Anyone who has worked in the digital world long enough has been through a migration project. It’s a rite of passage for Web professionals. Technology evolves, new tools emerge, and it’s onward and upward.
We have a strong vision of how we can modernize the community experience. It’s not simply that we’ve outgrown the platform that hosts this amazing community. We know that the notion of ‘community’ is always more than the sum of the bits and bytes on which it operates, but it’s time to realize our collective vision.
By “collective vision” I mean a vision in lock step with One Digital Experience that also brings in everything the community has taught us. No matter what the underlying systems the community has run on, it has always been vibrant not only with discourse about the SAP world, but on how community itself works. This invaluable input has been fodder for our own team of IT professionals and community managers to imagine what could be… beyond the confines of the platform du jour.
And so here we are, on the verge of a major transformation in the community. While this blog series focuses on the content migrations required of the progression, the overall goal is to provide the best functionality for our world-class community to find answers, learn, and contribute. Now it’s time to think about how to pack up for the move!
In taking these strides forward, the project team must take inventory and decide what to bring into the future. Maybe migrations aren’t as much fun or as flashy as devising widgets or coding new applications or “innotechting” the vision. But while challenging and complex, migrations present a unique opportunity to improve the tools, systems, and processes that run the business. Migrations are also the perfect time to eliminate clutter.
So what happens next?
Five Ws (and One H)
To borrow from an old journalistic tool to help explain the new one: It’s the who-what-why-where-when-and-how of blog migration.
Who? It’s all about you.
What? Blogs, to start with. Your blogs. We’ll talk about discussions and documents in subsequent communications.
Maybe the better question is “Which?” as in, which blogs will be migrated? Today there over 60,000 blog posts, most of which will be migrated. There are some exceptions and migration rules that will apply that we’ll address in more detail.
Where? To SAP Blogs.
When? We will begin testing the migration process as early as this month (when the beta site is open), but the actual migration will take place in Q4. Everything created on the beta site until this final cutover date will not be kept for launch.
How? Two factors essentially describe how blogs move to the new system: migration rules and primary tags.
First, about the rules, or “quality algorithm.” We’ll run a set of business rules over the enormous stockpile of blogs in our current system to sort out what belongs in the high-value pile and what belongs in the lower-value pile. The small amount of content expected in the lower-value pile will not be discoverable by search, but will be retrievable should there be any reason to preserve it – be it business or sentimental. What determines the quality bar? The SCN team has worked hard to come up with a quality algorithm that strikes the right balance between conservation and search optimization.
Second, about the mapping. In the blog Goodbye Spaces, Hello World of Tags, I talked about the importance of metadata in the future community and introduced the primary tag concept. Metadata will drive navigation and consumption of content, while the unique primary tag will enable us to run effective moderation and reputation programs. Primary tags are also critical for migration to the new environment. Every space slated for migration must be mapped to a primary tag; i.e. a singular value in the “1DX metadata schema.”
This schema will evolve over time of course, but right now the focus is on getting it close enough to complete so that we can finish our mapping of spaces to tags. This exercise is pretty straightforward in most cases: For example, the SAP Lumira space corresponds to a singular value in our corporate product taxonomy, which we can therefore assign for migration. Similarly, ABAP will be an official value in the list of topics (it isn’t a product!), and therefore we can map the ABAP spaces. For other spaces, however, a one-to-one mapping from space to product isn’t possible. For example, SAP Microsoft Interoperability covers two or three products. Or, it may be that no related value exists in the 1DX schema, such as for Life at SAP.
Once the beta site is robust and prepared for content migration, we’ll begin moving over blogs. Blogs will be assigned a primary tag based on the mapping of spaces to tags just discussed. Blogs for which no primary tag has been identified will be given a temporary “migration” tag, to be identified over the course of time by blog authors, moderators, and global moderators. We hope to complete the mapping in such a way that it limits the amount of content without a primary tag, while preserving the integrity of the 1DX metadata schema.
The process outlined thus far accounts for most of the blog content on SCN, but there are a few exceptions.
Personal Blogs – Having outlined the purpose of the 1DX metadata schema, hopefully it won’t come as a major surprise that your personal blogs will not have a default primary tag. Your personal blogs (found under http.//scn.sap.com/people/<username>/blog) will be brought over to WordPress with the “migration” tag, like any other unmapped blogs. We will provide an ample grace period for you, as authors, to assign a primary tag to these blogs in the new system before purging any content.
Note that you can move your personal blogs to other spaces at any time (yes, even now already) – but of course you will need to know which spaces do and do not have a primary tag mapping for that move to result in the blog having a proper primary tag in the new world.) Later we will publish the mapping so that you may move your personal blogs to a suitable space with a primary tag.
Blogs in Private Spaces – In general, the content strategy for the few private/closed spaces on the current platform is to migrate to SAP JAM. We will be addressing these migrations directly with appropriate stakeholders.
Non-English Language Blogs – We will migrate non-English language blogs, although the overall localization strategy for the community is still being worked out.
The Path Forward
Let’s face it: Migrations are the uphill climb on the journey forward. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bring the stuff; the heavy lifting just requires endurance and some support. Let’s not lose sight of the vision we’re working towards.
I hope this overview sheds some light on the path forward. We will provide specific instructions in the near future. And we’ll communicate more about document and discussion migration in the coming weeks. Until then, consider this one more stride in “the long run.”