How to Migrate Content to a New Intranet

Communicators often underestimate the significance of migrating content from your old intranet to a new platform. In our experience, this is the area that leads to the most delays in launching and overruns on budget. If you’re planning a new digital workplace, this guide and template will help.

THE AUTHOR

Marc Wright, simplycommunicate founder & consultant

Marc started his career in television. He wrote and produced the drama 20 Steps to Better Business for the BBC, and his passion for the way organisations work led him to run a series of agencies including Crown and MCA which was sold to WPP in 2001. He is author of the Gower Handbook of Internal Communications and is a former President of IABC EMENA. He founded simplycommunicate in 2005.

Your old intranet contains tens of thousands of files that are out-of-date and redundant, and you do not want to transfer them to the new site. Why not do what is called a ‘lift and shift’, where you just transfer everything? After all data storage is cheap and this way no way will lose any important files. The answer lies in search. All those old files will still turn up when colleagues search for the latest version of the expenses policy. This will render your new intranet inefficient and old-looking. it will play havoc with any attempts at improving knowledge management – one of the key reasons many organisations put in a new platform.

The proper management of files is a way of life – not just something you can fix every 5 years when you upgrade your platform. You are going to need a process.

The Content Audit

It all starts with the content audit.  This is a spreadsheet of the main content categories of information and who owns which part. Do an analysis of the last year’s traffic on your existing intranet. This will be a huge spreadsheet with thousands of lines. The key is to create a cut-off point in terms of the files you want to audit. Generally, we set a bar of one access per fortnight. So if a document has been viewed less than 25 times in the past year then ignore it.

Take a look at our content audit template here…

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