Case Study: Content Cleanup - a Prerequisite for Office 365 Migration

Organizations present different priorities for cleaning up their content repositories. In this case study, content cleanup became a prerequisite for Office 365 migration for a power company that wanted to reduce the footprint of content being migrated.

Collaboration and compliance concerns triggered an information governance initiative.

Our client is the product of previous, significant mergers, and is now a holding company for several power and energy companies. It has 8,000 – 10,000 employees, providing power for 2 – 3 million electric customers and approximately 1 million natural gas customers, across a service area of nearly 100,000 square miles. Its size, combined with complications from working with a number of legacy systems, led to a content mess.

In 2016 the company began a strategic initiative to improve how it managed its unstructured and semi-structured content. The concern was that employees didn’t have the tools, processes, or practices to be able to collaborate across multiple facilities. But there were also growing compliance concerns over whether the company was providing appropriate access to its most secured content. Providing appropriate access to secured content is a concern for many organizations across a wide range of industries, but all the more imperative in this case, because of the highly regulated nature of the energy sector.

Migrating to Office 365 provided an opportunity to clean up content and establish new policies and procedures.

The company committed to migrating to Microsoft Office 365 (O365) as the enterprise tool to meet its content management and collaboration requirements, going forward. The imminent migration to O365 was seen as an ideal opportunity for the company to clean up the vast volumes of stored content, eliminating unnecessary and outdated information (“redundant, outdated, and trivial,” or ROT) from repositories, thereby reducing the volume of content to be migrated.

Doculabs provided a flexible consulting approach – handling some aspects of the project turn-key, and coaching the client through other aspects.

The client had sufficient staff for much of the heavy lifting, but also realized that the staff needed to learn current best practices from Doculabs subject matter experts before tackling cleanup and migration themselves. Ultimately they chose a phased approach with shared responsibility.

Project Phases

  1. Enterprise-level content scan and cleanup
  2. Operational department pilot
  3. Operational implementations
  4. Design of corporate services approach

First, Doculabs assisted in conducting an Enterprise Content Scan and Cleanup to reduce the volume of content, in preparation for migration. Doculabs used content analytics tools to scan the company’s shared drives and other repositories. Then, based on its analysis of the information obtained in the content scan, Doculabs made specific recommendations for how to proceed with the content cleanup and migration—e.g. the sequence in which to migrate the various departments and which content types to prioritize for the migration.

Next, Doculabs helped the company implement an Operational Department Pilot, to provide a workable foundation for the subsequent department-by-department migration of content. First up were the so-called “operational” departments—Power Generation, Transmission, Nuclear, etc.—i.e. the ones focused on the company’s mission as a power company. Based on the results of the content scan, Doculabs worked with stakeholders from one selected department, along with representatives of the company’s Legal, Records Management, and Cybersecurity functions, to clean up additional content, identify the appropriate target repository and structure for the content, and then perform the actual content migration to O365. To help ensure adoption and acceptance of the new content structure and the new tool, Doculabs also conducted change management with the department’s end users.

Using lessons learned from the pilot, Doculabs then conducted a series of Operational Department Implementations, working with the company’s remaining operational departments to clean up content, identify the appropriate repository, and migrate the content. As the implementations progressed, Doculabs provided the necessary knowledge transfer to enable the company’s IT staff to ramp up its involvement in the migration, with a corresponding decrease in Doculabs’ involvement. This ramp-up enabled internal company resources undertake more of the migration work with each successive department implementation.

In a final phase, Corporate Services Approach Design, Doculabs assisted the company’s project team in designing an approach to be used for managing the content of the Corporate Services departments (HR, Accounting, IT, and other back-office operations) in O365, providing the necessary preparation for the organization’s internal resources to effectively address Corporate Services content in the future.

Project Results

Overall, the content cleanup and migration provided a wide range of benefits. As a result of the migration to O365, it’s easier for employees to find the content they need to do their jobs, as they can now share content effectively within and across departments. The content cleanup reduced the overall risk surface of the organization, making the job of Information Security much easier because it eliminated a significant volume of content that the organization didn’t need to keep—or protect.

Best Practices for Setting Up Office 365 SharePoint Online

Rich Medina
Doculabs consultants offer in-depth expertise in information management and information security across a number of industries, including financial services, insurance, energy, manufacturing, and life sciences. Our recommendations are based on our experience and empirical data from hundreds of consulting engagements over more than 25 years. As trusted advisors, we provide our clients recommendations that are completely objective.