5 SharePoint migration Pitfalls to avoid during SharePoint Upgrade

Enterprises find themselves in a dicey situation when they upgrade their SharePoint environment.

Being cautious of the SharePoint migration pitfalls if taken good care of beforehand, can be a great stimulator for a successful SharePoint migration.

Every organization requires migrations to be of the highest quality while they often have to balance costs and time while defining their migration roadmap. The paucity of resources adds another layer of complexity to the migration process.

Evaluating the SharePoint Migration Adversities

During our consulting engagements with many of our clients, even the large multinationals, we find that there is a tendency to take the inexpensive approach, whereby data is directly transferred to the new environment, without much analysis or clean-up. While this may be a relatively inexpensive way to balance the two important parameters of cost and time, it is certainly not the most efficient way. There are some critical SharePoint migration pitfalls you must be aware of before upgrading or migrating to a new SharePoint environment.

SharePoint Migration Pitfall #1: SharePoint Upgrade is only the responsibility of the IT team

This myth stems within the SharePoint migration pitfalls from the fact that all stakeholders are not on the same page when it comes to SharePoint migrations. This is ironic, considering SharePoint offers a digital collaborative environment for all stakeholders, internal and external. It is essential that all stakeholders are consulted and a consensus emerges regarding the SharePoint roadmap of an organization. During the migrations, one must consider the logical architecture of the SharePoint platform, which provides scalability and a wide variety of collaborative features– content management, version management, enterprise search, social media, and digital asset management.

Points to consider:

  • Involve all stakeholders – Technical and Business – prior to starting a SharePoint Update
  • Set objectives and goals that enterprises want to achieve with a SharePoint Upgrade
  • Include all platforms & custom solutions when planning an upgrade

SharePoint Migration Pitfall #2: To do a migration, all we need is a source and a destination environment

It can be an extremely costly affair when one opts for only an upgradation or migration without a thorough assessment of the SharePoint environments participating in the migration. Most enterprises utilizing SharePoint use it across departments, and complement it with line-of-business applications to perform day-to-day activities. So, in this case, one has to assess the current environment and analyze the costs and risks associated with migrating to the new environment. You must ensure that the new environment supports all the components present in your current environment. Base infrastructure has to be mapped and upgraded, if necessary. The right tools need to be identified for SharePoint migration while avoiding the major SharePoint migration pitfalls.

Points to consider:

  • Begin SharePoint upgrade/migration with a thorough analysis of the cost, value & risk involved
  • Identify the right set of tools to do a successful SharePoint 2016 upgrade or to other SharePoint versions
  • Maintain and migrate old unstructured framework to new to get higher ROI

SharePoint Migration Pitfall #3: Ignoring compatibility requirements of third-party applications integration

While considering the Legacy Architecture, it becomes vital to assess the line-of-business applications that are being utilized and third party applications that are logically integrated with the current system. Before going ahead with any migration, one must check for the compatibility of all these tools with the new environment, and if needed update the tools to a version that is more compatible with the destination environment. This is extremely important as you do not want a case where you finish setting up the environment only to find out that some apps are not compatible with your latest environment.

Points to consider:

  • Map workflow, interaction, and storage quotas of all custom & third party applications
  • Create a back-up of line-of-business applications and public-facing SharePoint sites & portals
  • Consider the dependencies of each application before upgrading/migrating the environment

SharePoint Migration Pitfall #4: Scattered information

Having a SharePoint environment empowers one to create unlimited sites and portals for their internal use with custom workflows and usage rights. The situation often becomes cumbersome because of diverse unmapped documents and files being utilized without the knowledge of the SharePoint administrator. It is critical for a SharePoint migration team to map all the information with the relevant metadata.

Additionally, we find that multiple versions of a file are placed in the SharePoint environment. These documents are untagged, so we don’t really know which versions are critical and which are unnecessary. This scattered information needs larger storage space and is disorganized without proper classification and categorization. As the idea behind setting up the new environment is to gain higher productivity, and stale versions of documents will occupy additional storage with little or no benefit.

One must also consider the content database size and document archive scenarios to utilize available resources with maximum uptime. A number of content databases and site collections have to be mapped in order to restructure the content in the new version. Ignoring the storage can halt the entire process, so it is advisable to have additional storage, which will ensure that there are no unnecessary problems.

To avoid this SharePoint migration pitfall, one must identify the right set of documents, along with their versions to be transferred to the destination. Additionally, we must categorize the important documents, so that analysis of a migration or upgrade becomes easier

Points to consider:

  • Create a content hierarchy to properly structure the content database
  • Involve all stakeholders and collect information about stored data prior to Upgrade
  • Consider the current task list and communication downtime to all Stakeholders

SharePoint Migration Pitfall #5: No documentation of current legacy system

Documenting your systems should really be as much a priority for business teams as it is for technical teams. The amount of money spent on re-working legacy systems leads to a lot of redundancies that eat into the IT budgets of organizations. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the business teams to lead this initiative. Documentation can be as simple as giving an overview of the architectural and system considerations, with web parts & external data sources. The document should provide details of all previous migrations or SharePoint upgrade experiences, along with the type of approach utilized – In-place, Database, Use of 3rd party migration tools, Custom/holistic migration, or a tailored, hybrid approach. This becomes especially critical when resources who developed the system leaves the enterprise so that in their absence, the documentation can give a blueprint of the existing SharePoint environment.

Points to consider:

  • Develop a System overview chart with all touchpoints
  • Compile all third party components and web parts integration details
  • Create a training manual for an easy transition

These are the 5 most critical pitfalls, and in case ignored, it will cost you dearly in terms of both, money and time.

Do feel free to comment on your ideas and experiences about your SharePoint upgrade.

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