Best Practices for Migrating Content from IBM FileNet to SharePoint

Best Practices for Migrating Content from IBM FileNet to SharePoint

Sudakshina Bhattacharjee

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30 Aug 2019

Digital workplaces are enabling businesses to work more collaboratively than ever before. It has led to an increasing demand for business-critical information and documentation to be intelligently organized and classified so that these can be instantly retrieved, accessed, edited and stored by organisations as and when they need it.

The output of a good Digital Workplace programme would be to start inculcating, what global market analyst firm Gartner, refers to as Digital Dexterity: i.e. empowering all employees at your organisation to make the best use of the new forms of technology that are continually invading today’s workplace.

As goals and challenges change for any organisation, the workflow approaches and processes change and the technologies deployed therefore also needs to change and adapt to business goals efficiently, timely and as seamlessly as possible. This is when the need arises for organisations to migrate their business documentation from a legacy ECM, such as IBM’s FileNet to a modern, intelligent Content Service Platform, such as Microsoft’s SharePoint.

With over 78% of Fortune 500 companies happily using SharePoint, choosing to migrate your business content to it from a legacy ECM, such as IBM FileNet, makes a lot of sense.

What are the Best Practice Guidelines for Migrating from IBM FileNet to SharePoint?

The content migration process itself can present certain challenges, which would be good for you to be aware of as you consider and plan this transformation project. Let’s look at what the potential challenges could be when migrating content from IBM FileNet to SharePoint and what the best practices are to help mitigate these.

Discovering the content classification and volumes that currently exist within the FileNet environment

Before you embark on your content migration project, it is important to take stock of the volumes that currently exist within the FileNet environment and how it is categorised. Making a detailed inventory of this will help you and your organisation understand the scale of the project.

Identifying any incompatibilities and potential issues

Recognising any possible constraints that the source (i.e. FileNet) and target (i.e. SharePoint) systems could have before initiating the migration process, such as file sizes, formats, support for special file types (e.g. compound documents) and threshold capacities, is recommended too. This will help to define the migration process further and gauge the level of technical complexity involved so that time-frames, resources and costs can be estimated better. This is also when any potential issues are identified - such as invalid characters in file names, URL length limits, different file extensions (e.g. .doc and .pdf) in the version history of a document, etc.

Defining the scope of the migration project

The next best practice would be to prioritise the order in which your content gets migrated and why. It is best to get the decision makers involved in this phase, as there may well be content that does not actually need migrating and could be archived or deleted. There will be content that needs migrating straight away as well as content that ought to be migrated last as it is actively changing. Other factors worth considering include:

  • How old is the content? Can it be archived?
  • What value does it have for the business?
  • How many versions does it have? Do all the versions need migrating?

Building the right information architecture within SharePoint

One of the main purposes of migrating to a modern, intelligent Content Service Platform, such as SharePoint, is to make the most of its new, intelligent features that transforms the way your organisation works, enhancing collaboration and productivity levels. It can be very easy

to recreate the information architecture that currently exists within the source system into the target system. However, you would then be missing out on the business benefits that the migration has to offer, such as reorganising content, enriching metadata structures, AI-assisted content classification, surfacing, Business Intelligence (BI) data, etc.

Enable automation as much as possible

In addition to automating the migration process, the objective should be to automate the mundane and manual administrative tasks and processes, thereby boosting overall productivity, reduce human error and helping build better business growth for your organisation.

Defining the migration process based on business priorities

Migration should not just come from a standalone IT viewpoint but should align with business goals set by your organisation overall. As mentioned before, it is about making digital technologies work for your business and leveraging it as much as possible. It would be sensible to migrate your business content in manageable tranches and in accordance with what your organisation requires.

Choose the right content migration tool

The right migration tool would support the migration strategy that you have put in place, fulfilling the technical and business requirements. It would have proven experience of migrating entire object stores and folders and intelligently classifying content. Ideally, it would also have inbuilt pre-migration checks to highlight any potential issues that could affect the migration.

Proventeq’s Migration Accelerator tool maximises the potential of your content and information management infrastructure before, during and after the migration process.

IBM Filenet to SharePoint

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