Self-Service #SharePoint Migrations - Empowering Site Owners to Move Their Own Content

With the release of SharePoint 2013, it’s no secret that more and more customers are considering how to get their legacy SharePoint content, Windows file shares or Exchange public folders to the new version. Increasingly, customers are coming to Dell for help with their SharePoint migration because native tools are very limited (we just wrote a tech brief about this topic).


Typically, migrations are performed by IT or an outside consultant because they are complex projects that must be carefully planned and executed. After all, SharePoint migrations are not just about pushing content from point A to point B. They provide the opportunity to clean up your current environment, establish a sound governance strategy, and then efficiently reorganize or restructure your environment during the move. For many organizations, this requires involvement from IT or consultants who specialize in these projects.


But another trend we’re seeing is customers who want to employ a self-service migration—a “migration factory” approach if you will—by empowering certain site owners to move their own content during the project. You would assume that this use case is prevalent only with small customers with lean IT staffs, and that is certainly true. But we’re also seeing this from enterprise customers, including just recently from one of the leading cell phone service providers.


There are pros and cons to this type of self-service approach, and many factors that will go into which approach you will want to take, including:


  1. How do you use SharePoint?
  2. What IT resources (with SharePoint experience) do you have internally?
  3. What is your migration budget?


If you are a small company, or even a small department within your organization where IT support is not readily available, self-service can be a practical and cost-effective solution. But it can also be a useful approach for enterprise customers who want to let the content owners, who know what is on their sites, perform the migration themselves. This frees IT resources to focus on the overall project planning and strategy, as well as moving content and sites that are shared by multiple groups or need to be managed carefully for any variety of reasons.


What tools are available for self-service migrations?


Native tools are not going to get the job done, since users must have elevated permission levels to use the native export and import commands.


Dell Migration Suite for SharePoint, on the other hand, is fully security trimmed, as it relies on the SharePoint security model for user authorization purposes. The user is permitted to access and modify sites and data sources according to his/her existing SharePoint, file system and Exchange permissions. Privileged administrative permissions are not required to use Migration Suite.


Furthermore, IT can rest easy knowing that Migration Suite will deliver consistent results, regardless of who’s performing the migration. It’s an easy-to-use interface, enabling users to migrate all of their legacy content with zero impact on systems and users while ensuring data, workflows, permissions, metadata, security and settings carry forward for business continuity.Not only can Migration Suite help site owners retain existing core properties (created/modified at and created/modified by), but they can also:


  • Assign migrated items to a specific content type
  • Add metadata to items as they migrate
  • Assign new metadata values
  • Convert unmanaged, unstructured metadata into centrally-managed term set


Other tools on the market need to be installed directly on the server, requiring administrative permissions, and therefore do not support this self-service migration approach.




The decision on what approach to take is all yours. You could have an entirely IT-driven migration, a self-service approach, or a combination of the two. But the important thing is that you have a tool that gives you the flexibility to handle any approach you take!