Common Mistakes when Dealing with CMSs and DXPs Replacement and Large Content Migrations

Doing content migrations or replacing a content management system or a digital experience platform are processes that many companies, large organizations, and government entities face. Every 3-5 years, it is important to take a look at how the digital systems and technologies around your content management processes respond to your business operations and identify any gaps. CMS replacement usually comes after answering this question: Is your current platform helping your organization or company leverage its potential, or is it falling short?

Nowadays, CMSs and DXPs have plenty of features and functionalities that can drive your organization or company to better engagement with their audiences and business partners, whether it is with websites, portals, intranets or even mobile apps. Under the pandemic, building portals with a self-service experience has become extremely important for specific industries, such as Finance, Retail and Restaurant/QSR, and DXPs can provide the foundation for them. There are plenty of Cloud service options too, with PaaS offerings, that make infrastructure flexible and easier to manage for organizations that have limited IT capabilities.

That being said, changing platforms and migrating content from a “legacy” system to a new one is not an easy task for large organizations. It is a process that can take from 6 months (being truly optimistic) to 2 years and may involve thousands of documents and web pages. Would you be surprised to know that a large organization has to face half a million docs and assets (including PDFs, videos, and audios) as part of a migration? And yes: training for all content authors, knowledge transfer of the new platform, and full documentation.

As DXP and CMS specialists, at Base22 we have plenty of experience dealing with content migrations, so we want to share with you some of the common mistakes of companies and organizations when they start planning their upcoming replatform projects. Here’s the list, and we know it can give you clarity for your project. 

Mistake #1: Migrating every piece of existing content, no exceptions 

Migrating all content and data you have stored through the years is like moving without measuring your furniture: Is it going to fit your new house? Do you need all of this? Do you need something new for a new room? How can you make your everyday comfort better? A content clean-up helps to understand what is core content, what is needed, and what is no longer useful to your organization. As we mentioned recently in a company memory article, producing huge volumes of information and content is the new norm. The difficult part is to keep it well-organized, updated, and “findable”. A “brute force” approach, or dumping everything you have ever owned in a new platform, will cause you to use a lot of resources, increase migration efforts, and probably some confusion when trying to make sense out of it.

Mistake #2: Keeping all content in the same way it was before 

In the same train of thought, thinking that everything should work in the same way as before can be a bit shortsighted. Replacing your CMS or DXP is a good moment to reevaluate how your content is organized. This applies to website and portal navigation structure, but also in terms of governance and content strategy. Who is responsible for keeping content updated, and what is the easiest way for a user to find it? Should that PDF be kept in that format, or should we convert it to web content? A user-centered information architecture, proper content categorization, improved “findability”, and overall good content management workflows are part of the objectives you need to consider before “moving” to a new platform. You may also consider that new DXPs have powerful taxonomy and content workflow functionalities that can help you make your processes more simple and effective.

Mistake #3: Planning content migrations and forgetting about a UX/UI design improvement

Designing digital experiences is more important than ever. It is common to see marketing websites for products or brands updating their “look and feel” at least once a year. Now that there’s an opportunity to rewire everything, what can you do to make your website or portal more modern? Is your website accessible and browser-agnostic? Is it responsive? Content migrations are the right time to evaluate a new design approach, leveraging any functionalities and features that your new DXP has.

Mistake #4: Implementing one management platform per channel

One CMS for a website, one CMS for a portal, one CMS for a mobile app… Those days are over. One of the core features of “headless” DXPs is enabling centralization of content management, and controlling output for different channels using one platform. Through APIs and microservices, you can push content to multiple channels through a single effort, ensuring consistency and streamlining content authoring processes. If your organization or company handles multiple digital channels at the same time or envisions a roadmap full of new digital channel deployments, this will make your life easier. And yes, depending on your development approach, this may include mobile applications too. 

Mistake #5: Setting up workflow or publishing processes that depend on your IT team

A big improvement of the past few years in this field has been the increasing “drag and drop” approach to content management. By using templates, widgets, and components, DXPs are now giving tools to content authors to build web pages and landing pages more easily, without depending on an IT team for design or publishing. Enabling content authors makes your organization more agile in communication, sharing knowledge, and establishing meaningful conversations in a matter of minutes. For that, preparing your assets and content as a system (a design system, that is) managed by your DXP is crucial. Bottom line: Avoid rework, avoid building from scratch, focus on what’s important.

Mistake #6: Doing content migrations without evaluating Cloud enterprise offerings 

CMSs and DXPs are now also available as Cloud offerings. This means that your company doesn’t have to worry anymore about patches and upgrades: through a Cloud offering, a service like Liferay DXP Cloud handles it all. Installation is quick and direct compared to more “traditional” hosting and implementation approaches. As part of the subscription model, you receive support, performance scalability, security improvements, and functionalities like back-ups, and health checks, among many other interesting things. In other words, Cloud offerings make content migrations easier. 

Even government entities and agencies may find DXP Cloud services compliant with many security standards and protocols that are required for these types of systems. It’s worth reviewing and considering its business potential.

Replacing your CMS or DXP is a great opportunity for your organization to improve your digital channels and build a rich, robust digital experience for your audiences. By avoiding these common mistakes in content migrations, not only are you reaping the benefits of modern technology, you are helping your organization to build, scale, and leverage digital channels to grow your business. As big of fans of digital experience platforms as we are, we can guide you through the process and make it easier with the tools and patterns we have built over the years. Drop us a line and let’s start building.

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