In our last post we looked at some of the critical concerns for migrating legacy customer communication archives to next generation ECM platforms. But aside from technological solutions, you also need practical ones and best practices to successfully migrate a customer communications archive.
It can be tempting to jump right in and begin moving things before properly scoping the size, shape and complexity of the migration, but it is vitally important to take the time and make the effort to do a thorough discovery and analysis. Otherwise, there is the risk of bringing forward existing inefficiencies and redundancies that will make the entire migration process more cumbersome, time consuming and prone to error. Discovery begins with questions like, “what types of data and documents are stored in the current archive?” and “are they all print files?” and “what format are those print files: AFP, Xerox Metacode, PDF?”. With a complete inventory of the files and formats contained in your archive you will be in a much better position to plan a migration properly.
The next step is to determine how much content you’ve got to manage from a day forward perspective and for the migration. Day forward refers to content being archived as part of a normal daily process. This is where some crucial and strategic decisions should be made regarding exactly what gets taken on board into the new system and what is left behind or eliminated.
It’s unlikely that you’ll need to migrate every single file and every single document in the legacy archive, from the start; only the most recent correspondence and high-value documents may be needed. Consider whether some information does not require immediate migration, and could be removed, migrated “on-demand”, or in batches, over a period of time. For example, documents that exceed the regulated retention period, or customer policies that have been superseded.
Quality assurance should be the first priority of any customer communications archive migration. But how do you guarantee that what you had to begin with is what you now have loaded into your new archive? Counting documents as they move through the extraction, transformation and loading processes can provide a degree of assurance, however, this technique may not account for inconsistencies in the source content. Often further objective quality measures such as randomised sampling or even semantic comparison will provide better results. But critical to quality is document fidelity – guaranteeing that the exact appearance of the original document is retained in the new archive. It won’t take long for users to realise that the documents look different in the new archive.
More about Crawford Technologies customer communication archiving and e-presentment solutions can be found here.