Collect & Rationalize

In my last two blogs, we explored Step One—Interoperability—of our 4-step path to seamless migration. The main takeaway was that transparent interoperability gives you the ability to:

  • Find users in the email directory
  • Exchange email with internal/external users regardless of transition state
  • Schedule, modify, re-schedule, or cancel meetings
  • View availability of other users
  • Access shared content

Now that you’ve considered all aspects of true Interoperability, let’s continue to Step Two—Analysis—which consists of: the technology you decide to employ for collection, as well as the personal interactions required to make (or rationalize) decisions regarding those assets. Your assets will usually consist of your network, your servers, your Active Directory, messaging components, and mailbox content.

When you utilize technology, make sure that what you collect is Accurate, Complete, and presented in the most Efficient manner (what I like to think of as ACE). Make certain you include your most recent assets, because you need to trust that what you’ve collected is the most accurate. Once collected, you can arrange your assets in such a way as to properly analyze them – applying your particular business rules and logic.

Analysis Usage ChartHow to best collect your assets?Technology helps. In fact, without it, the process could drag on for days, weeks, or even months. On the other hand, technology alone won’t supply everything. Remember, every piece of information has an owner. Once collected, you have to understand what you have and why you have it, as well as the value to the business and to specific individuals. We have had projects where we collected information and reams of reports, but then had to sit with the various project owners to review everything in order to make intelligent decisions regarding the migration of those assets.

You can’t just analyze the raw data that the technology alone delivers; you need to apply rules, conventions, and other principles of your business to make it meaningful. You also need to understand the evolution of the information and how it applies to your business or business technology.

Now you are ready to rationalize, or make decisions about those assets, which is the second part of this step. Identifying and interviewing the owners of those assets brings a much-needed human perspective to the process.

Analysis Paralysis? Just Do It!
If you can relate to this tongue twister, you’re not alone. How do you select which assets to transition to the new platform? My advice: Use the Nike principal—just do it. In other words, start making decisions about what to move and what to archive. Your goal is to ultimately transition/refresh your environment. Move on and don’t over-analyze. That’s why interoperability is so important. It allows you the freedom of choice to decide later.

Some Best Practices
We’ve learned much from our clients and their particular migration situations. Some best practices include:

  • Keep no more than 90 days of email
  • Consider long-term archiving for public folder information that’s no longer used
  • Select an industry expert as your archiving partner for legacy content
  • Pictures and videos may have to be stored elsewhere
  • Create a messaging policy to drive future business practices

Bottom Line: Binary Tree’s 4 steps to migration success include:

  • Step One: Establish Interoperability – previous 2 blogs
  • Step Two: Analysis & Rationalization – covered today
  • Step Three: User Transition – to come
  • Step Four: Content Migration – to come