Engaging digital marketing experiences don’t come easily and several efforts can be overlooked or underestimated for successful implementations. One of these efforts is the migration of content from your old system to the new. At times, this cost and effort of manual migration can be offset and reduced by programmatic (automated) migration. But, this isn’t always the case.
Programmatic content migration leverages a base tool that then requires individual scripts, mapping, and testing for each "structurally unique" set of content. The benefits and cost savings of programmatic migration are directly proportional to the quantity of content that’s following any one given pattern.
A simple analogy would be to consider the most efficient vehicle to travel 2,000 miles. If the travel is simply between two cities 2,000 miles apart, there's no question that a flight is going to be faster than taking your car. However, let's say the travel involves 20 cities along the way, each 100 miles apart. In that case, your car can get you there in 2-3 days, whereas 20 separate short flights are going to take twice as long and incorporate a lot more risk (flight delays, missed flights, maintenance issues, etc.), even though the airplane’s travel speed is much faster.
Given a website that has a couple thousand pages, automated migration can be extremely appealing at face value. However, if no single content template is used more than 100-200 times, migrating content is similar to the second scenario in the analogy above. Though all templates will leverage the same base tool for automated migration, each would require individual scripts with their own configuration, testing, and risks associated, resulting in limited value provided by the raw speed of the vehicle.
In this case, a manual approach will get us there in a more predictable timeframe with significantly less risk. If the website has hundreds or even thousands of articles or blog posts, all with a very similar content pattern, then we have a situation where the speed of automated migration scripts can be leveraged efficiently.
In practice, a fair amount of websites are best migrated using a combination of both automated and manual migration. Contrary to many people's beliefs, however, a full manual migration can often be the most efficient approach. One-hundred percent automated migration makes sense for very few sites.
Hidden Overhead of Automated Migration
How can it be that a manual migration is more efficient than automated migration?
Automated migration involves significant effort outside of the actual running of the scripts that can be easily overlooked. We’ve learned the process and what to expect from years of experience migrating content to Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) and other content management systems. A typical automated migration might include the following steps