»I want to migrate 15,000 documents – what does it cost me?«

by Larissa Gräff |
Nov 1, 2018 |

Do you know these sentences, which simply belong to every job description?
“Are the rolls fresh?” – »But really only cut the tips.« – »Is the space at the window still free?« or also »I would like to migrate 15,000 documents – what does it cost me?« I have heard the last sentence very often in the past six years and definitely count it among my top three.

»Migrations aren‘t that complicated«

When I started at fme, I honestly had no idea about migrations. Okay – documents are moved from A to B. The users simply pick up where they left off the day before. It can’t be that hard?!? And we even have our fme product, the migration-center. With its feature set, it does everything automatically and besides a few licenses I don’t need anything to get started with my new system. Nothing can go wrong there anymore, right?

The deeper the insights become, the easier it becomes to understand that it’s not so much a matter of simply »moving«, but of securing all important information. It is not enough to tell a tool »Perform the migration« if the data should be available in an usable state for the user.

»Migrations? For that we didn‘t plan a budget«

Migration is often the unloved stepchild in a project. In many companies, it is regarded as a »necessary evil«. If budget is planned for it, then it often is completely below what is realistic.
So, it happens again and again that I am asked in customer discussions on migrations:»Mrs. Gräff – I have here in my old system 15,000 documents. What does the migration cost me?« Unfortunately, the best answer from this is »It depends«. – the standard weapon of a Sales Manager :), but it is exactly the right answer…

There are so many open points, which are going through my head in this moment:

  • What does the legacy data look like? Can we get an excerpt from the legacy system?
  •  What does the target system look like? Is it already finished or perhaps still in development?
  •  When should the system be used productively – when should the data be available?
  •  Is it a validated system?
  •  Is the data in the old system homogeneous or rather heterogeneous?
  •  Is a 24/7 availability of the source and target systems to be guaranteed during the migration?
  •  …

At this point, it is already clear that the number of documents to be migrated does not play a primary role in the migration process.

Back in the office, I put THE sentence in the room of my consulting colleagues, which brings with it many question marks: »I have an inquiry for a migration of 15,000 documents«. At this point, they breathe briefly and finally pierce me with questions that I can then already partially answer.

The first question I always ask the customer is about the migration route. From where to where do you want to migrate? This already gives a very small insight into the complexity. The second and almost even more important requirement is data quality – what does your data look like in the legacy system? Our migration experts work out information about this in a first preliminary project or PoC (Proof of Concept). Also, all information are relevant which are proving validation as well as the object classes to be migrated.

You see – for an initial assessment, the number of documents is simply not relevant – whether we write the migration rules for 1,000 or 10,000 documents – that has an influence on the migration duration, but has only very little impact on the costs incurred.
In the next step, we go into direct communication and propose a joint expert appointment to take a closer look at the details. As a customer, you will also be perforated with questions here – your input is the basis for further joint action. This is where our migration-center comes into conversation for the first time.

»The migration-center covers all that for sure, doesn’t it?«

The fme product has been continuously developed by our employees within the last 14 years and has since established itself on the market worldwide. A global support organization supports our customers on a daily basis. fme migration-center is now represented all over the world.

The migration-center offers a range of functionalities that allow to move large amounts of from A to B based on a defined transformation process. A powerful database in our so-called core instance stores information on documents, folders, source and target metadata and much more. Depending on the environment, we are thus able to move your data from A to B with high performance.

An important point for our customers in the life science environment is the ability to handle migrations in a validated environment. We are also ideally equipped for this.
Would you like to know more? We invite you to get a quick product overview with our brochure.

When we talk to you about the tool, we have a number of useful hints that the project manager should know before the project starts. For example, we recommend not to adopt user structures and rights 1:1, since the old structures usually no longer meet the current requirements of the company. Especially here, customers should ask the question whether there is room for improvement and whether a new structure would reflect the requirements better. The same applies to the information quality of metadata, where there is often a need for action.

»We may as well start with an empty system.«

Now that the customer has asked all the questions and received the relevant information, he often thinks that a migration might not be so necessary after all. At this point, our breath falters – start with an empty system? We strongly advise not to do so in order to ensure user acceptance. So far, we have been faced with understanding at this point – just imagine you have built a new system for a long time and finally introduced it and in the end your users simply don’t use it?

As the next step, we will gladly recommend a pilot or Proof of Concept. Together with you, we will take a closer look at the data and define data sets for a test migration. For this purpose, migration rules are already created on the basis of which the migration is carried out. This procedure has been tried and tested and already has numerous of advantages:

  • The estimatations for a migration project are much easier and more reliable based on the knowledge gained during the PoC. Many customers are asking for fixed prices – we are usually not offering these for migrations without PoC, because we do not know the environments.
  • As a customer, you see results directly and can get an idea of the upcoming migration.
  • The migration rules can be reused – i.e. the investment made here can still be used in the follow-up project.

During the whole process, you are our most important source of input. We support you with a technically flawless migration, but it is important that you tell us what the data in the target system should look like. Mapping metadata is a point we will ask you about here. You are therefore firmly involved in the migration and receive regular information about it. This interactive process only works in cooperation.

»When can you get started

My favorite question :). If the procedure suits you, we will try to make everything possible to start the project based on your project plan. For a PoC, we will support you with a fully functional trial license for the migration-center and experienced migration specialists – the best way to prepare for the upcoming migration project.
And with all this background information, I will be happy to provide you with price information on the migration of 15,000 documents.

We look forward to hearing from you! 

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