SharePoint Online acts as a central hub for businesses to manage and share documents, files, and information related to various projects & tasks.
In fact, around 85% of Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint Online as part of Office 365, globally[i]. Its tools and features enable content management, version control, and integration with other Microsoft Office applications.
This cloud-based platform is commonly used as an intranet, document management system, and a space for building custom web applications.
Moreover, migrating to a cloud platform like SharePoint Online from on-premise can streamline operations, enhance scalability & security, and reduce costs. Additionally, it empowers businesses to enable scalability, foster collaboration, centralize content, enhance analytics, and automate processes.
However, to migrate smoothly to SharePoint Online, businesses need to develop a comprehensive migration strategy. They should also use migration tools and solutions, designed to simplify the process.
In this blog post, we’ll delve deep into the best practices and tips for migrating to SharePoint Online successfully. However, before that, let’s take a look at the challenges that businesses face while migrating to SharePoint Online.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Challenges Faced While Migrating to SharePoint Online
1. Data Mapping and Classification: This challenge involves identifying and categorizing existing data correctly. It can be tricky to determine which data should be moved, archived, or deleted, especially in large, unstructured datasets.
2. Data Cleanliness: Poor data quality, including duplicates, outdated, or inconsistent data, can make migration complex. However, cleaning and preparing data for migration is often a time-consuming task.
3. Customization and Workflows: Businesses heavily customize their existing on-premise environment with custom code, scripts, or complex workflows. Moving these customizations to a new environment can be challenging and may require redevelopment.
4. Permissions and Security: Ensuring that you have the right access permissions in the new SharePoint Online environment is crucial for data security. Here, accurately mapping and replicating permissions can be complex.
5. User Training and Adoption: Migrating to a new SharePoint Online environment may require you to learn new features and functions. Here, ensuring smooth adoption and providing training can be a significant challenge.
6. Content Reorganization: Businesses may want to reorganize their content structure during migration. Deciding on the new structure and moving content accordingly can be complex.
7. Metadata Preservation: Metadata, such as tags and attributes, must be maintained during migration for accurate document retrieval and classification. However, preserving metadata during the migration can be challenging.
8. Downtime and Business Continuity: Minimizing downtime during migration is crucial for business continuity. Thus, it’s important to plan for maintenance windows or off-peak times to overcome this challenge.
9. Testing and Validation: Rigorous testing of the migration process is essential to identify and resolve issues before they affect the production environment. This includes validating data, permissions, and workflows.
10. Data Volume: Large data volumes can lead to extended migration times and potential performance problems. Therefore, optimizing your migration process for speed and efficiency is necessary.
11. Cost Management: Managing your migration costs, including licensing, infrastructure, and personnel is vital to prevent budget overruns.
12. Regulatory Compliance: Ensuring that your data remains compliant with regulations and company policies after migration is challenging and requires constant consideration.
13. Change Management: Communicating changes to your team and gaining their support is essential. Resistance to change from your employees can act as a hindrance to productivity.
14. Backup and Recovery: Having a robust backup and recovery plan in case of data loss or unforeseen issues during migration is crucial for maintaining data integrity.
Best Practices for Ensuring Successful SharePoint Online Migration
You can prepare for a seamless SharePoint Online migration by creating a detailed strategy. This will minimize errors, reduce downtime, and ensure a smooth project delivery. The following steps will help you through the process.
1. Target a Modern Workspace: SharePoint Online provides a more modern and feature-rich user experience compared to SharePoint Server. It includes features like improved menu navigation, enhanced intranet capabilities, versatile web parts, and seamless external access & sharing enhancements.
Additionally, SharePoint Online integrates well with other Microsoft 365 tools like Teams and OneDrive, reducing the need to switch between applications.
2. Leverage Microsoft Partners & Community: Migrating to the cloud can seem daunting, but it becomes manageable when you leverage the latest tools and resources. Here, you can use tools offered by Microsoft like the SharePoint Migration Assessment Toolkit (SMAT) and Mover to simplify the migration process.
Additionally, you can benefit from third-party partners and the SharePoint community for guidance and support. Staying informed about updates on the migration tools will ensure that you’re using the latest and most effective solutions throughout.
3. Migrate in Phases: Migrating all your data at once can be overwhelming and may lead to errors. Prioritize your data based on its importance and relevance to your business. Evaluate the data thoroughly and plan the migration process accordingly. You can conduct the migration in manageable batches, monitoring each batch to ensure a successful transition. Additionally, avoid migrating unnecessary or obsolete data as it can add complexity and unnecessary migration costs.
Furthermore, seamless navigation is vital during migration, with users often struggling to transition between portals. An enhanced user experience ensures effortless access to Teams, sites, communities, and resources across various environments.
4. Migration and Optimization Should be Distinguished: During the SharePoint Online migration process, it’s crucial not to neglect the optimization of your new SharePoint environment. Ensure your workspaces are optimized for continuous & effortless navigation and accessibility.
Also, consider restructuring your data during migration by flattening structures based on hierarchy. Here, creating modern containers as migration destinations can reduce the need for post-migration rebuilding, saving time and effort.
5. Manage Sprawl as Soon as Possible: After migrating, it’s crucial to prevent data sprawl by implementing effective governance measures. Without proper governance, your data can become unmanageable. Simplify navigation for end-users by creating a user-friendly directory that helps them quickly find specific Teams and documents. You can leverage different tools like AvePoint’s MyHub and Cloud Governance to maintain a structured and organized environment, preventing the chaos of data sprawl.
Ultimate SharePoint Online Migration Checklist
1. Take Inventory of Your On-Premise Data: Begin by conducting a thorough audit of your existing environment, including its type, content, and structure.
2. Clean Up Your Environment: Once you have a clear inventory, eliminate redundant, unused, or outdated data. Focus on migrating only what’s necessary to create an efficient and streamlined environment.
3. Get Your New Environment Ready: Prepare the destination environment for migration. Plan and structure the information architecture to align with your organization’s needs. Here, you’ll have to develop a clear SharePoint management plan on how the platform will be utilized.
4. Prepare Your Users: User training and communication are crucial for successful adoption. So, ensure that your users understand the benefits of the migration and provide them with adequate training and support resources.
5. Start Your Migration: Begin the migration process while closely monitoring its progress. Address any issues that may arise during the process, and use automated migration reports to ensure a smooth transition.
6. Post-Migration: After the migration is complete, thoroughly test the new environment to confirm the success of the migration. Here, you should perform a post-migration check to identify and resolve any remaining issues.
Understanding the necessity of a well-defined migration strategy is key for a seamless transition to SharePoint Online. Thoughtfully plan and execute your migration, drawing from proven practices to maximize productivity and ROI.
Ready to Empower Your Digital Workspace With Smooth SharePoint Online Migration? Let’s Talk!
[i] Axio Works
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