IT Tips & Tricks

Published 15 October 2021

Planning for Migration: Eliminate the ROT


If you brought a crate of fresh apples home from your local farmer’s market and discovered a rotten apple in it, we hope like heck that you’d remove that nasty one before washing and storing those delicious, sweet and juicy apples. (If not, we’re never eating at your house again.) You know what happens if you don’t, right? Yeah, the rot spreads and next thing you know, you’ve got a crateload of repugnant brown squishiness that’s attracting hordes of pesky fruit flies. Eliminating the rot is just common sense. Well, the same concept applies to your data before you migrate it. Whether you’re moving to SharePoint, the Cloud, OpenText, servers or new file structures, you should definitely remove the ROT: in other words, any data that is Redundant, Obsolete or Trivial.

The least important aspect of a data migration is the migration itself. Although this may sound counter-intuitive, bear in mind that the actual migration is simply the act (or art) of moving the data from one location to another. But before you even get to that point, there’s the all-important pre-migration analysis and planning that is 100% critical to the success of your migration. Make sure that you take time to develop a well-considered strategy. This would include defining the goal of the migration, as well as all the steps needed to achieve it for all areas of the business. Let’s dig in a little on this.

Migrations are no fairytale.

What’s on Your Strategy Menu?


How much trivial data is hogging space on your system?

No two migrations are the same, so the requirements for each could vary widely. The following are some “menu” items that are applicable in any migration scenario:

  • Identify who in the business will be most affected by the proposed data transition. Is it Sales? Marketing? HR? Legal? Know exactly where the impact may be greatest.
  • Work out how to minimize platform downtime. This could be codified with a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that indicates what’s acceptable to the various business departments. (“They” can’t complain if “they” agreed to it!)
  • Know exactly how your users are going to get onto the new platform.
  • Also ensure you know how users will actually use the new platform. You’re the one they’re going to bug for answers if they don’t know what they’re doing in unfamiliar territory.
  • Be very clear about how soon the new platform will become available for migration. (And when it will be available for use.)
  • Have a defined date for when the old platform will end.
  • Accept that the basic flow of a migration is seldom linear, and is often cyclical. The basic flow, start to finish, consists of:
  1. Select your content.
  2. Analyze information architecture.
  3. Migrate selected content.
  4. User acceptance testing.
  5. Remediation.
  6. Final product.

Time and money are constantly under scrutiny.


The ideal scene is a perfectly neat and orderly migration.

While that may look like a straight-up linear flow, be aware that “Remediation” often cycles back to “Migrate selected content,” and goes through “User acceptance testing” again, often repeatedly, before you truly achieve your “Final product.”

To all intents and purposes, the migration itself is sandwiched in between the bread of “planning, defining and analyzing” and “training, onboarding, educating.” Those two slices of bread are critically important to the overall success of the migration. Don’t skimp.

How to Handle the ROT

Once the need for a migration has been determined, one of the first things that should be achieved is understanding your content and getting it cleaned up. This consists of three phases:

  1. Decide what your approach will be:
  • Rule-based cleaning,
  • Going to the business users/content owners for subjective analysis, or
  • A combination of both.
  1. Defining ROT and performing the ROT analysis:
  • How will you define Redundant?
  • How will you define Obsolete?
  • How will you define Trivial?
  1. What will you do with the ROT?
  • Migrate the data?
  • Archive the data?
  • Delete the data?
  • Transform the data?

Content is more than mere content — there’s an entire Information Architecture involved.

We’d like to dedicate a little more space to the ROT issue, as this can have a profound effect on the amount of data that is included in the migration, which has an impact on duration and cost, and we all know that time and money are two of the most critical factors in any business, constantly under scrutiny.

How to Perform a ROT Analysis

There are essentially three steps to a decent ROT analysis.


Are you armed to vanquish your missing data?

Step 1:

  • Define exactly what Redundant, Obsolete and Trivial mean, making sure the definitions you settle on are driven by the needs of the business.

For example, you find an HR file that hasn’t been added to, updated or revised in the last eight years. Before you decide that this file is either redundant or obsolete, it would be wise to check with HR. It might transpire that that file is an important collection of HR contracts and policies that are virtually set in stone and have not required updating or revision in the last eight years. Does that mean they’re redundant or obsolete? Absolutely not. Leave that file alone!

Step 2:

  • Inventory your content with the relevant data points needed to align with the definitions you’ve determined as per the above.

Example: Four years ago, the company held a “best-dressed dog” competition. There are currently hundreds of photographs and videos, submitted by both employees and customers, taking up space in your database. While they may be of value to their owners, is it really necessary to include them in the migration? Do you keep the customer data, and delete the employees? Or would this content all fall under the heading of “Trivial”? The same applies to last year’s Halloween contest, when Lulu came as a mummy, wrapped entirely in duct tape, and had to be urgently cut out of that sticky mess so that she could go to the bathroom. That video can be deleted. (It’s forever etched in our memories.)

Step 3:

  • Establish how much of your content is duplicated or similar and therefore potentially redundant.
  • How much of the content is considered too old to fulfill business needs and is now obsolete?
  • Is there content that is considered irrelevant and trivial, and therefore unnecessary?

Bear in mind that your content is more than mere content — there’s an entire Information Architecture involved here.

We wish you well on your migration journey. If you need help planning for it, you may find our free eBook, Planning Data Migration the Right Way, helpful. If you have questions about the post-migration landscape, read on.

“They” can’t complain if “they” agreed to it!

Post Migration Pitfalls

So, you made it. Your migration is complete. And it would be great if you could say that everyone in the kingdom was delighted with the outcome. However, we all know that migrations are no fairytale. One of the most common problems is data that goes missing. The downtime, grumpy end users and glowering bosses don’t bode well for a happy ending. Alas, what to do?

Pre-migration analysis and planning is 100% critical to the success of your migration.

One of the most common causes of all that missing data is the broken file links that occur during the migration. The sword-and-shield that will turn you into the all-conquering hero of this epic tale is LinkFixer Advanced. If you’ve got missing data like fleas on a feral dog, LinkFixer Advanced will find and fix those broken file links, thereby restoring that missing data. And it does it fast.

For further information, visit or speak to a friendly Service Consultant at 727-442-1822 for more details on the other two ways it can help you. LinkFixer Advanced: No more tearing your hair out or avoiding your boss. And definitely no more fleas.

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