One conversation our team of consultants often have with clients relates to data migration. Clients are eager to move data to make information easier to find and establish and enforce information governance – but the very idea of moving volumes of information strikes fear in the hearts of many. What if the migration is done incorrectly? What if something goes wrong and the information is lost forever?
We look at migration as critical to any organization that hopes to take better control of information. Moving data from disparate file shares and bringing information into SharePoint offers a number of benefits. The idea of migrating volumes of data to a new repository may seem overwhelming and scary, but the benefits associated with migrating data to SharePoint can't be overlooked.
By bringing data into SharePoint, you can organize information in a way that makes critical data easier to find. You have the ability to establish permissions and governance over business-critical information. And now, with Office 365, having information in SharePoint empowers teams to collaborate, co-author, and enables knowledge workers to be able to easily locate information when they need it. As organizations move file-shares (P: Drive) to SharePoint, they'll discover just how good SharePoint "search" is. With tagging and indexing in SharePoint, you'll find what you are looking for… fast!
Our team of experts understand how to help clients prepare for a migration. There are a few things that an organization can do to ensure that their migration is successful. Here is what we recommend.
Moving volumes of legacy data to a new content management system is a significant undertaking. You can mitigate risks and identify potential barriers by performing a readiness assessment. Kiefer has been refining a project readiness assessment over the last 4 years. You can download it here.
One of the first things you need to do when planning a migration to SharePoint is to determine what data is going to be migrated. By knowing what must be moved, how many files you have, the size of the files, and what content won't be moved is important to fully understand the scope and complexity of the migration.
It's critical you understand how much you are data you are migrating to SharePoint. Once you know how much data you have to move, you'll be able to verify if there is enough storage in SharePoint for your content. SharePoint does have capacity limits which vary based on version. In addition, if you know how much data you are bringing over to SharePoint, you'll also be able to determine how long it will take to move you content into SharePoint.
If most of the documents that your organization has in file shares are Microsoft Office documents, SharePoint is a great content management system. If your files are not of the Office variety, SharePoint may not be the ideal place for your content. It is important to know that certain file extensions can't be saved to SharePoint.
Analogy time… If you were moving out of your home, you might have a yard sale to get rid of the possessions you don't want to pack up and move to the new house. This logic applies to moving data. Be sure that you are only migrating the information that has business value. In SharePoint, you have the power of version control and you can rid yourself of older versions of the same document. Garbage in- Garbage out.
Experience matters. With so much invested in pre-migration planning, you should find a partner to support you in your migration.
In addition to expertise and experience, it's a good idea that your partner have experience with the right tools to help with your migration. We prefer to use ShareGate as a tool to migrate clients to SharePoint. ShareGate is also an excellent option for clients that are looking to move content from SharePoint to a newer version of SharePoint which includes SharePoint 2016 or SharePoint Online (Office 365). We have found that ShareGate is easy to use and its feature set is invaluable at every stage of the migration effort. From pre-migration all the way to post-migration reporting, ShareGate provides us with an effective toolkit when we are helping a client migrate content.
In our next blog, we will discuss the importance of Information Architecture and Information Governance as it relates to migration.