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The 3 important steps of a SharePoint migration

It only takes three steps to migrate to your new SharePoint environment? Sounds easy! While it’s true that a SharePoint migration needn’t be as complex as some people will have you believe, each of these three steps have a lot to them, and as such shouldn’t be underestimated.

That’s why we’re here to guide you through each important step so your migration journey can be as smooth as possible and you can enjoy your new SharePoint environment.

1. Plan

Planning is your most crucial step to a smooth migration. So, where should you start? What should you do? How should you do it? It’s important to ask as many questions as possible before you begin the actual migration process. Creating a detailed plan and roadmap for your migration will help answer these questions, and more.

Below are the most important aspects to your migration you should address:

  • Establish an inventory of your content
    So, you’re ready to migrate. First things first… what are you migrating? Building a well-organized inventory of your SharePoint content lets you know what content sits where, which can speed up the migration process considerably. Aim to find out what content you want to migrate, which content should be rebuilt before moving to the new destination and what outdated content can stay behind. We call this the RMR Strategy—a great way to organize and streamline your content ahead of your migration.
  • Clean up your old environment and prepare destination
    In a migration, it pays to travel light. Purging any old and unwanted content from a content database will remove any duplicate files and outdated proposals you no longer need. But it will also free up some valuable space on your databases. The same goes for subsites, site collections, web parts and even templates. If you no longer need it, don’t bring it with you. It’s that simple!
  • (Road)map your migration
    Remember the RMR strategy we were just talking about? Time to put that into practice. After purging all your unwanted content, create a SharePoint list and fill it with all the sites from your current SharePoint environment; this is your new migration roadmap. Creating a ‘migration action’ column, you can then migrate, rebuild or remove your sites when migrating to your new SharePoint estate.
  • Communicate with end users
    This is probably the easiest step of your migration plan, but is also one of the most overlooked. Your employees won’t want to come into work next week and find out that everything has changed. Even if that change is for the better, if you don’t constantly communicate that change is coming, your users will resent you for it. Your new environment will likely look, feel and act differently; you must tell your users not only what’s changed, but why and how that change is going to help them do their jobs better or make their lives easier.

The more questions you ask and look to get answered, the less problems you are going to run into. And those problems you do run into (because the migration process can be a troublesome one) you will better prepared to deal with. Preparation is everything!

2. Migrate

You would think that the risks surrounding a migration that get mentioned so often would be to do with the process of the migration itself. But providing you have planned thoroughly and accordingly, the actual move shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that depending on what your source and destination environments are the migration process can have slight differences.

In the same sense that you need to communicate to your users the incoming change of a content migration, you need to keep them constantly aware during the process itself. You need to tell them that during this time, content will be read-only so users will have to wait until after the migration is completed to access their files. Small pieces of information like this may seem immaterial, but can help your users feel like they’re part of the migration process and minimize confusion.

Choosing the tool you use for the migration process itself is the other important aspect to the Migrate step (who would have guessed!). Selecting a tool like Sharegate can greatly reduce the amount of time and effort required for your project.

3. Manage

And much like you need to dedicate time to the actions you take pre-migration, the same needs to be done once you’ve successfully migrated your content. After completing your migration, it’s important to keep an eye on what’s happening within your environments and with your users. It will take some time for the change to happen and for users to return to their routine, so being patient is important.

Once you’re set up in your new environment, some things will need to be checked to ensure they function the same as in your old SharePoint. A common one is custom branding, but governance and compliance policies should be reviewed to ensure users are aware of any changes, too. Whether you’re a Site administrator or regular user, take as much time as you need to get familiar with your new environment; knowing what you can’t do is just as important as knowing what you can do!

Migration in 3,2,1…

And there you have it! It will take a little longer than it took you to read this post, but if you dedicate time to your migration plan, choose the best tool for the migration process, and review the ins and outs of your new environment, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the new features and functionality of your new SharePoint instance.

This post was guest authored by our friends at Sharegate.