Moving to the Cloud – Migration Tools and Considerations for NetDocuments

By Clara Lillig-Wilshire posted 04-03-2017 10:12


You’ve made the decision to migrate to the Cloud.  What comes next?  In this post, I will introduce some different migration tools and considerations when migrating specifically to one leading Cloud platform - NetDocuments.  

NetDocuments offers many native tools that Administrators and standard Users can employ for imports.  Anyone can download these tools from NetDocuments’ Support Site.  Some are more user friendly, and others more technical and better suited for an Administrator.  As an integrator, the tools I’ve most often employed are ndImport and the Folder Import Utility. These are best suited for large migrations from a legacy DMS or a local or network drive.

Administrator Tools

When migrating from a legacy DMS, the Mass Import Tool (ndImport) is the best choice in most cases.  This tool reads from a csv file, which can have as many columns as needed to achieve complete transfer of metadata.  Document level security can be applied by utilizing an Access column.  This tool has the capability to create destination cabinet folders where documents are to be filed as well, if you are not simply relying on the filtering aspects of workspaces.  With ndImport, documents are imported with metadata and security automatically applied.  You can also run differential imports to overwrite previously uploaded documents with newer versions.

When migrating from a network drive, it may be best to use the Folder Import Utility.  This tool can be used to import documents and their existing folder structure into NetDocuments.  It will replicate folder tree structure in NetDocuments Cabinet folders or workspaces.  The first step is to run a Pre-import check to identify any exceptions in the source content.  It is possible to first import the folder structure without documents, assign metadata to folders once they have been imported, and then import the documents to the folders – effectively assigning metadata from the folders to the documents upon import.  You can also filter by date modified, apply the path as a profile attribute and grant basic access.  The tool does have an Incremental mode to mark documents read-only as importing and skip documents marked previously.  You should verify if any existing content is already read-only before you start importing. 

User Friendly Tools

Both the Mass Import Tool and the Folder Import Utility may have elements that could be too technical for a standard user.  There are a variety of less technical options available for importing as well.  For day to day imports, there are a few options users can employ:

  • Copy and paste into the upload window in the NetDocuments browser
  • Drag and Drop documents to the upload window
  • Enable the Auto Import Folder
  • ndSync

The Auto Import Folder allows users an easy method to upload locally saved documents.  This tool is often used in conjunction with a scanning device, or for working offline.  Documents can be filed directly to this local folder, and will be automatically uploaded according to user specifications.  If, for example, you are travelling and unable to access the internet, you can work offline and save anything needing to be imported to this folder.  When you are back online, your documents will automatically be saved into NetDocuments.  This feature also provides a method for importing from non-integrated applications.

ndSync is a tool that can be utilized to support mobility or users who want to bring their own device to work.  It is a common choice for Mac users.  This tool syncs a local folder with a folder in NetDocuments.  Unlike the Auto Import Folder, which simply pushes documents into NetDocuments, ndSync is bidirectional.  Documents saved in either location will be available and saved in both locations.  Unlike the Auto Import Folder, you need to define the folder(s) to sync.  This feature must be enabled by a Repository Administrator.

Needless to say, NetDocuments provides many ways for documents to be uploaded.  Once you familiarize yourself with the DMS, it is very user friendly and intuitive.