Jon Tonberg, CTO at AmazeRealise, talks about a recent technical migration for SunLife and highlights five key considerations when undertaking such a significant project.
Are you thinking of migrating from Ektron to Episerver? It’s a strong step to take to align yourself with the latest thinking in Cloud-based experience management. One that requires careful consideration of what you want to achieve, planning, risk mitigation and the creation of a managed team with strong delivery experience.
SunLife is a leading UK insurer specialising in financial services and support for over-50s. The company had recently been disposed by AXA to the Phoenix Group and was going through the process of separation. This meant that existing technical infrastructure and systems needed to be moved and rebuilt.
This was also the perfect opportunity to upgrade from their Ektron system to Episerver Digital Experience Cloud. It would provide SunLife with a range of advanced marketing and optimisation tools, particularly those involving multivariate testing, marketing automation and the automatic scaling of the hosting and platform infrastructure to allow for variable website traffic.
Conducting a detailed audit and creating a content inventory is crucial to your project. Everything has been implemented for a reason so making sure you have a full understanding of how Ektron had been implemented gives you those reasons and uncovers constraints and boundaries that may not have been obvious.
Documenting everything from architecture, content structures, relationships between content items through to meta-data and access/user rights helps all stakeholders keep that full system picture. Content relationships are particularly key – migrating an Ektron Page Builder page to an Episerver page can pose a challenge if you don’t have a full grasp of content structures.
Take away the risks
When there are a lot of back end integrations and systems which still need to be used, re-writing those may be a technical desire but not a commercial practicality.
Creating an intermediate service adapter layer to integrate and manage data feeds from all of the back-end systems is a pragmatic approach that ensures existing tests can be preserved. This also made ongoing maintenance significantly easier. Rebuild the backend components themselves when there is a business case to do so, not during a migration period.
Keep it focused
Using lean agile development methodologies, aligned in focused sprints gives focus. Make meetings count, and not just a ceremony that ticks a box. Empower your internal developers to deliver by removing obstacles from their path. High quality work is crucial to reduce technical debt and achieve your timescales.
All teams are playing for the same side
Delivering any project requires teamwork, and building relationships is crucial. SunLife dedicated two team members to the project full time. Both were empowered to make the necessary decisions needed to move at pace and they ensured they were always available.
Having those relationships with your client and integration partners results in quick decision making, red tape cutting and clearing the path of obstacles. It significantly smooths the pathways when issues occur.
Support, measure and optimise
Finally, it’s important to remember that migration is part of an ongoing process. A migration is a waste of time if it doesn’t generate any ROI, and releasing this ROI is a process, not a switch. A post migration plan for optimisation, and getting the best out of the platform, is crucial and we continue to support SunLife, working through enhancements and activities on their website to improve the user journey and user experience.
- Document everything - understand in absolute detail what you need to migrate and why
- Take away the risks - Keep the scope manageable: if you don’t need to do something, don’t
- Keep it focused - You need empowered, small teams who are accountable and supported to succeed
- All teams are playing for the same side - Make those relationships count and make sure everyone is playing towards the same goal
- Support, measure and optimise - The process doesn’t stop after migration - you need to keep working hard to realise those ROI gains
If you’re thinking of making the change from Ektron to Episerver then you need a trusted partner. Get in touch with Jon below to see how we can help you succeed.