SharePoint Online Migration: 4 Planning Steps

  • By IncWorx Team
  • 04 Oct, 2017

If you’re like many companies looking at migrating some or all of your on-premises SharePoint footprint to SharePoint Online then you undoubtedly have realized it’s not as simple as saying a few magic words and ‘voila’, all your sites and content have been transformed into the cloud.

There are a several planning steps that should be performed to minimize the challenges and headaches post-migration. Let’s go over ‘4 Planning Steps to a Successful SharePoint Online Migration’.

In future blog posts, we’ll dive technically deeper into tools, scripts, or processes that can be used to simplify each step.

Step 1 – Taking Inventory

This means taking inventory of both your users and your content. Before you make plans to move your users and content, it is best to have insight into ‘who’ your users are and what content is relevant or current to move. Your users can be your biggest advocates or evangelists during the transition, so identifying your complete user base is beneficial for 2 reasons. First, you will need to communicate that the changes and migration will be occurring in the future and second, knowing who are the most active users will be key in targeting your advocates.

The other half of taking inventory is just that - taking inventory of your site content. There are various methods to accomplish this; whether you plan use a provided tool or purchase a 3rd party tool to gather the information for you, or instead will write your own custom script or solution (which we’ll cover in detail in an upcoming post) – each option will provide you with some level of detail to determine the following:

  • Who are all the site collection owners?
  • Who are the most active users?
  • How much content is in each site?

Step 2 – Determine Content to Migrate

The last thing that you would want to do is move large amounts of content that can be excluded. Think of this as a great time to do some “spring cleaning”. Taking time to purge stale, duplicate, or expired content has the benefit of speeding up your migration times. Also, depending which tool you select there may be a financial cost associated with the amount of content being migrated.

Either way, get to know your content. If you are unsure whether to move content initially, plan ahead and either export or archive the content for a later decision. Once you have a good overview of the content and the current structure begin evaluating any changes that you may want to make with the content topology. Discussions around changes to the overall content structure or navigation should begin at this point.

Step 3 – User Access and Permissions

Depending on what type of user authentication method you select (full authentication in Office 365 or federating with on-premises AD), creating a plan and process to address all the users and their access is a vital next step.

There are provided tools (aka Microsoft Azure Active Directory Sync) and 3rd party tools which aid in the synchronization of your users from your on-premises AD DS. Additionally, creating your users and their properties directly in Office 365 can be accomplished using either PowerShell or, again, a 3rd party tool.

A key consideration is how to handle ‘orphaned’ users and content they may own. Obviously, now is the time to rectify this situation. We’ll cover the scenario of replacing ‘orphaned’ users and their content in a detailed, upcoming post.

Step 4 – Test Migrations

By now, you should have identified the users, inventoried the content, planned for user access and permissions and are now ready to make an initial ‘test’ migration. Based on your gathered information and feedback from site collection owners, selecting a smaller subset of content to migrate should be simplified.

If you are planning to ‘eat your own dogfood’ first, then less communication and coordination is necessary; however, if you are working with users outside your department you will want to plan the migration times with them, over communicate, and then verify the content post-migration.

While each step towards a successful migration can seem daunting at first, with the correct insight and planning, several of the headaches typically associated with a SharePoint Online migration can be avoided.

The IncWorx SharePoint Consulting Blog

By IncWorx Team 04 Oct, 2017

If you’re like many companies looking at migrating some or all of your on-premises SharePoint footprint to SharePoint Online then you undoubtedly have realized it’s not as simple as saying a few magic words and ‘voila’, all your sites and content have been transformed into the cloud.

There are a several planning steps that should be performed to minimize the challenges and headaches post-migration. Let’s go over ‘4 Planning Steps to a Successful SharePoint Online Migration’.

In future blog posts, we’ll dive technically deeper into tools, scripts, or processes that can be used to simplify each step.

By IncWorx Team 22 Sep, 2017

If you are implementing SharePoint in your organization for the first time, or you are planning to upgrade your current SharePoint environment, you have likely questioned whether to use Office 365 and SharePoint Online versus an on-premises installation of SharePoint Server. To make the decision easier, below are five important factors to consider:

By IncWorx Team 16 Aug, 2017
Learn how to analyze data with SharePoint and Infopath using Power BI or Power Query in this step by step instructional post.
By IncWorx Team 27 Jul, 2017

SharePoint support isn’t only about fixing something that's broken, in fact, it is more about pro-active monitoring, training, development, and demonstrating how to use SharePoint. When you connect with a partner that provides a holistic approach to support, you will see what a big difference it can make. SharePoint Support should be available when you need it most or when you just have a quick question. With the right support your organization can benefit immediately.  Here are 5 major signs you are in need of expert SharePoint support services:

1. Still sending attachments by email? This very popular way of sharing documents, while familiar, is no longer considered a good practice and with SharePoint sharing and collaborating on documents is a powerful core feature, making sending documents by email a thing of the past.

2. Feeling like you’re on an island?  In many organizations there is that one person you can count on to answer your technical questions, but what happens when that person isn’t available or doesn’t exist?

3. Is time really money? when your time is being spent trouble shooting technology or trying to figure out how to use SharePoint what are you gaining? You are valuable for the role you play in your organization, technologies like SharePoint exist to support and increase your value not slow you down.

