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Migrating Your Organisation to the Cloud: Best Practices and Advice from the Field

Andrew Watts

Editor’s Note: Law In Order is an Australia-based company, so Andrew (a native Australian himself) has used Australian English spelling throughout this post.

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a shift in the questions our customers are asking. No longer are organisations pondering whether to move to the cloud, they’re now thinking about when and how to move to the cloud.

These are some of my favourite questions to answer because I’ve seen first-hand how transitioning to cloud-based legal technology can change a business’s trajectory.

Since we launched Migrate for Relativity Server in 2021, we’ve helped over 50 organisations make their transition to the cloud. That's over 100 TB of data that Migrate has helped move. In doing so, we've also developed an expertise in helping organisations with 80 TBs or more seamlessly move to the cloud. We’re able to Migrate entire workspaces from Relativity Server to RelativityOne in just a few hours, with aims to continuously make this faster.

And once these migrations are complete, our clients have gotten to unlock the power of being in the cloud, with industry-leading security, continuous innovation, and the ability to scale to meet any-sized case needs. Our clients also get to take advantage of our cloud-native technology, like Automated Workflows and Redact.

I wanted to share some tried and true advice on how to kick off your organisation’s cloud migration so that you can unlock the power of the cloud.

Asking the right questions

Before you begin planning for your migrations, it’s imperative that you take inventory of all the things you don’t know.

That’s why asking questions—and the right questions at that—is the perfect first step in your migration journey.

Below are a few questions that I have noticed work well for clients. Of course, every organisation is different, so you’ll find that developing a list of bespoke questions tailored to your circumstances will help you look at your transition comprehensively:

  •  Are you planning on migrating entirely to the cloud, or do you plan to operate a hybrid solution?
    • Understanding the end state is critical in order to deliver on the customers goals post-migration.
  • What type of workspaces and use cases are you currently running in your existing solution? 
    • Relativity allows customers to leverage differently priced storage tiers to optimise the value of your subscription.  
  • Do you have a team internally to run the migration project?  
    • Relativity's implementations team is set up to enable customers to leverage our suite of tools (if self-service is your preferred approach) or connect you with our ecosystem of migration partners.
  • What external factors may impact your migration and who are the key stakeholders?

A migration involves various business area, may impact on your own suppliers and supply agreements and, critically, your own customers and end users. Engaging stakeholders early and identifying and addressing concerns or roadblocks beforehand avoids surprises during the migration.

Best practices during your migrations

Each migration is unique, but there are a few things my team and I have learned to help make the process successful.

  • Technical setup: Start preparation early with your migration team, and if you're migrating to RelativityOne, engage your Relativity Migration Specialist. Ensure you are aware of the migration requirements and work with your IT and networking teams to ensure the right applications are configured.
  • Inventory: Performing an inventory of your data is essential to know what you have (including legacy tools) and where it needs to go. Your Relativity Migration Specialist can provide guidance in this area.
  • Testing: Pre-flight testing is a critical part of the migration process to ensure effective planning and minimal downtime for your customers. Ideally, you should begin testing 3-4 weeks before you're ready to migrate. Make sure that you include all the teams that you're planning to involve in the migration, so that everyone has a chance to troubleshoot potential problems.
  • Migration planner: Preparing a schedule of when projects and data will be migrated is key to ensure an efficient and timely migration. Some projects may require additional planning and time, while others are flexible in timing. Lining up your data and projects ensures a continuous stream of migrations to get to your end goal faster. But do allow for contingencies.

The bottom line? The more planning that you can do before you begin your migration, the smoother your migration will run.

Advice from the field

Our most recent Server-to-cloud migration with Australia-based e-discovery service provider Law In Order is a great example of a successful migration in action.

The Challenge

Law In Order signed a contract for RelativityOne in September 2021, with a goal to fully deprecate their Server footprint and move all their cases to the cloud in three months. The Relativity team needed to partner with the Law In Order team of 20 consultants on best practices to migrate nearly 200 active cases in under 80 days.

The Solution

By using a combination of powerful technology and teamwork, Relativity collaborated with the Law In Order team to achieve their goals. On the Relativity side, we used our suite of data transfer tools, including Migrate for Relativity Server, and a cross-functional team of migration experts across our customer group to provide solutions to ensure continuity, stability, and high throughput. The Relativity team and the Law In Order team communicated regularly on progress and troubleshooted problems as they came up. All of this happened in parallel with implementation sessions on all of RelativityOne’s features and functionality. This process ensures the Law In Order team has the right skill set to start using RelativityOne effectively right away. 

Our implementation team provided a series of tailored workshop sessions to Law In Order, as we do for all RelativityOne customers.

The Result

Together, Law In Order and Relativity's service delivery team migrated all of Law In Order’s cases, over 80 TB of data, to repository, cold storage, and review workspaces in RelativityOne in under 80 days, and the Law In Order team was able to start taking advantage of the cloud at the end of December 2021.

Henning Ehlers, head of consulting at Law In Order, said, “collaborating with the Relativity team made our migration go incredibly smoothly. We are so happy with the ease and speed of migration. We also had a number of bespoke solutions in our projects, but the Relativity team developed and provided us with custom solutions to address those challenging cases. Leveraging the cloud is going to allow us to save so much in overhead costs while also taking on more cases.”

If you find yourself considering a transition to the cloud, the Relativity team is here to help you with any of your data migration needs. As a RelativityOne customer, you’ll get full access to our technical, product, and strategic experts. They will help you do less guesswork and more real work. You’re welcome to connect with us or read more about how migration works.

2021 Data Discovery Legal Year in Review

Andrew Watts is chief customer officer at Relativity. He joined the company in 2016 as vice president of information technology to oversee the IT department comprising of three groups: applications, infrastructure, and project management. He has more than 20 years of experience in IT.