Take a Long Look at Your Current System
The first thing you can do to avoid SharePoint migration headaches is to take a good, long look at your current system. You may be using an older version of SharePoint or a different solution entirely. Either way, you need to have a solid idea of exactly what you will be moving to the new SharePoint system before you begin.
Take a look at your files, websites, and other data that will be moving to SharePoint. Make note of how this data is organized, and keep an eye out for any pockets of customization one of your team members may have set up. The clearer the picture you have of what you’ll be working with, the smoother your SharePoint migration will go.
Design Your New System
Before you ever begin to move files, you need to spend some time designing your new system. Having a plan going in will make it much easier for you to set up a system that works for your whole team. Diving in and hitting that big “Migrate” button without a design in place is like dumping all the contents of a house into a moving truck and hoping to be able to find your second-favorite pair of boots later when you need them.
Using the knowledge you gained when you looked at your old system, start designing a new SharePoint system that will work well for your team. Often, a planned model can be more efficient and intuitive than one that has grown organically, so look for ways to optimize your new system. You may need to build out sites, document libraries, and create metadata to keep your new system running well.
Prepare Your FilesOnce the framework for your new SharePoint system is in place, you need to plan in some time to prepare your files for transfer. Some old files may need to be archived rather than taking up space on the new system. Others may need to have permissions temporarily changed in order for them to work with the migration tools. When you’re conducting your full system audit, make note of any particularly old or troublesome files that may need work before you begin your migration. Decide what can stay and what can get archived, and make a plan for how you intend to handle permissions for sensitive documents. If you expect there to be any compatibility issues, you’ll also want to address those before you start your migration.
Schedule Your Migration Carefully
After you’ve spent all this time setting up a framework and reviewing all your files, you may be ready to just hit “go” on the whole migration process. But you need to make sure you schedule your migration carefully. There’s a good chance your whole company’s internet bandwidth is going to grind to a halt as soon as your migration begins.
You should schedule your migration for a time when no one is going to be around trying to work. A weekend or holiday may work well for this since it will give you plenty of time to get things set up on the new system before everyone comes back to work. But attempting a migration during normal business hours is going to bring your productivity to a screeching halt.
Arrange For Employee Training
Your new system may be well-designed and up to date with the latest bells and whistles. But if no one on your team knows how to use it, it isn’t going to work for anyone. People are going to get frustrated, productivity will drop, and you may find that most people simply carry on using the same system they’re familiar with.
Before you conduct the actual migration, you need to train your team on how to use the new and improved SharePoint system. Arrange for team training days, and consider bringing in a consulting firm to answer your team’s more in-depth questions. The more of these issues you can address upfront, the less hassle you’ll have after the migration.
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