Planning for a content migration is always a big challenge. Moving content to a new system as it is stored in the legacy store sounds like the easiest solution, but just adding a few additional steps can make the new system much more beneficial and the user adoption significantly easier.

I know it sounds like a science fiction, but there are several practical steps you can instantly consider. Let me introduce a few of them.

Before you do anything: clean-up your content

Before doing anything, it is highly recommended to start with a detailed content audit and make appropriate adjustments to add quality:

  • Decide what content to keep in place as is (“freeze”);
  • Decide what content to delete or archive;
  • Decide what content to re-organize.

Content audit: keep, re-organize, delete or archive

These steps can be part of a content migration process, for example, if you migrate from a legacy file share to Office 365 or SharePoint on-prem. But if you are already using SharePoint or Office 365, an in-place audit also can be done.

By removing (delete or archive) the irrelevant or outdated content, you are not only freeing up some storage but more importantly, you can drive your users attention to the relevant content.

Some content can be “frozen”, kept as is. Some others have to be re-organized.

The goal of re-organizing the content might be any of the followings:

  • turn old folder structure to metadata;
  • add new metadata to the content;
  • clean-up the existing metadata;
  • use new or additional features: for example, compared to a file share, Office 365 has endless options:
    • besides site collections and sub-sites, we can also create hub sites;
    • rich metadata;
    • modern experience;
    • SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, Planner;
    • rich search experience;
    • Microsoft Graph to support intelligent and personalized experiences;
    • etc.

Of course, you can also decide to clean-up your content in-place, for example in an existing Office 365 or SharePoint environment. The approach above can be applied in this case, too.

Office 365 Search / Microsoft Search training

 

The benefits

Cleaning-up the content during a migration or in-place has some obvious benefits:

  • removes the irrelevant and outdated content, so the users can focus on the relevant documents;
  • makes usability of content much easier;
  • makes findability of content much easier;
  • provides a solid basis for search applications;
  • makes content targeting much easier;
  • helps Microsoft Graph and AI to provide better content suggestions;
  • etc.

Good search relies on good content

It is true that these days, we can use cognitive services, AI, text analytics, machine learning and many other techniques to improve search, good content still is the most predictable and easiest way to get started with.

Of course, I am not saying other services cannot help. They can! A lot!

 What I am suggesting is to start with what we already have: content.