Nick Nylund, Project Performance Corporation


The design and structure of portal systems for intranets and extranets is fundamentally changing. Organizations are moving away from what has traditionally been managed in “verticals” by department or business areas to a more cohesive enterprise approach. New technology allows organizations to categorize information in a more flexible manner to better serve their employees and customers. To leverage these new designs and technologies, content may need to be migrated from an old system to a new one. If planned for properly, these efforts can result in added benefits to organizations through the improved quality, tagging, and management of the content being migrated. I recommend the following steps to ensure that your process is efficient and effective.

Content Identification

The first step in any migration effort is to conduct a thorough audit of existing content. This exercise should be completed before implementation plans are final and will enable an organization to understand how much content it has and how the content relates to its users.

Content Analysis

In this step, determine through an in-depth analysis which content that is no longer relevant or used, duplicated, needs to be updated, or is simply misplaced and should be located in a different area. These activities enable your organization to understand what content needs appropriate tagging as well as what content needs to be migrated.

Stakeholder Engagement and Management

Convene a round of meetings with the stakeholders identified for this effort. This group should include decision making authorities for each department or content topic, the designated Content Managers, Content Migrators, and Content Owners/Authors.

Portal Design and Import Strategy

Before an organization can begin migration activities, be certain that the design of the portal is complete and your portal team has reached consensus. Confirming the design of the new or upgraded portal system is not as simple as agreeing to the look and feel of the site or approving wireframes. This step includes completing all project components—from look and feel to backend classification and categorization of content.

It is also important that you establish a document import strategy. To do this effectively, understand and communicate all options among the management team. Options include internal manual migration, outsourcing, and use of an automation tool. Along with choosing a strategy, it is important to understand the different implementation methods, including an incremental migration (soft rollout) or a “big bang” approach.

Taxonomy and Metadata Mapping

There are two primary components to mapping elements of your content: 1) understanding and conducting a mapping on a macro and micro scale and then 2) validating the mapping of those documents against end-user testing. Because the content map is critical as a guide for content migrators and new users to follow and adopt, your proposed content map should undergo some validation and review from a select group of end-users.

Portal Configuration

Once the portal design is completed and development plans have been established with a clearly defined scope, you can begin the actual configuration and build-out of the portal. Areas that need to be considered are page groups and subpages, portal templates, and document library folders.


It is in this step where each of the migration management roles is outlined and the resources are fully trained to understand the following:

  • what content needs to be migrated
  • which specific pieces of content will be migrated
  • where each specific content piece will be moved
  • when content needs to be moved
  • what order content will be moved in relation to the roadmap

Content Migration

After the site structure and page groups have been developed, the organization begins populating the page groups with content. There are a few things to keep in mind while populating content into the new structure, such as ensuring navigation structure, page layouts, migrating content into portal templates, and styles.

Testing and Validation

Once the migration activities are complete, schedule migration assessment and validation activities to ensure that the migration has been successful. When validating the post-migration environment it is important to confirm that all internal expectations that were set earlier by the portal team have been met.

By using this content migration step-by-step approach, you can tie your efforts more effectively to an overall portal roadmap. These simple, repeatable steps will ensure successful migration with the associated end user buy-in and validation required for long-term value.

About Nick Nylund

Nick Nylund is a Senior Analyst in Project Performance Corporation’s internationally known Knowledge Management practice. He specializes in designing business taxonomy and metadata strategies to categorize and classify information that will enable better search and browse. He is adept at conducting information architecture analyses and building strategies for implementing new portal and website technologies. He is also expert in content governance and policy, content migration planning, and usability design. Mr. Nylund is a PMI certified project manager.