Sunday, July 9, 2017

Content Cleanup and Migration Planning

When planning a new content management system, you almost always have to plan for content migration. It doesn't matter if you are working with enterprise content, records, knowledge, data, or even web content.

Migration means moving content from a source to a destination. Often it is from multiple sources to at least one destination. Here are some important considerations:
  • If there are any information architecture changes required, the migration will be more complex than a simple "lift and shift" of content.
  • This is often a great time to clean up information ROT (redundant, obsolete, trivial). This can make the new information repository cleaner and often lower the effort of the actual migration process.
  • The process has to be planned and executed carefully and with adequate change management to avoid problems:
    • The migration should usually be done at a time when no users are interacting with the content, otherwise you will have to deal with the delta of change in the content.
    • The process should be planned and tested in a staging/testing environment in order to verify that all the content will be moved correctly by the planned migration process. If there are issues, revise and repeat until it works and has been verified. Then throw that test data away and redo the migration to the new production destination, allowing for much higher likelihood of success and avoiding a delta of content to reconcile.
    • People who interact with the content as part of their job need to be informed and then verify that they have the information in the new location and can do their jobs. A little training at this point will go a long way toward successful adoption of the new solution. Remember: You are not just migrating content, but also people and processes.

Another thing to keep in mind is this: Depending on the information architecture, which should largely depend on your business processes, not all content necessarily has to be migrated at once. Focus on units of content that would cover individual business processes if it would work better to migrate in phases.

For each phase of migration, the following process can be adapted to your needs to ensure a successful content migration.

Stage 1: Plan

  • Determine migration requirements.
  • Inventory source content and metadata.
  • Determine records and information management requirements.
  • Create destination site architecture and design.
  • Create cleanup and migration plan.
  • Develop test plan.
  • Communicate migration plan to affected users.

Stage 2: Test

  • Create staging site for test and cleanup.
  • Migrate a copy of the source content to staging site.
  • Test content cleanup in staging site.
  • Validate test cleanup and migration.
  • Customize cleanup and migration procedures.
  • Dispose of test content.

Stage 3: Migrate

  • Make sources read-only.
  • Migrate content to staging site again, for final cleanup prior to migration to final destination.
  • Perform content cleanup.
  • Create the production site for migration.
  • Migrate cleansed content to target site.

Stage 4: Validate

  • Verify successful migration completion. If anything goes wrong, you can back out by unlocking the source repositories for continued use while starting this planning again for a future attempt.
  • Create migration report.
  • Conduct migration completion meeting.
  • Dispose of staging content.
  • Decommission source content and source repositories according to retention policies and requirements.

I plan to write more about each of these steps in future posts.

A note about grammar here:
  • "Clean up" is a verb phrase, as in "You need to clean up your content."
  • "Cleanup" is a noun, as in "This is the plan for content cleanup."

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Considerations for ERM Implementations

On 5/17/2017 I presented to the Northern Virginia Chapter of ARMA on "Considerations for ERM Implementations". I created this talk with all the highlights I would make if I had only one shot to provide some lessons learned on ERM solution projects.

Records Management is an essential component of every organization's Information Management capabilities. If you want to get digital transformation right for better customer experience, do not ignore this critical piece of the puzzle.

ARMA NOVA is a great group of information professionals, and I really appreciate the chance to speak to them again.

See my slide deck below. Download it from SlideShare if you want to follow the included links to my other content.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

A New Adventure with Tahzoo

I recently started a brand new adventure in my career. I am now Senior VP/Managing Director of marketing technology labs with Tahzoo, a data-driven customer experience agency based in Washington, D.C.

I have been fortunate to work for some great companies and mostly for great bosses. I even had a good long run with my own Web design, hosting, and content management services business. And I have led some great teams over the years.

With this new adventure, I am leading more great teams at a company doing cutting-edge customer experience and marketing technology consulting. I'm very excited to be here!

There are a lot of smart and happy people working at Tahzoo. Be watching for content from me and my colleagues around the web. Let's go be great!

CMSWire Article: How Information Architecture Improves Customer Experience

My latest CMSWire article is "How Information Architecture Improves Customer Experience":
Have you ever had a problem finding information on a website or app?

If so, you were experiencing a poor information architecture (IA). Conversely, a great experience with a site or application is only possible with solid IA under the surface.

While information architecture doesn't get the headlines that personalization or chat bots receive, when built on a unified information strategy, IA can improve the overall customer experience (CX) in several ways.

Read more »

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Office 365 Listens: UX Improvement

Earlier this month I complained here about how Outlook online in Office 365 had a weird option to "Empty Folder" and what a huge UX fail that was. I am here to report that Microsoft and Office 365 listened and made it better!

Now instead of "Empty folder" (which was very confusing and did not even have a confirmation, cancellation, or undo), the option says "Delete all". Removing "folder" from the label makes all the difference.
Delete all option
AND, there is the all-important confirmation!
Delete all confirmation
This is a great and fast fix, Microsoft. Thank you!

I would like to think this was done as a direct result of my post. After all, we did have a conversation on Twitter about this:
Twitter exchange

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Empty Folder Option for Inbox in Office 365 Mail? Really?!

So my CEO calls me and says she needs help—she has somehow sent her entire email inbox contents to the trash, and she can't stop it. I should be clear here that this CEO is very intelligent as both an award-winning business owner and a computer science whiz. In other words, she is far from your average email user.

So what happened?! I rushed to her office to help. She then showed me something I had not seen before: Office 365 now has a context menu option on the Inbox to "Empty Folder". On the INBOX. WTH??? I don't know when this came to be, but it needs to go away immediately.

Options in the context menu on the Inbox under Favorites:
Empty Folder option

Options in the context menu on the Inbox under your name:
Empty Folder option

She was looking to create a subfolder. In her haste, looking at her small laptop screen, she clicked the only thing she saw that said "folder" (right-clicking on Inbox under Favorites). No confirmation. No way to stop progress. And no undo.

And suddenly she got this message, like she had done something awesome:
Congrats! No more email.

Her email was being processed for deletion, getting mixed with years' worth of deleted items.

After she rebooted, we saw some years of email were still in the Inbox, on their way to Deleted Items. So I tried to quickly create a subfolder to rescue these and reduce her sorting burden later. And what did I do? I accidentally clicked that damn "Empty folder" again!! And back to the trophy. This time we had no indication that her mail was being transferred to Deleted Items. They just appeared to be gone.

After a call to Office 365 Support she was able to get confirmation that her emails were in fact sent to Deleted Items, so she has begun the long process of sorting through that mess. Before you judge and start in with the Inbox Zero debate, you should understand that many executives manage their email this way. Especially at small companies. When search works and all their history of client interactions are in one place, why should they spend time they don't have to make their work harder? But that's a debate for a different post...

That is a huge UX fail, Microsoft. I can't think of a single good use case for having "Empty folder" as an option on the Inbox. Especially with no confirmation, no cancel option, and no undo. FIX THIS!


Update (4/28/2017): Microsoft Office 365 has changed this!! Read about it here.

Monday, March 27, 2017

CMSWire Article: Why You Need a Unified Information Strategy

Today my first CMSWire article was published: Why You Need a Unified Information Strategy.

Information is one of the most important business assets, yet organizations continue to struggle with growing information chaos.

Even with continuing advances in technology, buying more tech is not solving the problem. Yes, technology is part of the solution, but to get it right, you must get your information strategy right.

Read more »
I appreciate CMSWire for letting me be a contributor. There are lots of great contributors, and it's a site worth following.