So you’ve “called the movers” and are set to migrate vendors. Now what? Well, what’s one of the first things you do when the decision has been made to buy a new home and “call in the movers”? No, not steal as many empty boxes as you can from work. You start to clear out the junk! Why would you pay to move it then have to deal with it in your brand-new home? Much like that old VCR and VHS box set of the entire MacGyver series, it’s time to remove the stuff that you no longer need in preparation for your big move.

At TCDI, a core tool of Lean Six Sigma and our Defensible Process Management (DPM) program is the 5S system. We use the 5S’s for organizing spaces so work can be performed efficiently and effectively. This system focuses on putting everything where it belongs and keeping the workspace clean, which makes it easier for people to do their job without wasting time. It raises product quality and improves work productivity, resulting in lower costs and higher efficiencies.

If timing permits, utilizing the 5S’s prior to making such a huge undertaking as a migration can save money, time and allow for a nice clean start with a new vendor. If  timing doesn’t allow prior to  your migration make it one of the first priorities after the dust settles and before the status quo sets in. Here is a brief overview of the 5S process:


This is often referred to as cataloging in the data world. When in doubt move it out, which could involve archiving databases, hardware, records, fields, review templates, or even users. The objective is to identify everything that can be removed or no longer needs to be retained, which in turn will help to remove clutter from your new working environment. Start by asking the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of this data, file, or document?
  • Who uses it and for what?
  • How frequently is it used?
  • When was it last used?

Set in Order

During this process, there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. For example, the objective could be to evaluate your current standard database structure and use the migration as an opportunity to create a working environment that is sustainable for current and future litigation needs. Start by asking the following questions:

  • Who uses what data?
  • When is the data used?
  • Which data is used most frequently?
  • Where would it be most logical to place the
    • Would some placements be more accessible
      for people than others?
    • Would some placements reduce
      unnecessary searching?
  • Are storage containers or directories necessary
    to keep things organized?
  • Are all the fields needed?


Create the rules, follow and enforce them. Standardize is all about maintaining your new eDiscovery structure. The objective is to create the rules for setting up new databases/workspaces, fields, indexes, users admin etc. Document them and build in governance for adherence. A lot of hard work has gone undone due to the lack of standardization and documentation.


This is a key part of daily work and that should become habit with standardization and consistency. Sustain is about making the 5S’s part of your culture. Things stay a particular way because people know it as the norm. However, we are talking about people – humans. Things tend to get out of control over time and if not implemented properly you can find yourself having to apply the 5S’s again and again.

This process is only as good as all of the 5S’s are implemented. The objective is to develop and provide training for everyone that will interact with your new environment. Develop an audit schedule to check in on key processes to make sure there in check. Create a process for exceptions. Instances will occur that do not fit in your new processes. An escalation path for this needs to be defined in advance.

Closing Thoughts

Much like moving houses, transitioning your data and workflows to a new vendor can be made easier with the right tools and partner. The 5S methodology is just one of many ways to make your vendor migration less stressful, better organized and well documented. Who knows, with the time you save you might just have an opportunity to sell those MacGyver tapes on eBay and binge watch on Netflix.