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Consortium for Service Innovation

Should we mass migrate existing content into a new knowledge base?

Question: We are implementing KCS with a new tool, and one of the questions we have is about migrating content from the old knowledge base to the new one. I am trying to argue against mass migration, and am looking for examples of why mass migration is a bad idea.  - Anonymous


Based on our members' experience over the past 20 years, we are adamant: do not mass migrate legacy content into a new KCS KB!


We have had lots of members spend lots of money doing a mass migration of legacy content into a new KCS KB only to find that it messes up findability. We have never seen this work (I mean, never).


There are a number of issues with a mass migration, but the primary one relates to the search engine index. When content that is in different structures and different context is indexed together, it greatly diminishes findability. When the content structure and context is consistent, it improves findability. So keep the legacy content around, but in a separate repository, indexed separately. Make it searchable, and if people find interesting content in the legacy KB, they should create a KCS article from the legacy content (put it in the context of the requestor and in the KCS structure). You will find that less than 10% of the legacy content is ever used and that after about 3-6 months no one is searching the legacy stuff because all the useful content has been pulled into the KCS KB. This is a demand-driven approach to migrating legacy content. It is efficient and it works.


You can, if you have reuse counts/indicators on the legacy content, review the top 100 or so legacy articles that have been used in the past 6-12 months and create KCS articles from them. Or, ask your support engineers to bring their 5-10 most frequently used legacy articles to the KCS training and create KCS articles from those legacy articles as part of the training. This seeds the new KCS KB with some useful articles; just be sure that people are searching before creating in the new KB to avoid creating duplicates!


See Dealing With Legacy Data in the Practices Guide for more information. 


- Greg Oxton

18 August 2017


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