Navigating the Shift: The Strategy and Execution of Workhuman’s CMS Migration Journey
- 25. July 2023
Workhuman is a multinational company co-headquartered in Massachusetts and Dublin. They provide cutting-edge cloud-based human capital management software solutions, and their social recognition programs are outstanding, allowing employees to acknowledge and reward each other's contributions.
Workhuman has a deep understanding of the pivotal role employees play in the success of any team. Employees are valuable investments, and Workhuman aims to make a positive and nurturing work environment easy for every business to employ.
Workhuman wanted to migrate from their traditional content management system to Contentful, a headless CMS that separates the presentation layer (where content is presented) from the backend (where content is managed). A headless CMS would allow Workhuman to manage content in one place and deploy that content on any digital channel they choose.
A common goal of migrations is to improve the consistency of a team’s content creation, and Contentful would do just that. Contentful has been shown to make managing content easier for marketers and often lets developers build faster and automate changes.
At Adapt, our goal for this migration was to take Workhuman’s previous CMS and create a comparable experience in a new system, this time without technical debt and the manual work of recreating large chunks of content.
What is a CMS migration?
A CMS migration means moving data from your website or your group of site from one CMS to another. We want to preserve the work that you’ve already done while adapting and cleaning it up so that it fits your new system.
These are not the only reasons to migrate your CMS, but you might consider a migration if:
- You’re accounting for business growth
- Your current CMS includes outdated features
- There is limited customization on your current CMS
- You want to scale your content distribution options
It's important to differentiate between a CMS migration and a website redesign. A website redesign focuses on enhancing the visual appeal and engagement of the site, but a CMS migration entails a deeper consideration of website management's essential features, functionality, and context.
Through a CMS migration, you can improve the website's design, increase content output, and optimize your site’s core functionalities and features, resulting in a better overall experience for both your site administrators and your users.
Workhuman’s editorial and development teams needed a tool with more consistency and flexibility going forward, which is why we were migrating to Contentful.
We borrowed our process from migrations we’ve done in the past, which typically consist of extracting data from the source system, transforming them, and loading them as needed into the new platform.
This specific migration was about getting this data from their previous CMS. In this case, it was WordPress and Uberflip, and putting it on Contentful. We didn’t know much about Uberflip before we started this project, so we had some learning to do!
We also learned there was a LOT of data to migrate:
- 1.5K news and blog posts in WordPress
- 3.5k posts and resources in Uberflip
- 3.5k files in WordPress
Based on the volume, we landed on a programmatic approach which typically works like this:
We discovered about halfway through the programmatic migration that not everything we needed was being extracted from WordPress and adjusted accordingly. We were consistently evaluating the information we had to best meet our goals and the reality of the data.
The Sheer Volume
We didn’t need everything that was in WordPress and Uberflip. We only needed a subset of that data, though we didn’t know exactly what part yet. One of the largest pieces of any migration is understanding what is in the source system. Unfortunately, it can’t be done before the project begins; we need to be inside to see. We started with a HUGE list of content, but not all of that was actually valuable, so we narrowed it down and worked with the client to migrate what was necessary.
The Feature Set
Consistency in output makes for a more consistent front-end experience for the user. Of course, consistency is essential, but when platforms change, so do the features available to content editors.
This can feel like we’re taking away features that the content team previously had. For example, WordPress allowed editors to add HTML and shortcodes to pieces of content, bypassing design, but that feature wasn’t available on Contentful. This makes sense when you view content as data because developers can output that data in many formats, but it also means that Adapt had to work with the Workhuman team to model the content correctly in Contentful so that editors aren't losing features and the end goal is clear: a consistently branded frontend experience
We want our clients to have all of the features they need, but in a system that can be controlled to keep the design consistent, ultimately making their lives easier.
Changes between platforms are felt acutely during migration, and clear communication with the Workhuman team was essential for this project to be a success.
A new website powered by Contentful! This summer, Workhuman will launch its new site on a headless CMS that will make deploying content on any digital platform easier than ever!