3 Steps for a Successful SharePoint Migration

3 Steps for a Successful SharePoint Migration

3 Steps for a Successful SharePoint Migration

By Adam Levithan | October 10, 2016

After years of migrating SharePoint customers from or to new SharePoint or Office 365 environments, I've seen several common attributes to the most successful migrations. While I wish that I could share 10 bullet points that would solve every migration challenge, there's no easy answer as no two migrations are ever alike.

So how do you decrease the challenges and increase the likelihood of a migration success? I use a framework to organize a SharePoint migration. Be prepared, this is not a high-level business post or a technical deep dive. Instead these actions help ensure that there is not a mismatch between the IT team performing the migration and what end users want/expect as the result.

The framework includes three actions: Analysis, Planning and Optimizing.


SharePoint, and the collaboration that it enables, takes on the personality of the organization that it supports. While there are a lot of statistics that give insight into how your current environment is being used, many successful migrations combine these facts with staff interviews. This creates an overall view of how the system is really being used, and sets a stage for what will increase adoption of your new environment. At the same time, you're right, there are some key attributes that slow migrations down (large lists, long URLs and checked out documents).


Once you've gathered both the personality and SharePoint statistics of your current environment, you can move onto planning your migration. One key element of the planning phase is to perform an actual test migration. This will let you know the actual performance of your own environment. It will also allow you to align further with the business by showing them what the new environment will look like, and how it will function. I'll tell you one secret, estimating the time it will take for end users to respond to testing is a key element that is often left out of many migration plans.


You get three chances to optimize. You can optimize your current network, server and database environment so that it performs under the stress of a migration. The second opportunity is to optimize the destination on both the environmental level and the SharePoint Architecture. Finally, successful migrations never end. No matter how thorough the analysis and planning I can guarantee that there are changes within your business from the beginning of the process to the planned end. There is always content and structure that needs to be moved around.

Yes, all of those SharePoint complexities can be overcome with these three easy actions. OK, my apologies that was sarcasm, but it is a framework that will create a more positive outcome. If you’re looking to migrate soon and want to hear more about increasing your success, I'm hosting a webinar that goes deeper into these three areas. Then I will also follow-up with more information on the technical approaches to migration and real-life best practices.

Migration is never an easy thing and while three steps can help, there’s a lot of detail in between.

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Adam Levithan 2018

Adam is a Group Program Manager of Secure Collaboration at Exostar and a Microsoft MVP advocating for collaboration by connecting business needs with the right technology. Prior to Exostar, Adam was a Product Manager for Migration at a market leading ISV and a Practice Lead for Office 365 in a cutting-edge Microsoft Consulting firm. Over the last decade Adam has been responsible for moving customers to the cloud, designing and implementing information architecture (SharePoint Farm and content) and increasing user adoption. Adam is an ongoing member of the SharePoint Saturday DC coordinating committee and active speaker at many national events.

Written By: Adam Levithan