Too often, migrating to Veeva Vault can be seen as a massive undertaking where the migration effort means moving all the content, integrations and people to the new platform in a migrate all-at-once “Big Bang” approach. Given the effort to move all the different components, along with training the users on a new system, it is easy to see why so many legacy systems (like Documentum DCM) are still around today as their owners can, when confronted with this daunting task, choose to “wait until next year”. TSG has been successful with multiple large clients in choosing a phased migration to gradually move content and people on to the new system to reduce risk, stress and cost. This post will explain the approach of a gradual migration along with a quick OpenMigrate Documentum/Veeva Demonstration.
Legacy Migration Challenges – When Big Bang doesn’t work
TSG has recently been working with many clients that are on large legacy ECM systems like Documentum, FileNet, Stellent and ImagePlus and are looking to migrate off of these platforms. When discussing a move to Veeva Vault, migration efforts include:
- Moving all the content
- Moving all the users along with training to a new interface for Veeva
- Moving all the integrations to the old legacy vendor
For many long-time large legacy ECM implementations, coordinating such a major transition is extremely risky. Choosing to move all content, users and integrations at once in what we would generally call a “big bang” migration with several disadvantages including:
- Migration Effort – For large document migrations, the timing of the migration might span over weeks if not months given the movement of content and meta-data from the old system to the new system and potential transformations of content and meta-data.
- User Training and Support – The timing of moving users from one system to another doesn’t easily fall into a simple weekend black out window.
- Migrating the Integrations – For one legacy client, the old system had 60 different integrations to store or retrieve content from the old system. All of these integrations would have to be moved and tested to the new environment.
- Ability to Adjust – With a big bang migration approach, it is extremely difficult to pilot the new system with a small group as the movement is for all people. Iterative Piloting and a gradual roll out typically can reduce the risk while improving or enhancing the user experience before a system is rolled out to the masses.
Given the above risks and concerns, one reason legacy ECM systems like Documentum still continue to be so prevalent is concern over the cost, risk and effort involved in the migration can lead to paralysis. Too often, while it is obvious the existing legacy ECM system does not provide all the benefits, user experience, and capabilities of a new system, the concern about the risks and cost of migration can lead many customers to just stay on the legacy ECM system “for 1 more year” and “kick the migration decision can down the road” to avoid the risks and pain of a migration.
TSG routinely talks to clients about the different migration options that include:
- Big Bang – Benefits include the decommissioning of the legacy system immediately but has the highest risk, downtime, and complexity. TSG rarely recommends a Big Bang approach.
- Delta Migration – Involves running the systems in parallel and moving changed content over time to the new system. Significantly less risk and allows for better performance tuning and migration of users/integrations over time. Most of TSG’s migrations involve some type of Delta Migration.
- Gradual Migration – Involves moving departments or subsets of users over time along with their content and integrations. Reduces risk substantially and allows the big migration to be broken up into smaller parts.
- Hybrid Migration – Involves components of Gradual and Delta migrations.
Gradual Migration – How it Works
A gradual migration does add some complexity to the end user interface to perform multiple migrations. An example process is depicted below:
- The user is working in their Quality Management System (Documentum, SharePoint, Master Control, etc.). This application controls the data and content about SOP and other manufacturing documents, including a full document version history, audit trail and approval information.
- All of R&D Division has completed their data prep, the validation of the document migration, and their users are fully trained. However, Corporate Communications is not ready to migrate because users in other divisions (Manufacturing, Sales, etc.) are not fully trained.
- Rather than hold up the entire process, a Gradual Migration would migrate all SOPs (R&D and Corporate Communication SOPs) over to Veeva Vault now, so the R&D Division can begin using the new Veeva Vault application. With R&D users on the new Veeva Vault platform, the implementation team has the benefit of receiving feedback on the training, the migration process, and if any of the Veeva Vault configurations need to be tweaked.
- Corporate Communication and the other divisions will continue to use the legacy system and have the ability to update their SOPs in the Legacy system. OpenMigrate would be setup to poll the legacy system for updates. If an Approved or Effective SOP is released in the legacy system, OpenMigrate would be responsible for publishing the updated version to Veeva Vault and removing any Superseded or Obsolete SOPs. This allows the content in Veeva Vault to remain current even though users continue to make updates in the Legacy system.
- The remaining users migrate over X months later once all of the training activities have occurred. These users have the benefit of a smoother roll out due updates that were made to the migration, the Veeva Vault interface, and training based on feedback from the R&D roll out.
This is one example of a Gradual Migration. Migrations can also be phased based on Site, Product, Study and many other factors.
Gradual Migration Success
As we have posted in the past, there is never an “easy button” for complex migrations. For our client and other clients, a gradual migration allowed for a gradual roll out of both the users as well as the migration of the content to the new system. Benefits of a Gradual Migration include:
- Quicker Realization of Benefits – The cost and effort of a large migration does not delay getting the benefits of the new system. The users in the R&D division were able to start using the system immediately without having to wait for all of the other divisions and plants to be ready to migrate.
- Improved Training – Users can be gradually rolled onto the new system. Training and change management could be scheduled and conducted with small groups increasing the user acceptance of the system.
- Build Confidence – Leveraging a gradual migration can significantly reduce risk during the project roll out. By running both systems in parallel during the roll out, the users and management are able to build confidence (IT and the Business) in the new platform and interface throughout the roll out.
- Phase-in Interfaces – Once the system is in production, the integrations to the old system can gradually be moved or adjusted to the new system over time significantly reducing the risk while the new users are getting the benefits of the new capabilities in Veeva Vault.
Whether moving from Documentum, SharePoint, MasterControl or a host of other legacy ECM platforms to Veeva Vault, the migration effort can be daunting task that will often be delayed due to the perceived risk, cost and complexity of moving documents, users and integrations. By leveraging a gradual migration approach, certain customers can significantly reduce the risk, cost and complexity while getting the benefits of the new system earlier.
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