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Case Study: Navigating Slack Workspace Data Migrations with 21b

If you've been around the Slack block for a while, chances are you've either been part of or heard of a Slack migration between instances. Perhaps you're currently contemplating such a migration. Whether it's due to a company acquisition or needing to move historical data, these migrations are fairly common. In a previous post, I dug into Enterprise Grid data migrations. In this article, we'll delve into something a little different - several scenarios where companies needed to manually export and import data between workspaces. We'll highlight how we assisted in navigating through these challenging projects successfully in each.

Slack Workspace Migrations

1️⃣ Growth marketing firm acquires data intelligence and analytics company

In this instance, the company sought our assistance in transferring a select group of channels, each with limited history, from an original workspace to a target workspace managed by the acquiring company. The objective was for the team to exclusively utilize the single target workspace moving forward. With a focus solely on channel migration and a restricted dataset (approximately one year), the task was relatively straightforward. Within a span of two weeks, we successfully executed the project.

2️⃣ Advertising agency acquires marketing and media firm

In this particular scenario, two large companies were in the process of merging, entailing a substantial volume of data to be transferred and numerous considerations to be addressed. Unlike the previous example, where only a subset of crucial channels was moved, the objective here was to migrate "everything" – encompassing public and private channels, direct messages, and multi-person direct messages – dating back to the inception of the workspace, spanning over a decade of data. As you can imagine, this presented a far more complex challenge, requiring close collaboration with the team to devise an optimal process for slicing and migrating the data with minimal disruption to both sides. We achieved success by conducting bulk imports over a weekend, followed by subsequent follow-ups on weekday evenings, and a delta migration the following weekend. This approach proved effective, and within just over a month, the project was successfully concluded. Notably, for the second import, we provided comprehensive instructions to the Slack admin of the workspace, enabling them to complete the import independently without encountering any issues, thanks to our meticulous prework and testing.

3️⃣ Two Shopify service partners merging to create a new company

Here's a scenario that differs slightly from the previous two: our aim was to consolidate two workspaces into a new third workspace. Similar to scenario 1️⃣, we weren't looking at migrating everything, but instead focused on specific items from each workspace, particularly client-related components like ongoing project channels. What made this project unique was our direct collaboration with the technical teams from both companies. We helped them streamline file processing to optimize the import and offered continuous support throughout the process to make their lives easier.

4️⃣ Company needs to remove a workspace from Enterprise Grid

While less common, there are instances where a workspace and its associated data must be exported from an Enterprise Grid workspace to a workspace outside of the grid (commonly referred to as a divestiture). A recent project we undertook involved a company that had imported two workspaces into the grid, only to realize later that one of them should not be there and actually introduced all sorts of privacy and security issues. It then became imperative to swiftly "remove" this workspace from the grid. In an emergency response, we mobilized our team over a single weekend to guide the company through the export and import process, recreating the migrated workspace outside of the grid. Despite the urgency of the situation, we managed to execute the project within just a few days.

5️⃣ Parent company with multiple subsidiaries looking to merge into one for long term management and cost savings

Here's another scenario we frequently encounter, which builds upon the previous discussion: Imagine a parent company finally taking stock of the various Slack workspaces their subsidiary companies have set up and are using (mostly driven by cost considerations). Now, they're on a mission to streamline and consolidate. There's a myriad of strategies and ideas to ensure success in this endeavor, and that's where we step in with our clients. We delve into the specifics, discuss approaches in depth, address questions, and tailor solutions according to their unique company setup, team dynamics, and workspace requirements. It's important to emphasize that there's no one-size-fits-all solution for such requests – it all boils down to the intricacies of each case.

6️⃣ Company accidentally sets retention policy that wipes channel history clean in a workspace

Lastly, here's an extremely rare scenario to consider: a company had previously migrated a workspace into the grid and after implementing retention policies within the grid, certain historical data was inadvertently wiped out. Oops! The task at hand was to recover this deleted history and reintegrate it into the grid. That's where our expertise came into play. We initiated the process by exporting the necessary historical data, importing it into a workspace, and subsequently migrating it back into the grid. With this data restored, they could effortlessly transfer the channels containing the correct history to the appropriate workspace with the accurate retention policy, and then remove the old channels containing the erroneous data. Problem solved!


We handle these migrations day in and day out, and we're always in conversation with people who have fascinating reasons for shuffling data between workspaces. Each situation has its own quirks, but rest assured, we're equipped to assist regardless. If you're eager to streamline things for yourself and your team, don't hesitate to reach out. Let's chat about how we can make your life easier and get this sorted sooner rather than later - saving you time, money and probably some frustration.


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