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September 8, 2020

Will it blend? Legacy content and digital transformation

Your digital transformation is underway! You have a plan for new content, new delivery, and new content experiences. But what do you do with all of that existing content? You may have a plan for actively maintained content, but you also have much older legacy content. What does your conversion strategy look like when you have very old documents and must continue to provide them, even if they are not changing?

stacks of old books with distressed covers and pagesIf you don’t already have one, you should first develop a sunsetting plan for your content. Such a plan eases some of the decision-making around legacy content. Make sure that your plan begins after all maintenance on the content ceases, and that it takes into account user, market, and legal requirements for providing the content.

Legacy content nearing the end of that plan may not require any additional handling. Those who need it should have it. It may be safe to archive the content and provide it only when asked.

Legacy content earlier in the sunsetting plan requires careful consideration. In some cases, the only copies available might be old PDFs or hard copies (or scans thereof). If this content has a long lifespan, consider if it should be converted to a new format or whether doing so would be disruptive to its use. For example, does your Support department need to cite page or line numbers in the content when fielding customer questions?

If conversion would not be disruptive, then there are two final factors to consider:

  • Is there a user or company benefit to converting the legacy content?
  • Is the cost of converting the content justifiable?

The answers to many of these questions surrounding legacy content may not be straightforward. You may need to consult with a variety of parties (product managers, your legal department, your support department, customers, others) to formulate a plan. If it feels daunting, we can help.