Migration isn’t always fun. Someone who has undergone a comparatively rigorous one will know its unpleasantness. Apart from the novelty and excitement of having a new environment to work, all the rest of the moving process tends to be quite tiresome.
When it comes to your data, the migration is for all intents and purposes, the data equivalent of moving a house. This is a very big task and if not executed with utmost care, it can make the lives of the users quite difficult for some time. The goal of this article is to convey the importance of planning and effective management of your SharePoint migration.
Too often businesses shine over the collaborative planning and the data auditing steps of the digital transformation initiatives and put their core focus on the implementation. Though implementation is very important it is the careful preparation that makes the implementation sustainable.
This implementation stage is greatly visible as it uses new tools in the hands of employees and can have a great impact on the daily works across the company. And this is where all the problems arise, that needs to be handled quickly, to assure the flow of business remains uninterrupted as the data moves from the traditional systems to the new unified environment.
The implementation should be completed in two phases- an initial pilot test and then followed by a broad deployment.
Start small to test the technology
Before moving everything to the new platform, it is advisable to start with a small subset of users and data in a pilot phase. This gives an opportunity to review the rules and policies agreed during the planning phase and find out any obstacles in the migration process itself.
This is particularly true for transforming to the cloud from an on-premises solution since cloud services might be structured differently than the in-house servers, it requires some extra steps to ensure that data successfully make the move.
Even with careful planning, bringing distinct solutions together as a unified system can bring changes to the initial approach, be it the file structures, governance or user access. Sometimes special coding or the extra services may be required to ensure a smooth migration which needs to be uncovered during the initial pilot phase.
Consider the customer journey
During the pilot phase, it is important to ensure that customer experience is consistent across mobile devices as well as on the PCs. Less than half of the business is preparing for mobile first customers. This is the problem because a lot of users are using handy devices to get the work done and expect a unified experience across a variety of channels.
However, the external customers are not the only focus. The pilot phase is also an opportunity to invite a small set of internal users to try the new solution and report their experience across the variety of channels. Users live in the data every day and can, therefore, provide useful troubleshooting feedback.
During this pilot phase, it is also important to ensure that your Office 365 is set and implemented correctly. This is key for your company to maintain a healthy knowledge ecosystem where it is easy for the users to find and provide relevant content.
Make sure your information architecture is intuitive with a structured taxonomy and standardized workspaces for a positive user experience. It is likewise important to pre-configure certain services for the users to enable quick and simple access to the IT resources.
Solutions such as Aufait’s cloud management can help you set up your Office 365 environment and once you have it set up, ensure that its policies are followed.
Managing the migration
Once the pilot phase is completed and issues are found out and solved the rest of the users and data can be transitioned to new infrastructure. It is always good to take a phased approach during migration instead of migrating all at once together. Do it in various stages so that the users can get used to the new interfaces or the different folder structures.
During the process of migration, always expect the unexpected to happen and be open to the various adjustments as flexibility is the key to ensure the business is not interrupted. Migration is another phase where an experienced partner is invaluable. Certified Microsoft partners have undergone many migrations and have come across all the happenings when it comes to moving the data to the cloud or implementing a hybrid solution. When unexpected issues happen, the certified partners will have a wealth of knowledge and expertise to draw from and the chances of resolving problems very quick are more likely.
Some versions of Sharepoint cannot be directly migrated to the latest version of SharePoint instead pass through multiple intermediate versions. The increase in complexity and functionality of SharePoint also increases risk. Therefore it is recommended that migration should be accomplished by professional SharePoint consultants and developers who can plan and perform a quality migration of the entire solution.