Migrating legacy document management systems to SharePoint


Many organisations jumped into document management systems (DMS), such as iManage, to organise, store, and manage organisational information. But whilst it worked for a decade or so, the move to a more robust office productivity platform in the form of Microsoft 365 has caused many organisations to leverage the power of proven content and collaboration platform SharePoint Online for their DMS.

If you are exploring migrating your legacy content from iManage to SharePoint Online, then this blog is for you. We share our experience solving this kind of business challenge with our homegrown solution hoping to help other organisations in a similar situation.


The Business Problem: Migrating documents from iManage to SharePoint

One of our clients had ten years’ worth of data stored in iManage that needed to migrate to SharePoint. Unlike most straightforward file migrations we have dealt with, this one was interesting. Their actual files were stored in a file share, but the metadata was sitting in various databases in SQL Server.  


The Solution: Custom migration scripts  

The approach we took was creating a SQL Server query that would analyse the files on the SQL Server tables and dig out important document information such as metadata, document ID, document versions, document history, etc. Once the SQL Query could make a list of the documents’ actual positioning, we implemented a PowerShell script that used the initial SQL Server script. It reads the SQL Server script, gets the files from the file share servers, including the metadata from the SQL query, then uploads it into the SharePoint site.



The result is an accurate migration of all our client’s files along with the mapping for its metadata. The successful migration resulted in:

  1. Improved user experience. Compared to iManage, SharePoint provides a richer user experience with a one-stop-shop space with their files embedded in their SharePoint portal and connected to Microsoft Teams.
  2. Preservation of valuable metadata. Our custom migration scripts enabled the client to keep vital metadata about their documents while moving to a more modern and scalable solution.

We hope this helps anyone trying to migrate their legacy DMS to SharePoint. Contact us if you need further assistance.

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