Planning a platform migration? Use this checklist!

Date: 5th September 2017
Author: Louise Arnold

In our previous blog we explored the top mistakes we come across during the platform migration process, in this post we provide a 10-point checklist to avoid the most common pitfalls to ensure successful migration.

Keeping pace with online technologies is a challenge for many businesses, especially as the lifespan of a website or app seems to get shorter and shorter. The more complex the site, the harder, and more costly, it is to manage upgrades – and the more likely you are to consider migrating to a new platform.

platform migration moving boxes on laptop

If your legacy system has reached the end of its rope and you need something more scalable – or simply want to make a fresh start with new commercial objectives firmly in mind, re-platforming might already be on the cards. Once you’ve agreed an approach, chosen a new platform partner and established costs, you’re ready to make a start.

  1. Audit your business processes
    A complete, honest review of business processes will help to establish which parts of the old system need to be incorporated into the new one. Consider how you could modify processes to make the most of the features of the new platform.
  2. Define success
    General goals – such as delivering an improved customer experience – are all well and good but you should try to establish a benchmark for measuring success (or failure) when your site is live. By setting success criteria at the outset, you’ll better understand your ROI.
  3. Draw up a timetable
    Involve every department in your migration timetable. Consider what each team needs to achieve and assign responsibility for overseeing agreed actions. Schedule regular progress meetings with team leaders and your migration partners so you stay on track.
  4. Prioritise data and product migration
    Carefully consider how the new platform will manage migration of essential data and information from the legacy system and how it will interface with your existing inventory. It’s crucial that this element of the switch is handled smoothly.
  5. Sort out your SEO
    Mishandle SEO and you could squander all the time, money and resources you’ve spent on optimisation to date. Allocate the responsibility for managing SEO to an experienced hand and make sure redirects are in place. Don’t leave it till the last minute.
  6. Allow time for training
    Staff will need to get up to speed on the quirks and features of the new platform, as they’ll be on the front line, operationally speaking. It’s easy to overlook training in the rush to complete the re-platforming process, so schedule ample time for meaningful sessions.
  7. Test early and often
    Re-platforming can seem like a leap of faith, so give yourself some cold, hard facts to work with. Commission a thorough programme of realistic load testing – preferably during staging, and again when you go live, to make sure your site is primed to run like clockwork.
  8. Give yourself a safety net
    As an extra safety measure, keep your old system running in parallel until you’re absolutely, 100% happy with the new platform. Belt and braces might seem like overkill but better to be safe than sorry.
  9. Keep your customers in the loop
    If you’ve made any significant changes to the way you do business, don’t forget to let your customers know. It may be that you can no longer access email strings or order history – in which case, the customer will need to be updated.
  10. Monitor performance throughout
    You won’t be able to measure performance improvements if you don’t have an appropriate yardstick. Make early plans to monitor performance of realistic user journeys on the legacy platform and also on the new one to make sure you’re operating at optimal levels. Find out how SciVisum can monitor performance at any point in the release cycle. Many clients run monitoring journeys in both staging and production environments and measure the impact of any changes by comparing the two sets of results. This helps to find and resolve issues more quickly saving time and money.

Read our case study to find out how realistic load testing helped Neilson minimise the risks of platform migration

Further Reading

How to avoid the top five platform migration mistakes

Platform migration Part 1: The challenges of sustaining user experience. 

Platform migration Part 2: Minimising the risk