This series highlights critical considerations and best practices for upgrading, migrating and deploying SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online.
Learn what will work best for your business.
Part four of a series.
Microsoft Office 365 user population has recently hit 85 million commercial users, as noted on the WinBeta news source. As the user base continues to grow, we’ve seen a growing interest among our clients in moving their on-premises SharePoint farms to Office 365.
The most critical part of a SharePoint migration project involves planning for the migration itself. With all the factors involved – such as the limitations of out-of-the-box migration options – this can complicate the project and introduce undesirable risks. It is critical to carefully plan a SharePoint migration and fully consider all variables involved in the process.
Once a decision is made to move your SharePoint sites to Office 365, you will need to decide: What does success look like for your business? Whether your new platform will be SharePoint Online or Hybrid, recommendations below should be helpful.
Before Migrating SharePoint to Office 365
Below are some points to consider before you migrate to Office 365:
- If you have SharePoint On-premises, run the OnRamp for Office 365 Tool to assist you with discovery activities related to Office 365 deployment (screenshot below).
- If you plan on using a custom domain such as contonso.com, make sure this domain has been verified.
- Make sure Office 365 tenant is ready with the appropriate licenses, network connectivity, firewalls, and security.
- To use Azure AD Connect, your on-premises AD schema and forest functional level must operate at Windows Server 2003 or later.
- Prepare Active Directory before synchronizing by running IdFix on your on-premises Active Directory and fixing errors on accounts.
- If you consider deploying ADFS, you’ll need to use SSL certificates.
- Take an inventory of your content, information architecture, design, and custom solutions.
- Decide what to move, taking only what you will need and archiving or deleting redundant or legacy data.
- Prioritize and classify all content by tagging it with metadata and establishing criteria such as business critical, important, nice to have.
- Select the right migration tool to assist you with migrating to Office 365.
- And, don’t forget to communicate, communicate, and communicate until it’s hard for people to forget.
During Office 365 Migration
Here are a couple of points to keep in mind as you migrate to Office 365:
- Start with a pilot migration by using a representative sample of data to confirm the technical feasibility of the migration and identify gaps.
- Migrate in batches. Diving content into batches to migrate is especially important for larger organizations.
After Migrating to Office 365
- Test and validate the success of the migration to ensure the infrastructure meets the requirements of the business. This includes reviewing network latency, permission, custom solutions, etc. Repeat this process for each batch of the migration.
- To lead a successful transition of users to the target environment, you must ‘freeze’ the source environment and conduct one final synchronization of changes. Again, repeat this process for each batch of the migration.
Ensuring Success with Your Migration
Migrating existing business content to SharePoint Online is not trivial. Ideally, organizations should spend time planning, discovering, and auditing the content. To minimize risk, start with the pre-migration checklist above and implement comprehensive testing after each migration batch. That’s how we support organizations with SharePoint and Office 365 upgrades and migrations.