Now more than ever we’re seeing the need for digital transformation. Businesses everywhere are realising how embracing the Cloud can help keep your organisation running smoothly, no matter where your teams are working from. There’s no better time to get your organisation up and running on the Cloud – helping your teams work together from wherever they are.
While we’ve worked with many Cloud platforms over the years, and one thing always remains the same – moving your documents and information across to the Cloud really helps boost productivity and ensure business continuity for organisations big and small.
But today, we’re going to be focusing on one Cloud platform in particular, Microsoft SharePoint. Why just this one? Well, many of your organisations will already have Office 365 subscriptions – so using SharePoint makes a great deal of sense, as it comes included as part of the Office 365 package. And better still, it integrates well with other Microsoft applications – such as Outlook, Office, Teams, OneDrive, to help bring everything together and allow your teams to work seamlessly across your business.
So let’s get into it; our top tips for a headache-free SharePoint migration.
A considered process that works for your organisation
Every organisation is different – you have your own individual internal structures, different teams and stakeholders to manage, as well as your company’s unique business needs, challenges, and goals. But one thing everyone needs is a strong, well thought-out process that will help keep the transition smooth and result in minimal business disruption.
Our approach to SharePoint migration can be broken down into three key areas:
- Audit and Scope
We’ll take you through each of these steps to help you create a process that’ll ensure a successful SharePoint migration.
Audit and Scope
Before starting your migration, it’s so vital to make sure you have a clear understanding of your existing content, what you want to migrate, and how much space you’ll need on SharePoint (now and in the future).
Our tips for your Audit and Scope stage:
- Gain an understanding and visibility of where all content in your organisation is currently stored. This can differ from team to team, and even from person to person. Are documents stored on local drives? On various external hard drives? On other servers? Collating this information will help once it comes to the migration itself and will also give you an indication of how different people currently work and what training they’ll require.
- Put together a content audit so you can see exactly what content needs to be migrated, you can also remove any duplicate content or any files that are no longer needed. It’s worth noting how often the existing content is used and who owns each piece of content too. You don’t need any special programme for your content audit – you can simply use a spreadsheet to collate all this information. All this will help you with your planning in which teams to migrate first, what SharePoint structure they need, etc.
- Get a feel for the capacity you would require for your content. Microsoft SharePoint provides a set amount based on organisation size and then additional capacity for each person working within your company. You can then either automatically distribute this storage space across your different SharePoint sites, or manually allocate it based on team needs. For many organisations, the standard capacity provided by Microsoft is enough for all their storage needs – however, your content audit can reveal how much content you currently have, how much needs to be migrated, and what your content growth rate is. If you have a lot of large files (such as video files), then it may be worth considering storing those larger files in a different place, to avoid using up all your Cloud storage space.
Once you have a clear understanding of your current content, how your teams work and what they need, and how much capacity you require, it’s time to start the SharePoint migration. When you are moving across substantial amounts of content, there’s a few considerations to keep in mind if you want to keep disruption low.
Our top tips for your deployment stage:
- For the technical part of the migration, it’s important to consider the best way to get everything migrated. Do you want to use the SharePoint migration tool? This can be useful when it comes to bulk migrations. Do you want to upload directly to SharePoint? This option can give you more control over individual documents. Or, you could recruit a third party to help you migrate all your content. This can take the load off your shoulders and let an experienced vendor do the heavy lifting for you – and, if they’re anything like our team at Pi Digital, they can also help you with all the other stages of SharePoint migration to get all your teams set-up and using it properly too.
- Prior to starting your deployment, we recommend getting plenty of input from your different teams. They all have different needs when it comes to doing their jobs effectively, so it’s worthwhile getting an understanding directly from them for what they need out of a SharePoint architecture – so you can work out what SharePoint sites they’ll need and how they’ll all work together. This can also help with ensuring they feel part of the process and that the solution is one that they’ll want to – and be able to – use, which’ll make it much easier to get them using SharePoint once it’s all in place.
- Once you’ve started deploying your SharePoint solution, it’s essential you keep up good communication throughout your organisation. The migration isn’t instant, and often will happen in stages, with different teams rolled out at staggered times. This can mean that team members are working on various documents outside of SharePoint while the migration is still in progress. By keeping all team members updated and in-the-loop, you can manage this content and make sure any newer or edited documents are also migrated as part of the process.
