To read the previous entry in this blog series, click here.

Of all the moments that make you anxious for the moving process to come to an end, my least favorite might be those that include the following sentiment: "Why in the world didn't we just throw/give that away?" Every occasion in which I opened a box and that thought came to mind corresponded to a case of unnecessary effort, unjustified cost, and unwanted frustration. Avoiding similar moments for business users should be a goal of content migration.

Having completed the content inventory, time and focus should be dedicated to identifying and de-scoping all content which does not meet well-defined criteria for inclusion in the migration to the target system. This Cleanup step typically yields the following benefits:

1. Reduction of unnecessary effort hours during tagging, migration, and validation
2. "De-cluttering" of content in the target system (to the benefit of the end users)
3. Reduced content storage requirements (and costs)
4. Optimized retention/archiving policies in the target system based on an improved business understanding of real needs

To realize these benefits, of course, the criteria for content inclusion must be established. While those criteria vary widely across organizations and systems, certain content dimensions are likely to merit consideration. These include:

  • legal/regulatory requirements
  • strategic relevance
  • when the content was created
  • when the content was last modified
  • when the content was last viewed/downloaded
  • the frequency with which the content has been viewed/downloaded
  • the format of the content and that format's interoperability with the target system

While its value seems rather obvious, I have routinely seen the Cleanup phase cut short – on both portal projects and in my own relocation. Project deadlines and general uncertainty can result in "We'll figure it out later" decisions that ultimately prove to be detrimental to all involved. So if you're planning a content migration initiative, do yourself, your team, your business customer, and your budget a favor: invest in the Cleanup effort. And when you're done, you'll be much better positioned for the Approach Definition phase.