3 Critical Prep Steps for SharePoint to Office 365 Migration

sharepoint to office 365 migrationMicrosoft’s heavy cloud push is prompting many companies to evaluate SharePoint to Office 365 migration.  However, most IT teams aren’t aware of how much preparation work must be done in order to ready their current state SharePoint environment for the cloud.

SharePoint to Office 365 Migration Starts with Content

Analysts estimate that, on average, most organizations have been through three versions of SharePoint on-premises in the 14 years since the product’s introduction.  In many cases, the use of SharePoint began as a “content dumping ground” with minimal governance and user training. Next on the evolutionary path may have been “shared drive” status, and now, full on document repository and collaboration.

A trusty IT companion on this Darwinian journey was the database attach approach that Microsoft recommended.  While it might be easy and efficient, database attach pushes the lack of content quality and other organization problems forward to the next version. Content dysfunction gets worse. For these reasons, most organizations have accumulated an enormous amount of content baggage and structural overhead.  In some cases, we’ve seen content redundancy reach as high as 80%!  To eliminate content redundancy in SharePoint, consider these preparation measures:

  • Investigate Active Directory
    Look for inactive users or defunct user groups.  Determine what content is inactive and remove- leverage archiving tools that can move all inactive content out of the database.
  • Content Classification and Structuring 
    Guide employees through organizing (with taxonomies), classifying useful content (using metadata or tagging) and disposing of outdated content.  Logically structured content can be loosely coupled and hence more portable through the transfer to a new version of SharePoint or any alternative platform.  Essentially, structuring content in this way removes any dependency on the underlying infrastructure.

Given that content is the most valuable asset of SharePoint, its important to have a plan.  Set a goal and dedicate time to reducing SharePoint’s content redundancy by more than 50%.  Don’t fixate on getting it perfect at the start- good enough will work just fine, as long as continuous refinements are part of the SharePoint maintenance process.

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