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3 Tips to Ensure More Successful Data Migrations

Signing on for new software can be intimidating—training staff, updating internal documentation, and evolving your go-to workflows are no small feats. But it's well worth the effort once you're on the other side and seeing the benefits to your resources and bottom line.

A more troublesome barrier to entry than these growing pains, though, is data migration. Starting new projects fresh in a slick new platform is intensely satisfying. But migrating ongoing projects from one system to another? Not so much.

Fortunately, there are ways—and tools—to help make these tasks as painless as possible.

#1: Build out a detailed project plan in advance of migration.

As with any project, good planning up front can be the difference between success and failure. Although data migrations are a one-time logistical effort and not particularly glamorous, they should be treated like any other project: Define clear expectations and communicate any project benefits to stakeholders early and often.

On the path to good planning, make sure you cover these considerations:

Provide clear communications and expectations early on to everyone involved. Reach out to your IT and data migration teams, litigation support and legal, and any other teams who will be involved. Make sure everyone is on the same page about roles and responsibilities, and keep lines of communication open about project requirements, dependencies, and other timeline considerations.

Establish thoughtful project prioritization and management guidelines to scale appropriately. Begin by isolating highly active or special cases ahead of the migration project to ensure they're managed with timeliness in mind. You can also run a few tests on less critical projects or data sets as an opportunity to troubleshoot issues—like account access, network connection quality and bandwidth, storage configurations, previously unidentified requirements or conflicting apps, and any other communication issues that may arise as the project progresses.

Plan based upon a thorough understanding of infrastructure to ensure stability throughout the project. This includes awareness of data transfer paths to ensure they are stable and secure, and identifying whether any network changes are needed to make the migration. For example, our team has seen problems with networks that have "low bandwidth" drop intermittently or that are "under construction" such that they're set up one way but scheduled to change.

Identify and exclude junk proactively whenever possible. Migrations are an excellent opportunity to clean house in an effort to save money or implement new information governance practices. Deleting and archiving old cases makes migrations much smoother and more cost-efficient.

#2: Investigate the variety of tools available to get what fits your project.

There is a lot of technology out there to help you conduct these projects—some are included in the tools you're onboarding, and some offer additional help for your project's specific needs.

When migrating to RelativityOne, you have many options for streamlining the process from the Relativity team and the platform itself. Study the documentation thoroughly and follow best practices, and be sure you're building those best practices into your project plan. Additionally, RelativityOne Migrate is coming soon to the platform to simplify the process further. Learn more about it here and stay tuned for additional details in the coming months.

You can also turn to the Relativity community and app providers like Milyli. For example, Armada is currently available to automate ARM archive creation. Milyli Workspace Assessor automates the process of validating workspace configuration and infrastructure. Ditto saves time and effort by replicating user permissions across workspaces or between groups to cut out repetitive setup processes.

Do some thorough research to understand all the options and ensure you're making the most of the technology available. The right tech will help ensure downtime is as brief as possible and your process is minimally manual.

Specifically, you'll want solutions that empower you to build workflows that account for non-standard paths to migrate data. This allows you to process files from other systems (such as Ringtail, Summation, Concordance, Nuix Discover, and other e-discovery platforms), enables you to migrate case files and analytics data independently, and supports a strong QC and issue resolution plan.

Keep in mind, too, that the "tools available to you" are not limited to technology alone: The Relativity support team is ready to help, too. It's critical to have the proper support team aware of your efforts and on hand to help as needed.

#3: Do your due diligence when considering a DIY approach or bringing in help.

Speaking of help: If you need it, ask for it! Data migrations take time, and evaluating the project's scope before embarking will help you sort out whether bringing in a RelativityOne Certified Partner or Services Partner who can help will be a worthwhile investment. Remember that this assistance doesn't have to be all or nothing—you can offload the more extensive or more complicated cases to a partner while managing the others in-house as a helpful hybrid approach.

In addition to the project planning items outlined above, conduct an audit of your time, resources, and project management acumen (that is, your ability and availability to diligently maintain communications, organization, and calibration throughout the project).

Finally, keep in mind that even just consulting knowledgeable partners can provide your migration project with additional lessons to support the project. An experienced team can help you be more proactive. For example, our team has created scripts to pull data from mismatched sources after organizations go through a merger because we've encountered that issue before and know to be prepared for it.

Data migration can seem like a hurdle, but it is a surmountable one—especially when you have the proper assistance. With an informed approach and the right tools, any team's migration project can sail smoothly, getting your team into a new platform and off to the successes ahead.

Jed Cassinelli is vice president of services at Milyli, where he and his team are focused on understanding clients' needs, pain points, and goals, and creating the right combination of technology and process to help them get their work done quickly.

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