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Why Should We Sync?

When I Hear Sync

Throughout the many years I have been in IT, when I hear the word “Sync” my mind immediately goes to SQL Clustering/Availability Groups based on my background, current job and weekly client discussions – day-to-day practices involving sync. I then immediately jump to the ability to sync local content to the cloud, so we can access it from any device, anywhere.

Sync Reality

Recently the buzz around sync has been heightened; what better time to get the facts and see how it can impact current and future projects? Given all the buzz, I’ve realized that my previous “immediate thoughts” on the word Sync have changed – Now when I hear about Sync, I jump to a question: “Why would I use a synchronization platform over a typical migration lift and shift migration platform? What benefits does it have, if any?” Let’s think about if for a minute!

The ability to do one- and two-way file sync, while validating that the content is accurate and identical between the two destinations, is huge – it allows us to have two completely different content management platforms like file servers and Office 365, or Box and Google in coexistence for a long period of time. While this from a technology perspective be a small feat, think about it what it can do for your end-users.

Change Management
When you have done multiple migration projects, you will see that the focus in most organizations lays on the technology part. Get the data over, and flip the users to the new system, leave the source in read only in case something didn’t go through… that is blueprint for most migration projects I have come across. Why is there no focus on change management? Easy: Organizations often assume that you can actually tell people to adapt, to change their ways, to use the new system with little to no training.

Organizations still have issues with identifying the total cost of ownership of the soft skill cost attached to a technology change. That is exactly why the majority of the implementations of a new system fail or take longer than planned. A sync platform takes that headache completely away. It actually allows you to talk to your end-users, train them, work on their schedule, let them test the new system with the real data… Imagine that, you can design a plan now that has a true chance for success.

More Options for End-Users
As a consultant, I have always been aligned to a specific ecosystem. For most tasks I will suggest my customers to use a Microsoft technology, even when I know it might not be the best tool for that specific task. The reasoning behind it is simple: in most cases the they are already paying for it; it is easier to manage one platform than multiple; having your content in one location just is more convenient, etc.

But here as well, times are changing. My customers are more and more asking for the best tool for the job, not the one that is most convenient. Quality and efficiency are in high demand. Using a synchronization platform allows me to be best consultant that I can be without being limited to one ecosystem.

Final Thought

I want to end with this… while synchronization platforms are the future of the content integration and migration, we also need to realize that it is not a silver bullet. It is what it is: a platform to synchronize content between two or more systems. Each system is different, with its own specification, and that is why the best content integration platforms have a remediation feature in place. This is a way to automatically convert content and its metadata to something that is acceptable for the destination. One thing that is still lacking is identifying which content needs to be synchronized. Identifying DORT (duplicate, obsolete, redundant and trivial) content is crucial and still today a manual action. Maybe this is something synchronization platform vendors should think about when planning their next feature release?

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