SharePoint Migration Planning

SharePoint Online is the content storage and publishing platform of Office 365. It contains a multitude of features that can improve the way your end users find and work with content, and collaborate with colleagues, external partners and customers.

The best way to get your users to start using SharePoint Online and using the great features it provides, including document version control, document co-authoring and powerful search capabilities, is to migrate their files from their current locations, such as network file shares, cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox and Box or an on premises SharePoint deployment. Migrating content to SharePoint requires a bit of up front planning and is a good time to review what content people, teams and departments have stored and why, especially with increasingly stringent compliance requirements and GDPR.

The main things to consider when migrating to SharePoint Online are:

  • Do you need to migrate all the files you have stored? Can old and unused files be deleted? 
    Migrating files to SharePoint is a great reason to remove all the unrequired files that have built up over the years. Files such as draft and review versions of documents, out of date information or analysis and information relating to past customers or projects that are no longer relevant should be analysed and deleted by content owners as part of the migration preparation stage of the project.
  • Can your files be migrated to SharePoint?
    There are a number of limits that need to be adhered to when migrating files to SharePoint, for example, the maximum file size is 15GB and some characters are not supported (which are not supported in CIFS, Dropbox or Box either). There is also a limit of 400 characters for the file name URL, including tenant domain name, folder names and file name. These files need to found during pre migration analysis and either changed to fit within the limits, or not migrated.
  • How will you architect the SharePoint Online structure?
    Will you use Office 365 Groups or Teams? Will you use Hub sites to group related Team sites together? What metadata need to be applied to files? These questions need to be discussed and an Information Architecture agreed before the migration process can begin.
  • How will you actually migrate your files from your file stores to SharePoint Online?
    There are many ways to copy files to SharePoint, from manually copying files to using a tool to automate the process. The free to use Microsoft SharePoint Migration Tool is an increasingly powerful way to migrate content without the outlay of 3rd party migration tools.
  • How can you keep end users informed and train them to use the new platform?
    Training and adoption for end users is as important as any of the technical tasks required as part of a migration. Having a plan in place to ensure that people know that the change is coming, what they’ll need to do and how it will affect their working practices will prevent push back and confusion when the change happens. Training will allow end users to make the best use of SharePoint Online and the improved feature set over file shares, previous version of SharePoint or cloud based storage solutions.

If you’d like help with answering any or all of the questions above, please contact us.

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