Embarking on a data migration to a new CMS for your college or university may leave you fraught with worry about all the things that could go wrong. But with the right partner, it doesn’t have to be that way.



Over time, as the needs of students and requirements of higher education change, you may realize the need to migrate your data from the current CMS you use to another one. In this article, we cover how to carry out a higher ed data migration safely and seamlessly from one CMS to another.


Pre-migration preparations


Starting with a checklist helps you stay on course and on top of things. Your in-house web team is probably already engaged in many other tasks that could easily get in the way of the migration process unless precautions are taken. Here are nine points that should go on your checklist:


1. Perform a pre-migration data assessment


At the onset of the data migration project, take stock of the expenses and pitfalls that potentially lie ahead. Assess the tasks and processes needed to ensure a smooth, seamless outcome of the project.


2. Take stock of available resources


After assessing the tasks and activities involved in the process, take stock of the technical and financial resources you’ll need to perform them safely and efficiently. List out the necessary resources for each stage and ensure they are available when needed.


3. Identify the migration team and notify everyone involved


Make sure you have the human resources needed for the task ahead. Ensure there is buy-in among major stakeholders and that all those involved with the project understand their roles.


4. Set accurate project estimates


With the three previous steps set, you want to establish the project timeframe and start creating the schedule. Be concrete in your estimates but remember to be flexible and realistic.


5. Decide on suitable project deliverables


The needs of your higher ed institution may require you to use established processes to migrate your data or take a customized approach to perform the migration in a safe and efficient way. In this step, get agreement on those parameters and deliverables. 


6. Establish and get consensus on security regulation


The safety of the data and records being transferred is of paramount importance, so you want to review all the regulations and stick to them. It is also recommended that you secure official approval from all key stakeholders.


7. Prepare the necessary tools and services needed for the project


Prepare all the tools you need for the project, including your choice of CMS and credible expertise to see the project through. If you lack a dedicated web team, this may include bringing in outside help with a proven track record of successful CMS data migrations and understanding of what is at stake.


8. Crawl the legacy website


To ensure you have all the necessary data on page titles, URLs, metadata, broken links, redirects, and so on, you need to crawl the old website. Irrespective of the crawler you use, ensure it is not too restrictive in its operations. 


9. Go over the plan and emphasize your deadlines


Revise your checklist to make sure all ends tie into each other. You should already have a strong grasp of the project requirements and challenges, as well as the limitations of your resources and expertise. That information should help you fine-tune your migration plan until it’s optimized and reliable.


The most important feature in a CMS for your higher ed institution


The most important thing to consider while thinking about data migration for your higher ed. institution is customer support. 


Suppose you decide to transfer your data to open source CMS built on Drupal, for example. Your safest bet would be to go with a provider that offers customer support from experienced staff, so your in-house resources do not get strained by the added needs of the new system.


The right provider should be able to:


Offer full website redevelopment including R&D, wireframing, strategy, visual design, web development, migrations, and necessary integrations
Offer streamlined services like extracting needed elements of your higher ed website
Partner with your staff to provide ongoing maintenance and support
Offer expert opinions on the best integrations and upgrades to achieve the goals of your website

When you embark on a data migration for your higher ed institution, there is going to be a learning curve. The best gift you can give yourself is the right support system to see you through and guarantee results. A content management system is a powerful tool that could make your institution competitive in the rapidly changing education landscape by providing a great user experience. However, it could easily become a burden without the right support to act as a backbone going forward.


Need help with data migration for your higher ed institution? Talk to Kwall


Data migration can be easy, reliable, and seamless with the right support system to guide you. For the last 12 years, Kwall has become the premier provider of powerful web experiences for higher education institutions. 


We have unparalleled open-source CMS experience in the higher education space, having worked with over 100 colleges and universities over our 12-year history. You can rest assured that partnering with us will secure the best digital team for the data migration of your higher ed website.

Skip the hassle and cost of gathering an in-house team for your data migration and contact Kwall today.



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