The final – and perhaps most crucial – stage of your SharePoint migration is onboarding, also known as actually getting people using it. A new streamlined solution isn’t much use if no one is adapting how they work to use it. But how do you get everybody across your business bought-in and working in this new centralised platform?
Our top tips for your onboarding stage:
- If you want to get everyone throughout your organisation ready and willing to make the switch to using SharePoint, the first thing you need to do is make it clear to them why it’ll benefit them and how it’ll make it simpler to do their jobs. In case you need reminding, these are just some of the key benefits that SharePoint brings:
- A centralised space for files, data, and documents that can be accessed securely from any location using any device.
- The ability to collaborate with team members through co-authoring documents, clear version control and history, document check-ins and check-outs, and a private space to message and chat about specific documents and files.
- A simple way to locate files through clear folder structures and metadata, as well as a comprehensive search function. You can also set parameters in the search function – such as to display certain types of documents (such as corporate policies) at the top of search results.
- Easily managed security and permissions as content owners can manage who can access their content. The security and compliance centre lets you define sensitivity levels for documents, who can access them, and who they can be shared with. You can also set-up data loss prevention rules to assign individual files or documents with sensitivity labels which will only allow content to be shared within these parameters.
- You can create retention policies within SharePoint that covers all the content stored within it. Set time limits for how long different types of content or files are kept – if no one uses them within that time – before being destroyed (e.g. 7 years for financial information, 1 year for processing information). This prevents your SharePoint sites becoming clogged up with irrelevant or outdated files while also helping you adhere to GDPR rules surrounding storing personal data.
- SharePoint is deeply integrated with all the other Microsoft applications, which can provide a streamlined workflow when tying it in with Microsoft Teams, Office, Outlook, OneDrive, and more
- Ability to add people outside your organisation to Teams to give them access (where you set the parameters) to certain Teams channels and SharePoint files – allowing them to also communicate with your teams within these platforms.
- Keep all the different stakeholders, content owners, and team leaders engaged throughout the entire migration process. If you get their input early on, and keep them in-the-loop throughout, they will feel more involved and that the new solution will be worthwhile to move across to. This is invaluable in helping them champion using SharePoint and reinforcing using it across their different teams.
- So then, what’s left to do? Get everyone trained up and working on SharePoint the correct way, of course. There are many different elements to strong SharePoint training. No one works or learns in the same way, so taking an individualistic approach can be the real difference maker. Training can take the form of demos, communication campaigns, presentations, one-to-one guidance sessions, and so much more. You can get your team leaders to train their teams, as they will have insight into how each team member works. Or you can get external specialists to help you with this as part of your SharePoint migration. At Pi Digital, we have experience in getting thousands of people up-and-running on SharePoint, and have in-depth knowledge of the different training approaches that work for those who are early adopters of new technology solutions, as well as those more hesitant to moving away from their traditional ways of working – and everyone in-between.
Getting moved across to the Cloud with SharePoint is invaluable at this time – as it lets all your teams work together more effectively, no matter where they’re working from right now. Providing ease of access to all your documents, data, and files, and enabling teams to collaborate securely can help keep productivity – and morale – high during these challenging times. It can help improve how your teams work even more when you use SharePoint alongside other Microsoft applications too.
But, migrating to SharePoint doesn’t need to be a painful process – it’s all about ensuring you have the right pieces of the puzzle in place. You can follow our top tips and start to implement your SharePoint migration yourselves. Or if you want a helping hand, our team is here to help you with a smooth migration.
Though we can’t be there for you right now in-person, our SharePoint experts are fully equipped to work with you and your teams remotely through video calls, online meetings, screen sharing demos, and more to help with your audits, scopes, deployment, and on-boarding as you get your long-term SharePoint solution in place.
To help during this time, Microsoft are also currently offering six months free Office 365 E1 licenses (which includes access to Microsoft SharePoint, Teams, and more), which you can take advantage of while your teams are working remotely. So the real question is, what are you waiting for?
Get in touch with our team here at Pi Digital today to see how we can help your organisation run well with high-levels of productivity while your teams are working from home – and when they’re back in the office.