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Content Migration: Maintaining System Metadata and Version History with SharePoint APIs

Utilizing SharePoint technology results in a familiar tool that meets our client’s precise needs at a greatly reduced cost.

Challenge

In order to meet the needs of their team’s new goals and objectives, our client designed a new SharePoint site to store and manage their files. However, their legacy site contained all of their existing documents and files which needed to be retained and migrated to the team’s new site. Custom metadata fields, version data, and all default system information fields from the old site also needed to be migrated which is not possible using out-of-the-box SharePoint functionality.

The client purchased and implemented a third party product to do these things, but when deployed, it didn't meet all of the requirements. Enhancing the performance of this third party product would require a lot of configuration, and, consequently, substantial time and additional funds. With a deadline approaching, our client needed a way to migrate the content with version data and metadata intact before their project timeline ran out.

Plaster Group was tasked with either fixing the performance issues of the third party product, or crafting a solution with other in-house technologies capable of migrating our client’s content while maintaining metadata and all version information.

Approach

Rather than attempt to use the complicated third party tool, Plaster Group suggested a custom solution using existing SharePoint APIs to provide thorough, cost-effective content migration. Because of the short timeline, Plaster Group consultants worked closely with management to identify and prioritize the functions that were most essential.

Solution

Using SharePoint and its available APIs, Plaster Group consultants developed a command line tool that allowed administrators to migrate content from the old site to the new site while maintaining existing system metadata and version information. The new tool is capable of:

● Mapping document libraries in their entirety
● Grabbing relevant document data, system metadata, and version data
● Aggregating older data and metadata with new metadata automatically

Results

The new tool allowed for on-time delivery with a looming site migration deadline without the need for third party tools. Utilizing familiar SharePoint technology has resulted in a simple tool that meets our client’s precise needs at a greatly reduced cost. Our client has been able to use it to specify exactly which files needed to be migrated to the new site, with the added ability to:

● Modify the metadata around the document if they need to change or specify new attributes for their content
● Remap to a new metadata taxonomy
● Move documents without losing historical version data, and maintain system information metadata
● Reduce manual re-tagging