As covered in Part 1 of this series on the modern platform migration process, changing platforms is no longer the headache it once was. After years of experience, industry-wide collaborations, and leaps forward in automations and technology, migrations are efficient, predictable, and significantly simpler.

“My goal for every new build is to make the process as clear and smooth as possible, says Lisa Cunningham, the Program Director for the new build team. “We start with a full migration project plan and a detailed outline of platform functionality and configurable options and then work our way through to a successful launch!”

The defining characteristics of our migration process are that we are collaborative, coordinated, and committed. Our clients are the experts on their business, domain, content, and data, and we encourage them to help us understand their business challenges and goals and the ways the platform can contribute to those solutions. Using a process refined over dozens of migrations and aligned with the NISO best practices for publisher migrations (which we helped to define), Silverchair’s scaled Agile framework and cross-functional team give us the stability and flexibility to succeed.

Below are some of the key stages of our standard migration process.


Stage 1: Set the Scene

The most important step in this process is establishing our relationship and ways of working with our new clients. In our kickoff meeting, clients join members of the build team and Customer Success to get to know one another and to cover the expectations for the various migration stages.

Silverchair is fully hands-on with:

  • UX Design and applying publisher branding
  • Content migration, enrichment, and loading support
  • Thorough software and integration testing
  • URL redirects & proactive linking/search partner updates
  • Messaging of new features and advantages
  • Training staff on tools and interfaces
  • Pre- & post-launch enhanced support
This allows our publisher partners to focus on other areas of the migration as well as their day-to-day publishing operations.


Stage 2: Build Scoping, Design, & Content Analysis

This stage firms up specific details of the build so the work can be broken down into component parts and scheduled with development teams.

This entails:

  • Clarifying requirements
  • Documenting configurations
  • Reviewing design mockups
  • Signing off on build scope and schedule
At the same time, content architects work closely with the publisher’s content conversion vendor to analyze the backfile, recommend tagging changes, and review a sample of converted content to ensure compliance with specifications.


Stage 3: Development

Next comes the actual code-writing part of the build. As covered in Part 1, 80% of the build is covered by the base implementation, which includes standard industry features. From there, we add the 20% of features that differentiate the publisher’s content from the rest of the market.

Our development teams:

  • Stand up base implementation
  • Apply style guide
  • Build out custom features
  • Coordinate third-party integrations with publisher
During this phase, the conversion vendor converts the full backfile and loads it into the system.


Stage 4: Site & Content Review

With development complete and backfile fully converted and loaded, our teams provide the publisher with access to the site, giving them ample opportunity to provide feedback on:

  • Features
  • Functionality
  • Configurations
  • Content completeness and accuracy
Any defects are identified and prioritized for prelaunch or post-launch remediation, then new requests go through our standard change management process.


Stage 5: Pre-Launch, Launch & Warranty

With the bones and look-and-feel of the site complete, next come the finishing touches. This includes:

  • Completing self-serve pages and boxes
  • Finalizing user data loading
  • Loading recently published content
  • Configuring downstream deposits

Once ready, our teams provide support and monitoring during and after launch, then review and address any post-launch questions and defects. And with all the progress made on migrations in the last decades, launches are “almost (ironically) boring” in the words of our Chief Delivery Officer, Paul Sanders. “The process is so smooth and laid out in advance that we can launch and celebrate with confidence."

After their November 2021 launch of a unified platform for their books and journals content, Peter Lynch of the American Academy of Pediatrics told our team:

"While things are still wonderfully quiet here, I wanted to take a moment and send a huge thank you for all your hard work and everything you’ve done to make this successful launch possible. I was never willing to speak it out loud back then, but when we started and probably even though the summer, I thought chances were minimal that we would hit our launch date, or do so with the full platform intact. It just seemed too tall a challenge. The fact that we made that tight timeframe while also launching complete, beautiful sites is a huge testament to your team. Throughout you all were hard-working, collaborative, and weathered every storm with commitment and professionalism. It was a pleasure working with you, it was one of the best collaborative experiences of my career."

Stephanie Austin of the American Accounting Association agreed:

"Silverchair conducts migrations more expertly than anyone in the industry. Moreover, their attention to the client experience is unrivaled. From the very first welcome message to the on-time launch of our site (yes, it's possible!), they carefully walked us through every stage, organized and captured every detail and made us feel heard at every point. I've experienced a number of migrations over the years, and Silverchair has written the ultimate playbook on how to do them well."

We hope this two-part series has helped to allay some common questions and worries around platform migrations, and shed light on the leaps forward the process had taken in recent years.

To learn more about what a migration would look like for your unique needs, get in touch to set up an intro discussion.

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