high level, consider the assessment, scoping, and design phases as the time to address all the project unknowns.
Identify all other major unknowns
Tackling all high-level unknowns now allows new functionality or content requirements to be considered for inclusion.
Plan a pilot run
Before tackling all your content, choose a small sample and perform a trial run. Have your team perform their roles and collect information about the process, hours needed for each task, and any improvements or adjustments that need to be made. This pilot run will help you establish an effective system and prevent many errors and bottlenecks for the main project.
Execution and continuous improvement
It's go time! Be sure to make continuous improvements to the process as needed and communicate any changes to the team promptly. When the project is complete, evaluate the overall effectiveness of your strategy and execution so that you can better prepare for future migrations.
This is part of KM Path™ Phase 1
This article is a part of the KM Innovation, the first phase of your KM Path. The analysis, discussions, and decisions in this stage are essential for effective planning that aligns interests while preventing missed opportunities, repeated steps, and misunderstandings down the road.
Irrevo's KM Path is the proprietary methodology we designed to help you plan, build, launch, and optimize your knowledge program. Learn more
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