Intranet Migration Tips

Intranet migration is a lot more complex than it tends to be given credit for.  Its rarely fully understood in terms of complexity or impact on the business, below are some tips and suggestions that may help if you have to do a larger intranet migration.

Process - Key Steps

  • Learn from history

  • Top level Inventory

  • Analysis existing technical delivery

  • Organise / ROT / Normalise

  • Test creation

  • Scripting

  • Mapping

  • Pilot

  • Test Run

  • Scheduled cut over

  • Notes

Learn from History

  • Migration workshops to gain domain knowledge and historical reference

  • Analyse previous migration learnings

  • Interview (if possible) previous migration technical leads

  • Review previous migration scripts (if possible)

Top level Inventory

  • Content Types

  • 3rd party content services e.g. video delivery or rss

  • URls, Taxonomy

  • Content workflows

  • Governance / Legal / Security Issues

  • Translation requirements

  • Accessibility requirements

  • Versioning requirements

  • Users specific requirements

  • Content usage profiles / Review analytics if in place

  • Device specific requirements e.g. scanner integration or phone optimised

Learn from History

  • Review existing technology stack

  • Interview (if possible) existing technical and development team

  • Analyse schemas and structures

  • Focused analysis on relationships and key's between data

  • Validate delivery methods

  • Check for hacks that present data different than its stored

Organise / ROT / Normalise

  • Identify Redundant, Outdated, Trivial

  • Develop additional classifications directly to support migration

  • Validate if possible to add additional data in situ to support migration

  • Normalise any data in situ where possible/practical

Test Creation

  • Identify organisational users who can support testing efforts

  • Identify testable elements of the migration

  • Select test data

  • Write and categorise test cases

  • Identify all manual Versus automated testing elements

  • Identify domain / knowledge experts within organisation to review test plans, cases and data


  • Document mappings from old to new

  • Review mappings with Domain / Knowledge experts

  • Develop Mapping schema

  • Annotate where possible (e.g. with metadata) content in situ to ease automated testing


Write Migration scripts

  • Develop migration scripts against mappings schema

  • Develop schedule migration process e.g. multi step migrations

Migration - Pilot

  • Create test bed

  • Import & review agreed test data to validate testing harnesses / process

  • Import and review randomised selection of content to validate dependency analysis

  • Run full migration test to ascertain stress, load and performance issues

  • Fix whatever is not working and rerun

Migration - Test Run

  • Simulate live cut over

  • Validate everything

  • Run fail back tests

  • Give go / no-go

Scheduled Cut Over

  • Initiate content freeze (if required/possible)

  • Complete migration

  • Run tests

  • Get acceptance from internal team

  • Unfreeze (if freeze in place)

  • Ensure sufficient end user support is available

Notes from the dark side, watch out for:

  • Recursive elements

  • Character sets

  • UI Fixes to data problems

  • Stripping in existing system of code

  • Relationships between data only visible on display

  • Syndication everyone has forgotten about

  • User privileges changing between systems

  • Media assets reused elsewhere

  • Navigation / Help that gives information content