Important Things to Keep in Mind When Migrating to Office 365
Number of organizations nowadays are looking forward to move to the Cloud that includes the SharePoint clients. Microsoft is delivering the Office 365 advantages to its customers and many are finding its wealth of features provide good argument to either entirely move from existing ‘On Premises’ solution or create hybrid environment that leverages both the benefits from on-prem and the cloud.
There are numerous advantages of using Cloud platform such as flexible functionality, ongoing cost and lower start up, ease of maintenance etc. Still cloud migration is not always easy to do when it is related to SharePoint. Many organizations are continuing with SharePoint systems that includes large content and customization. Not all these customizations work in Cloud, also content migration needs great deal of proper strategy and thought.
Migrating to Cloud can be a Complicated Process
Moving to cloud is quiet a difficult process and it shouldn’t be take on in a light way. Here are some question that you should be able to answer in a positive way for O365 migration to test if the company is ready or not.
Ques 1. Have you audited the current system?
An audit of current implementation contains two things:
Audit your content – In this, you need to see which content is valid and which is required for migration? Take this opportunity to archive or delete content which no longer needed in the new system.
Audit functionality – Which custom functionality should be migrated existing in SharePoint system. Take a look at all the options such as farm solutions, custom workflows in SharePoint Designer, custom site template built using browser etc. Office 365 provide new features and functionality that can replace custom functionality completely over and over again. After this, the system will become ready to use Office 365 built-in functions as much as possible.
Ques 2. Have you audited custom code?
From many years, it is expected that lot of custom code is set up to SharePoint farm. If a system has been running for a while then you are not aware of its customizations and who designed them. It is crucial to know that all customizations can be moved to Office 365. For e.g. full trust farm solutions are not supported. Moreover, you realize that some customizations are not required anymore or underlying business requirement has changed. Therefore a re-design is necessary anyway.
Analysing the customization manually takes a lot of time. So, SPCAF Migration Tool is available which provides the detailed report about customizations in your farm in few seconds. It helps to understand what they currently do and guides you accordingly to migrate them to app model!
Ques 3. Have you thought properly about content migration?
When you know which content you want to migrate, then you have answer the question: How will you migrate that content?
Office 365 offers Explorer View that enables to open SharePoint library in Windows Explorer. It is suitable for small migrations but still behind in certain key functionality such as metadata and incremental migrations.
3rd party tool like O365 backup & restore can also help to migrate content to Office 365. Also, there are other tools available for multiple platforms such as Zimbra to O365, OLM to O365, Thunderbird to O365, Lotus Notes to O365 and many more. You can choose the required one and move content to Office 365.
Ques 4. Have you thought about long term maintenance of new solution?
The implementation of new solution in O365 is a worthy moment to not only think about the migration but also think about the future:
How content is going to be retained? Will there be any team or Intranet Manager that can help in managing the content?
How customizations is going to be retained? And SPCAF can help in analysing custom apps and sandboxed solutions deployed to O365 and provide complete reports about code quality, maintainability and dependencies.
Ques 5. Have you talked to your users?
Users of the SharePoint system are the most important people in migration project. By arranging workshops with key users, their thoughts about current and new solution can be understood fully. The content and current functionality can be discussed and benefits of O365 new functionality can be demonstrated.
In this way users feel engaged that helps in increasing the popularity of new implementation. Generally it would be a good idea to keep everyone in a loop in organization as much as possible. Instead of just sending emails, it can be done by organising presentations, workshops, demo etc. And people are a key or means to good migration.
Preparation is Key
Executing the migration can be complicated and difficult for a user and needs appropriate preparation. If you are not prepared for the same, then there are possibilities that you might face a failure. Quickly analyse the customizations and content, later inform and discuss about migration with users and accordingly plan a migration strategy. Also do not forget to update your users regularly. People in general do not like changes, so by informing them about changes they will feel more involved and engaged.
Here are some facts which need to remember when performing the cloud migration. Also, there are users who are searching a way that can help in exporting PST file to O365.