A CMS migration to Adobe Experience Manager (previously named Adobe CQ) is a large undertaking for any organization. With key team members, extensive budgets and an entire enterprise of websites, landing pages, content assets and more on the line, planning and execution of the migration must be flawless. To ensure a migration runs efficiently without a hitch, Axis41 has compiled this checklist for a CMS migration to Adobe Experience Manager.

Axis41 has participated in and assisted with over 130 Adobe Experience Manager implementations and migrations, and works with Adobe as a business-level partner, often hosting events and seminars discussing the Adobe Marketing Cloud.

A CMS Migration to Adobe Experience Manager

Refer to the checklist below to understand exactly what an organization would need to effectively and flawlessly execute a CMS migration to Adobe Experience Manager.

The Beginning:

Team Roles

Establishing the proper team will be crucial to the success of the project. The team could include project managers, business analysts, AEM architects, AEM developers, Web developers, Infrastructure specialists, content strategists, content authors, authoring advocates, UI/UX designers, Web marketing and business stakeholders . A well-established team (as well as any CMS migration partnership teams) will help to create better communication and overall project organization. Organizing clear roles can also increase productivity and reduce confusion for the remainder of the project.

Project Management Tool

Traditionally, a CMS migration consists of several smaller projects, all needing to be completed within the timeline. To maintain these projects (stick to the timeline, record changes, track statuses, etc.) a project management tool is a necessity. Axis41 has worked with clients who utilized project management systems like JiraAsanaTrelloWorkfront (formerly AtTask) and others.

Site Review and a CMS Migration Plan

Following the decision to migrate to Adobe Experience Manager, a thorough review of all the company’s digital assets including websites, properties, landing pages, etc. must be conducted. This review should take a look at the current web presence, design, functionality and content to set goals for the future site. These goals will shape the entire CMS migration plan.

Below are five questions to ask to determine a CMS migration plan and its goals:

  1. What are the key business considerations?
  2. How much should be budgeted and planned for with this CMS migration?
  3. How will the organization determine what AEM partner to work with?
  4. What Adobe Marketing Cloud Solutions will be supported across the organization?
  5. Should the site infrastructure be moved to the cloud?

The Strategy:

Soft Timeline for Migration

Complete CMS migrations to Adobe Experience Manager can take a considerable amount of time. It is important to have a soft timeline for completion to ensure the migration project moves along at a steady pace. This timeline is also the place to highlight when project milestones should be completed.

Extensive Content Audit

A content audit is an important element of this CMS migration checklist as it records all site content/assets such as images, videos, copy, etc. This audit should act as a baseline; identifying the amount of current content and where it lives on the site. This audit is crucial to the next phase of a CMS migration to Adobe Experience Manager, which is the determination of what assets and content will move to the new platform and where they will reside.

Migration and New Content Determination

Once assets have been defined, it is essential to indicate which assets will be migrated to Adobe Experience Manager and which assets will need to be left behind. This is also the time to determine whether or not an organization will instigate a content freeze for the duration of the migration or continue to produce new content which will need to be added to the list of assets for migration.

SEO and URL Strategies

Content assets that will be migrated need to provide a site with the most value possible, resulting in the need to establish an SEO strategy. An SEO strategy should include optimization of all assets (videos, images, URLs, page copy, etc.), to ensure they can be sorted and found across the site’s search as well as in search engines such as Google and Bing.

A URL strategy is also necessary and should indicate 301 redirects or 410 pages for the assets not being included in the CMS migration, subfolder structure and overall site navigation.

The Implementation:

Expert CMS Migration Team

Most organizations do not have an expert Adobe Experience Manager / CMS migration team on staff. This means that a corporation may need to hire an AEM partner to assist them with undertaking a migration to AEM. This whitepaper on 8 Qualities to Look for in an AEM 6.0 Implementation Partner may offer some insights into the type of AEM partner to consider. The selected CMS migration team should, at a minimum, have a deep understanding of Adobe Experience Manager as well as several years of experience, and a team of Adobe certified developers, architects, and analysts. An AEM partner can also assist with the soft timeline creation, SEO and URL strategies, asset audits and company training as well as recommend a successful project management tool.

Strong Designer / Developer Relationship

A CMS migration to Adobe Experience Manager requires both exceptional design and development. Without a relationship between an organization’s designers and the AEM developers, project slowdowns and communication breakdowns can happen. A site’s components, structure, functionality, user experience and overall success can depend on a strong relationship between these two teams.

Training on the New CMS, Adobe Experience Manager

Many corporations migrate to Adobe Experience Manager due to its potential for great authoring tools and incredible functionality, but in the final stages of a CMS migration, it is imperative that an organization undergo internal training on this Adobe CMS platform. General training can be provided by Adobe and an organization’s AEM partner can offer detailed training based on the platform’s customization. Training should include asset management within the platform, authoring and more.

Finding an AEM Partner for a CMS Migration to Adobe Experience Manager

An Adobe Experience Manager partner can assist with almost every element of this checklist. It is important to seek out a qualified partner who has:

  1. Track Record of Success and Extensive Adobe Experience Manager Implementation and Migration Experience
  2. Adobe Certified Developer Teams
  3. Knowledge of Other Adobe Marketing Cloud Products and How They Work with AEM

A CMS migration can be a large undertaking, but with this checklist of what needs to be done, as well as an excellent AEM partner, any organization can effectively migrate to Adobe Experience Manager. To learn more about Axis41 and our experience with CMS migrations to AEM, visit our implementations page, learn more about our Adobe Experience Manager team or contact us with your specific inquires.