“Time is an illusion.”
- Albert Einstein
No one would argue that Albert knew a thing or two about time and space. But for those of us who earn our living by the clock, time can be painfully real. Work, no matter how well compensated or engaging, eats into days when we could be starting/finishing that novel, hiking the Appalachian Trail, joining the Peace Corps, starting a beekeeping operation, or a dozen other dreams delayed. Instead, we feel fortunate to carve out an hour for a soccer game or dance recital. So, in the interest of making your time yours again, here are some best practices for migrating to SharePoint 2016, Office 365 and OneDrive for Business that can help spare you those late nights and frantic weekend calls.
1. Understand Your Business Objectives
“Get everything running on the new version of SharePoint” is not a business objective. Your migration should be driven by specific business value that the new platform can provide. For example: enable greater business agility; drive user productivity; improve communication; manage costs; and drive innovation are all valid business objectives. Consider where you want to be a year after the migration. Picturing yourself achieving your goal is a powerful motivator, whether for sports, business, or just getting out the door before the janitor shows up.
2. Perform a Pre-migration Assessment
Before you start any migration or upgrade, you need to assess your current environment. If you bring over all your existing content without taking time to prune, archive or consolidate, you risk wasting valuable time preserving information that’s no longer needed. Engage your business owners in a dialog throughout the process. It’s not up to IT to determine what is or isn’t relevant; that’s a business decision.
3. Establish Governance Policies for Your Target Environment
It’s important to see governance as a cycle of continuous improvement rather than a single implementation. As such, migration is an opportune time to review your existing governance and decide what to keep or throw away. Be sure to document all relevant policies and procedures, whether broad usage guidelines or tightly restricted policies. Your governance is not going to be perfect at first, but if stakeholders are able to make honest appraisals of their success, they can determine next steps toward improvement.
4. Plan Your Security Strategy
For a migration to Office 365 or SharePoint, you need to preserve user access rights throughout the migration period. It’s critical to see a complete list of users with access, including those granted permissions via Active Directory or SharePoint groups. Armed with this information, you can make sure that only the right people have access to any particular data as you migrate — checking throughout to make sure critical content remains available to those who need it (and no one else).
5. Choose the Right Migration Tool
For a SharePoint migration, native tools are an option only for on-premises upgrades. And if you’re more than one version behind, using native upgrade tools is more trouble than it’s worth. Really, given the availability of feature-rich and reasonably priced migration products, as well as consultants with extensive experience in migration projects, native tools may end up costing you time in the long run. And even if Einstein was right, time is an illusion that has real consequences.
To get all ten steps, download the white paper: Ten Best Practices for Migrating to SharePoint 2016, Office 365 and OneDrive for Business.