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CMS migration preparation: 8 things to check before migration

With this 8-point checklist, you will be able to determine the areas where your CMS migration effort should be focused in order to avoid any hiccups that could derail the entire process.
Jing Li

Jing Li

Mar 09, 2023
CMS migration preparation: 8 things to check before migration

Content is a valuable aspect of a company’s digital strategy, and having the right technology to create and distribute that content to eager customers is essential. Unfortunately, many companies struggle due to subpar CMSs with poor performance, outdated features, or lack of usability.

To counteract these challenges, several businesses are considering migrating to new systems that can better handle the digital experience. Gartner mentions that “85% of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025 and will not be able to fully execute on their digital strategies without the use of cloud-native architectures and technologies.” As a result, migration to CMSs built on similar cloud-native architectures is top of mind for many businesses.

But before you embark on a CMS migration, you’ll want to ensure you’ve planned enough to mitigate the mistakes we see companies making all too often. This 8-point checklist will help you determine where to focus your efforts to avoid hiccups that might derail the entire project.

#1. What are your goals?

The choice to migrate your CMS should completely align with your organization’s overall goals and vision.

CMS migration might seem as straightforward as changing the ink cartridge in your printer, but in reality, it’s like installing a whole new printing system. Since you’re transferring your existing content assets and data to a new platform, mistakes can wreak havoc on your website and other digital experiences. The downsides of potential broken links, missing files, dealing with complicated user interfaces, complex workflows, and other challenges might not be worth the effort unless moving to a particular CMS can help get you close to your targets. Whether those are to make performing daily tasks easier for marketers and developers or to be able to provide better digital experiences for customers.

#2. Current costs vs. future costs

Before migrating your CMS, consider and compare the costs of continuing to use and maintain your existing content management system to the future expenses you incur with a new platform. This will ensure you’re making the right choice to migrate and selecting the best platform to migrate to for your business.

For example, your current CMS might force you to spend extra resources on maintenance, security, and custom development requirements on top of high licensing costs. You might also lose out on opportunities due to a restrictive interface impacting employee productivity.

On the other hand, you need to consider the costs of migrating to a new CMS, training your staff on how to use it, and additional implementation costs. However, you must also consider the decrease in maintenance costs, productivity improvements, and new business opportunities you can exploit with a modern headless CMS.

#3. Security and compliance before and after CMS migration

You also need to consider the security and compliance implications when transferring large volumes of data, such as during a CMS migration.

Start by conducting a security audit to discover potential vulnerabilities that could compromise the security of your website and other assets during the migration. Before the migration, you should verify that the new system has appropriate security and compliance protocols and features to protect your data.

Once the migration has been completed, you should conduct another audit to ensure that everything has been migrated correctly and securely and test the security of the new system to ensure it holds up under threats. Hygraph, for example, is an enterprise-grade Headless CMS with SOC2 and GDPR compliance, as well as a state-of-the-art ISO27001-certified infrastructure provided by AWS.

Dive Deeper: Hygraph Security & Compliance

#4. Do you need a system integrator? (And how will you select one?)

Another pivotal consideration for a CMS migration is whether or not you need a system integrator and, if you do, how you will select one. System integrators are experienced agencies familiar with the CMS in question or your existing technology stack. They will integrate hardware and software tools so that everything works together in a cohesive and unified manner. CMS migrations can be complex, and a system integrator takes the pressure off your IT and development teams, allowing them to focus on other tasks.

Depending on the platform being implemented and the experience of your team you will need to consult an agency for at least part of the migration project. To select the best agency for your organization, you should consider factors such as their experience with the platform being implemented, their track record of successful migrations, expertise in security and compliance, and their ability to work within your budget and timeline.

#5. Your internal CMS migration team

Prior to a CMS migration, you should ensure that you have a team of stakeholders who will consult on, oversee, and help with the migration process from start to finish. Your internal migration team should include representatives from various departments, such as IT and marketing who can provide input and guidance throughout the migration process. It’s important to establish clear roles and responsibilities for each team member and ensure everyone knows the project timeline and key milestones.

Additionally, you may need to provide training or support for your internal team to ensure they have the skills and knowledge necessary to contribute to the migration effort effectively. By establishing a strong internal team and providing the necessary resources and support, you can help ensure a smooth and successful CMS migration.

#6. How much support is the CMS vendor offering?

Another tip to ensure that your CMS migration goes off without a hitch is to speak to the CMS vendor you’re ready to implement (or, ideally, the 2-3 you’ve narrowed down to) about the support they can provide during the migration process.

For example, many vendors offer resources and training materials to help complete the migration or quickly get your staff up to speed. They can advise you on potential roadblocks that might cause issues during a migration or system integrators that can help make the migration process easier. In addition, they can offer guidance on integrations that can further enhance your digital experiences once everything is up and running. Hygraph provides an ecosystem of technology and implementation partners who can assist you in executing your migration.

#7. What are the risks?

Problems can always occur during a CMS migration, so you must be aware of the potential risks that could undermine the migration. These risks may include technical issues such as data loss, website downtime, or compatibility problems with existing systems. Other risks could be related to human factors, such as inadequate training for team members or resistance to change. Additionally, security and compliance risks may arise during migration, particularly if sensitive data is involved.

Conduct a thorough risk assessment and develop a comprehensive plan to mitigate these risks to ensure a successful CMS migration and minimize any potential negative impact on your business.

#8. Will you need additional technology?

Sometimes, a CMS migration may require additional technology or tools, such as software or hardware to support the new platform or facilitate data migration. This might include migration tools to streamline the process or testing tools to ensure everything functions properly.

If additional technology is required, select solutions compatible with the new platform and ensure they meet security or compliance requirements. Your CMS vendor can provide guidance and recommendations suited to your specific migration requirements.

#Improve your chances of a successful CMS migration

CMS migration isn’t always a walk in the park. Therefore having a proper plan and preparing in advance is essential to moving you closer to a CMS that meets all of your requirements. Now that you have your ducks in a row, it’s time to take action. Our guide to CMS migration will walk you through the key steps of your migration so that you know exactly what it will take to accomplish a successful migration.

Get the A-Z Guide to CMS Migration below to find out more.

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Blog Author

Jing Li

Jing Li

Jing is the Content Marketing Manager at Hygraph. Besides telling compelling stories, Jing enjoys dining out and catching occasional waves on the ocean.

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