Skip to content

Migrating to SharePoint Online (Pt. 1)

Are you a SharePoint On-Premises user? Are you looking to migrate to SharePoint Online and take advantage of the modern experience and capabilities that come with it? Do migration projects seem daunting to you?

We at DevFacto have a long history with all types of SharePoint (SP) projects. These projects range from initial solution definition and implementation to reviewing and improving existing solutions, or migrating existing environments to new SP versions. We have broad experience with the various SharePoint versions released by Microsoft, such as SP 2013, SP 2019 and SharePoint Online, to name a few.

In this post I’ll be focusing on migration projects and more specifically on migrations to SharePoint Online with the modern user interface.

Throughout the many migration projects we have successfully completed, we’ve been improving and refining our strategy to better support our partners with their migration initiatives. We’ve supported all types of organisations, regardless of size, through successful upgrades and moving of their content to new SharePoint versions. Migration projects come in all shapes and sizes and depending on the complexity of the solution, their duration can range from a few weeks to nearly a year or more. This led us to define an approach scalable for any migration, regardless of its size. That approach consists of four independent phases that allow us to reduce risks and uncertainty while ensuring success.

The four phases SharePoint Migration are:

SP migration process


In this initial phase our DevFacto team meets with you to learn which SP version you are using and to assess the complexity of your SP environment in terms of volume and customizations. We capture risks and challenges and also identify which other work activities to include, like supporting you with transition to operations, change management assistance, or governance planning. This is a very short engagement to give us a high-level overview and knowledge of your overall environment. In turn, this allows us to define the initial migration roadmap, to estimate and plan for the following phase. 



The second phase in our approach is where a dedicated team will work with you to define your migration roadmap. The team will take a deeper dive and review your SharePoint, taking particular attention to areas identified as critical in the pre-assessment. As part of this work, the team will also identify additional areas we know will require special attention. The discovery phase consists of understanding existing pages, content inventory, web parts, customizations, and capturing any potential migration issue in order to define proper mitigation strategies. Examples of issues that may require mitigation planning include large lists or libraries, email enabled libraries, deprecated SharePoint designer workflows, or URL mapping.

This phase also includes workshops with you and your team to redefine the new Information Architecture (IA) for SharePoint Online that will best fit your needs. Once all this information is collected, you’ll be provided with a detailed migration plan to move your current environment to SharePoint Online modern layout. The migration plan will include the current state assessment, migration considerations, approach, project schedule, estimated budget, risks and issues.

Once you receive the migration plan, our team will answer any questions that arise and will adjust the plan as needed to better suit your requirements or budget.



Once you move forward with the migration, one of our technical teams will work with you to execute the previously-defined migration plan. The team will implement the defined IA, create new sites and pages, meet with site owners to redefine and implement any custom solution needed, move all required content to your new SharePoint Online tenant, and train users on the new solution. We will work closely with you, guiding you through every step to ensure the best solutions are defined and implemented. Depending on the size of your environment, this phase might be broken down into smaller pieces to reduce risks and make the decision process easier. You don’t have to decide everything at the start or have a “big bang” transition.



This is the last phase in our approach, where our team will support you after the migration is completed. This is a key part of your change management solution, as your users will feel supported and will have highly knowledgeable resources to help adjust to the new SharePoint Online. This support phase can be completely tailored to meet your needs as they arise.

Migrating from SharePoint On-Premises to SharePoint Online can seem daunting at first glance but with an appropriately structured plan in place, and the right partner, the migration can be much smoother than you think. The four phase migration plan that DevFacto employs - Pre-assessment, Discovery, Migration, and Support - is designed to support you through migration with relative ease. There are some additional things to consider that relate to your migration, however, and in Part 2 I’ll examine two more points that should be factored into your migration plan.

If you can't wait for Part 2 and need to get going on a migration, please don't hesitate to connect!



About the author

Vasco Pedro is a Delivery Executive/Project Manager based in Edmonton, Alberta. Armed with a computer science degree, he has been delivering projects across different industries and technologies since 2006. He believes in the power of self organized high-performing teams. Vasco recently embraced snowboarding and looks forward to keep improving is skills in the mountains. You can connect with him on LinkedIn!


About the artist

Cindy Gauthier is an Alberta-based comic artist and illustrator. She went to the University of Lethbridge and Grant MacEwan, and was an Artist in Residence with Happy Harbor. When she’s not working on drawings of all things macabre and whimsical, she can often be found sipping a latte with her Pomeranian at her feet. You can follow her on instagram as well.

For this piece, she writes "The concept of someone helping someone else to navigate the process of moving a lot of
valuable information got me thinking of tugboats helping huge ships to safely navigate harbours. I also wanted to work technology directly into the drawing, so I chose to use circuitboards as my inspiration for the city in the background. I also got a little help from an AI art generator to help me figure out the colour palette and give me some inspiration for the overall shape of the city."