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Considerations for Migrating from Ektron to Episerver CMS

Many of our clients are wondering about the process of migrating from Ektron to Episerver. Even though this can seem daunting, with the right partners and planning, you can transition to Episerver and meet your timeline and budget. Partnering with your internal IT department, hosting partner, and implementation partner will help you to gather all the necessary information to understand all aspects and the full project scope.We are finding that a clients’ transition from Ektron to Episerver is beneficial for three primary reasons:

  1. Retaining CMS Partnerships - Clients can, if they choose, retain the same partners and contacts that they are already working with going from Ektron to Episerver.

  2. Advantageous CMS License Conversion - If you have a current Ektron licensed system and a current Ektron maintenance support agreement, Episerver will work closely with you to give you the best license options.

  3. Superior Features List - The Episerver platform allows for a high quality, custom website with leading tools for editors to manage their website’s content. This results in powerful content personalization. It also enables you to offer multichannel interaction, extending mobility and engaging through social communication.

Based on our partnership and experience with the Ektron and Episerver CMS platforms, let’s review some of the crucial aspects of an Ektron to Episerver CMS transition.

Identify Your Partner Support(s)

Review your in-house and external contacts of people that help you with your website. Consider the availability of any in-house resources. You’ll need to engage with these partners for a successful transition from Ektron to Episerver. They’ll assist you with necessary information for making decisions. As a starting point, put a name next to each of the Partner Roles. In some cases, your current CMS implementer or a third party consulting firm may be able to support you in several of the roles. Use these contacts to advise you further.

Partner roles to identify:

  • CMS Representative
  • CMS Implementer
  • Design Partner
  • Third Party Application Partner
  • Hosting Partner
  • IT Manager
  • Website Administrator

Assess Your Website Elements

This is a good opportunity to assess all the aspects of your website. The following lists many of the elements of building and maintaining a website, then explains these elements so that you can determine your needs.

1. CMS Product License 

If you have a current Ektron licensed system and a current Ektron maintenance support agreement, Episerver can offer you the best pricing arrangement. Review your license for Ektron and what it covers. For new licenses, Episerver charges for development, staging, and production environment licenses. License costs are dependent on the number of sites, server, and on premise vs. cloud hosting. Unlike Ektron, Episerver does not add costs for the number of CMS administrators.

2. CMS Maintenance License 

There is also a Maintenance License cost. This cost is typically a percentage of the license cost. This license provides for all CMS version upgrades and releases covered by your license agreement for the CMS.

3. System Architecture and Hosting  

Episerver system requirements for servers are similar to Ektron’s. If you are adding new features, always review them against system resources. Remember to consider how you’ll use 3rd Party applications, including CRM/AMS’s and any search capabilities. Episerver Find is a hosted SaaS and does not require additional architecture resources. Investigate how using this capability affects you. If you’re not changing your applications, functions, or features, then you may have no additional costs for hosting. If you are not sure, you can learn more about Episerver’s system requirements

4. CMS Implementation 

Unfortunately, there isn’t an automated tool to transition all of your custom CMS implementation, features, functions, and software in the CMS from Ektron to Episerver. This is a manual process your CMS implementation partner will help you complete. If you have either well defined functional documentation and implementation guidelines, or well designed and written software, you can more easily make the transition from Ektron to Episerver. Your CMS implementation partner needs to use these sources for a clear understanding of how your website is built. If not, no big deal, a little more time with the client website experts, or the code, will close the gaps to fully understand the details. The Ektron coding standard is based on ASP.NET WebForms, whereas, Episerver recommends ASP.NET MVC. Your CMS implementation partner can conduct a preliminary review and provide you with cost and schedule details.

5. Third Party Products  

Identify your databases, search applications, Login, CRM/AMS, and other existing or new applications integrated into your website. Your CMS implementation partner needs to re-integrate with all 3rd party products in use by the website. The interfaces to applications may be very similar, but the way the CMS interacts with the data will be different. The CMS implementation partner will be able to estimate this effort after a custom code review. It’s worth noting that Episerver has a plethora of features not available in Ektron, so spend some time reviewing your current website as well as useful features and integrations that are available in Episerver.

6. Find and Search  

Episerver uses Lucene as the built-in CMS search or Episerver Find as an advanced option. This is new for Ektron clients. If you are currently using Ektron Search, you’ll most likely want to use either of these two options. Look to your CMS implementation partner also for whether using Apache Solr is an option for you. Your CMS implementation partner will be able to provide you more information after a discussion of your search needs.

7. Content and Metadata 

Moving your content and metadata to the new Episerver website is an important step. Episerver has a tool in Beta available to CMS implementation partners to help evaluate the level of effort for moving content out of Ektron and into Episerver. The Episervers Expert Services team is working to aide both CMS implementation partners and clients directly with data migration. Here is the way it works. In most cases, the CMS implementation partner will handle all the design / template development and define the new content types and information architecture, then comes the very tedious work of mapping old content to new models and the repetitive development of migration scripts. The assistance from the Episerver Expert Services team accelerates the completion. Check with your Episerver partner representative and or your CMS implementer.

Upgrading to the latest version of Ektron is not required for moving content and metadata. Siteport and Kapow are two licensed generic content migration tools available that even work with older Ektron versions. You’ll want to cut this potential six week effort down to size. Consider this approach especially if your website has a large amount of content, with lots of types of content, with lots of updates. Check with your partners for the latest information on content and metadata migration tools.

Ektron users will be familiar with e-sync. Episerver uses a gadget called Projects to manage groups of to-be-published content. It is used by authors to promote content from a staged state to a live state.

8. Deployment to Production  

Episerver’s recommended process for deploying sites into production is to use tools like Octopus Deploy and XCOPY. Work with your hosting service, IT department, and your CMS implementation partner to determine the best options for you.

9. Episerver Administration & Website Administration 

Episerver is different than Ektron, so administration training is really valuable. Re-train your authors and website administrators in the new CMS to give them the full scope of all features available and how they work. This training includes how to customize the editorial interface, configuring your website, scheduling jobs and installing and configuring add-ons. Learn more at the Episerver Editors & Business Users courses.

Website administration includes server and application performance monitoring, website monitoring, troubleshooting, tracking visitor data and reporting. Take this opportunity to look into the details of how your website is performing.

When to Transition from Ektron to Episerver 

Making the move from Ektron to Episerver can enable your organization to take advantage of all the additional features and functionality available in the Episerver CMS. However, if you are not planning to redesign, or refresh your website in the next year, there is no compelling CMS reason to move immediately, because Ektron will continue being supported. Right now, let the CMS features, your organization goals, and your website performance be the driving factors to transition to Episerver.

Engage with your partners early in the process. Your CMS representative and your CMS implementer are going to be key to gathering the right information for your decision. Review your in-house and external contacts of people that help you with your website. You’ll need to engage with these partners for a successful transition from Ektron to Episerver. They’ll assist you with necessary information for making decisions.

If you are making minimal changes to your website and are not adding functionality, the biggest factors in determining your cost and schedule will be licensing, architecture, implementing the CMS, CRM/AMS, third party application products and migrating content.

If you have any outstanding questions or specific inquiries, leave them in the comment section below and I’ll respond directly.