4. Are you using SharePoint like a shared drive? Similar to sending emails as attachments, using SharePoint like a shared drive also remains popular. Making folders to organize documents is the way things used to get done, with a little training and support the powerful document management capabilities built into SharePoint will take document management and sharing to the next level.

5. How do I...? With any new technology, we all feel a little lost. Grasping the concept of SharePoint can be a challenge, but once you figure it out the opportunities to create value for you, your team and your organization are endless but how do you get there?

By IncWorx Team 27 Jul, 2017

SharePoint is an incredibly powerful tool within the Microsoft stack, that when implemented correctly, can streamline and solve many business problems. The stumbling block that many people run in to is that working with the platform requires a fairly specialized skillset, and a general ‘IT’ background doesn’t necessarily translate in to being able to pick up and learn SharePoint and begin optimizing your entire company right out of the gate. In fact, given the complexities of the platform and the various other Microsoft technologies that it touches, it can take a very very long time to become an expert. If you have all of the time in the world to set aside and learn SharePoint, stop reading, but if you have many other things to do and are looking to accelerate your organization, here are 3 key ways to leverage a SharePoint Consultancy to take things to the next level.


1)    Business Analysis and Roadmapping

As mentioned, SharePoint is a massively complex platform that does so many things that can add value. Think of it as a deluxe Swiss Army knife. The majority of people out there only use the knife (document storage), but don’t use many of the other tools because they’re not 100% certain of how/where to use them. A good SharePoint Consultant can come into your organization and meet with key business units and have non-technical discussions to understand what they do, how they do it, and what they struggle with. This is where the “I know SharePoint does this, but I don’t know how” comes in to play. A consultant can bridge that gap for you and identify key areas that you know are pain points and roadmap a solution. Not only that, they can also identify other areas that SharePoint is REALLY good at, that can empower your team even more and help you understand how to get there.


2)    Regular Care and Feeding

Time is the most valuable thing to most everyone. No one has enough of it, especially not IT people. There are countless things on your plate each and every day and new things that pop up out of nowhere. Given the complexities of SharePoint, it is a machine that will take care of you if you take care of it.  The problem is, taking that daily vitamin is hard to follow through on and remember when you’re running around with your hair on fire every day. Most people get anxiety about wondering when their SharePoint farm is going to break if they don’t have the time to spend on the regular care and feeding.  Unfortunately, this area is really low visibility, and often times falls lower on the priority list than keeping business units happy. Outsource this to someone like an IncWorx SharePoint Consultant, and stop worrying about it - focus on adding value to your business. You will thank us later when you do!


3)    System Consolidation

I have mentioned a few times that SharePoint is really complex, there isn’t enough time in the day, and IT people run around with their hair on fire. One way to take advantage of SharePoint’s massive set of features and functionalities and alleviate the time/stress issues associated with day-to-day IT life is to reduce the number of systems that you’re running in your business. More moving pieces equals more things that can break and more phone calls that you get while you’re on vacation. SharePoint does so many things, if you work with a knowledgeable SharePoint consultant on a consolidation strategy, you will likely identify a number of various systems that can be replicated and replaced by SharePoint using out-of-the-box features and functionality. This means if you work with someone good, and have a really good handle on proper planning, maintenance, and support, you have a singular item to worry about. Essentially, if you follow step 1, implement step 2, and then move to step 3 – your general quality of life as an IT pro will be ridiculously better! P.S. IncWorx SharePoint consultants can help you with all of the above.

By IncWorx Team 21 Jul, 2017

This year, more than any I can remember, we seen an extraordinary amount of headlines like this:

“World’s biggest cyberattack sends countries into ‘disaster recovery mode’”-5/14/17 CNN

Or statistics like this from Steve Morgan, Editor-In-Chief at Cybersecurity Ventures, “Cyber crime damage costs to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021."

If that isn’t enough to send chills up any tech employees spine, I don’t know what is. So what are some best practices?

Use more than one requirement to log on. Sometimes as simple as 2 factor authentication (something you have and something you know) can go a long way.

Secure Tools & Networks
Utilize a tool like SharePoint to share documents. It is much easier and safer to utilize a closed network.
Engage an expert to manage your settings. As simple as this sounds, there are many companies that I have encountered that have capabilities within SharePoint to better secure themselves that either do not know they have them, or do not know how to properly use them.

Keep up to date with any updates or patches that a company like Microsoft puts out. As hackers change their tactics, company gatekeepers need to know what threats are out there.

Make sure your internal staff has the correct credentials. Often times we see SharePoint environments where too many people have admin access and are making changes that shouldn’t occur, making the environment vulnerable. With the correct provisioning, this can easily be avoided.

These are just some basic examples that everyone should be looking at. Unfortunately, in my business I hear far too often that the client either doesn’t have the expertise, or time to run specific checks and patches on a daily basis. If that sounds familiar, I would highly recommend reaching out to IncWorx and scheduling a quick call to see how we can help in any given situation. This is what we do all day everyday and we would be happy to discuss how to get your systems secure before the next breach happens. 

By IncWorx Team 19 Jul, 2017
Maximize your SharePoint investment by getting the most out of it. You harness the true power of SharePoint when you leverage its customizability to meet the specific needs of your organization.
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