Best practices for legacy ECM migration to the cloud

Cloud content migration is becoming increasingly popular due to its many benefits, such as secure and compliant storage, IT infrastructure rationalisation, native governance capabilities and simple sharing. For enterprises considering migrating from legacy ECM systems to the public cloud, these advantages are huge. Here, we'll share best practices for migrating from legacy ECM systems to Box, as well as migration options provided by Box Consulting. 


When to consider a migration from legacy ECM


Companies have historically purchased ECM platforms from OpenText, Documentum, Oracle and Microsoft to solve core challenges with collaboration, work-product management, back-end process automation and retention management. However, the shift to mobile, cloud and consumer technologies has motivated companies to find alternative applications that allows users to share seamlessly while providing a secure and compliant system of record. Below are some of the reasons businesses are migrating from legacy ECM to Box.


  1. To provide employees a tool that is simple to use. According to a 2016 study, more than 50% of ECM deployments have lower than expected adoption as compared to what was initially anticipated1. Many of these organisations see their users turning to web-based services to share files and work together. And in an era where mobility and extended collaboration are top of mind, companies are looking for a nimble, cloud-first alternative with a modern user experience.  
  1. To get more value from their content investment. Given the costs associated with ECM implementations — from direct server and licensing fees to customisation costs, maintenance and IT support — many firms want to simplify their cost structure. Cloud-first technologies, on the other hand, are built to solve for the flexibility and scalable collaboration companies need. Plus, these products provide managed support so organisations can create their own best-of-breed stack without the upfront capital expense.
  1. To accelerate digital transformation (and free up IT resources to do so). Using ECM systems to just store and manage content is no longer enough. Companies are looking for extended functionality to help them adapt to a rapidly changing business environment. Creating custom mobile applications, powering in-app context experiences and developing better insights via content analytics give IT leaders the additional ECM tools to help companies thrive in the digital age.


“Migrating content to the cloud brings plenty of challenges, ranging from bandwidth costs to the preservation of important contextual information including metadata, retention plans and user permissions. It’s great to see Box addressing this.” 

—  Melissa Webster, Program Vice President, Content & Digital Media Technologies, IDC 


How to migrate your legacy ECM data to Box


We know that cloud migration is a complex task, but we're dedicated to providing the right resources to make it significantly easier for you. Below is our 3-step plan to help your company migrate specific business processes or entire ECM platforms to Box.


1. Analyse your environment. Understanding how your organisation uses your enterprise content management platform is key to migrating content and work processes to Box. Determining required features and functionality is essential to a successful migration; this migration may offer an opportunity to streamline complex processes or add new functionality that may have been out of reach with your legacy system.  


2. Map legacy ECM content and permissions to Box. Box has a Waterfall permissions model that simplifies the process of assigning access to content, and Box Consulting has helped many organisations design folder structures and permissions when migrating from other systems. As part of the process, you'll consider how to plan your folder structure, set up folder and sub-folder permissions and set the right access levels for collaborators.


3. Select the right migration model. Box offers several migration options to fit your organisation's needs.

  1. Self-directed migration using Box Sync or FTP: Companies with a small amount of content can use this method to migrate to Box.
  1. Partner tools such as Tervela Cloud Fast Path or Portal Architect's SkySync: These products automate large portions of the migration and offer enhanced performance, as well as other advanced features. 
  1. Managed migration using Box Shuttle: Large or complex migrations require tools to migrate content, change permissions, manage bandwidth, generate reports and schedule migrations.


Box Shuttle: White-glove migration


Box Shuttle is a managed migration service that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each customer. With Box Shuttle, we'll partner with you to:

  • Outline and organise the project: We’ll work together to create an personalised migration plan with key milestones — from inception to delivery — and implementation guidance to ensure your move stays on track
  • Figure out what you need and what you don't: With content analysis and lifecycle management, we'll work with you to determine what to keep live, purge or archive as well as identify the security and governance requirements for your selected data
  • Add intelligence to your content: We can apply your existing user permissions, metadata, retention policies and other custom attributes as we move your files from their previous environments into Box
  • Track progress: Box provides full visibility to customers throughout the migration process and gives users control over their data during the migration


As you consider migrating your data from legacy ECM to the public cloud, take advantage of the resources that make it a success for your organisation. Learn more about our Customer Success solutions or register for our on-demand webinar The Simple, Smart Way to Move to the Cloud, featuring Greg Cannan, Divisional Information Officer, Toyota USA.


[1] 'You Want an ECM? You Can’t Handle an ECM!', Systemscope, 2016