How to Migrate SharePoint to a New Server
Moving to any version of SharePoint comes with unique challenges. While SharePoint 2016 offers the best collaboration experience, rushing ahead too quickly might mean that you face significant issues post-migration. Our team of experienced pros recommend reading these top five migration pitfalls and planning for them before migration.
1. RUSHING THE PROCESS
Small mistakes as a result of rushed planning cycles can lead to huge, expensive gaps further down the road. In SharePoint, data model and taxonomy flaws may not become apparent until weeks or months later, normally when users find issues in production systems. The longer it takes to find these issues, the more expensive it becomes to correct them. Take the time to check every detail during the migration to minimize risk.
2. MISSED CUSTOMIZATIONS
As noted in the previous section, performing a complete analysis of all your customizations in your previous environment is essential to ensure that the final SharePoint 2016 environment works correctly. During the migration, any missed customizations that haven’t been adequately prepared for may cause a failure. If a failure does occur, plan on sifting through error logs to find out why a migration failed – only to come across a rogue web part or custom site design.
3. TREATING ALL SITES AND END USERS THE SAME
Three out of four teams may use SharePoint ‘out-of-the-box’ – with little or no customizations, but treating that fourth team – with their custom workflows, extensive dashboards and customized integration to the CRM system – in the same manner would be disastrous. Why? The out-of-the-box sites should, in theory, migrate cleanly, but the fourth site will need more care. Understand the individual needs and requirements of each team, especially your power users (those who depend on SharePoint every day). This is absolutely key when moving custom code to the cloud.
4. GOING IN WITHOUT A ROLLBACK PLAN AND NOT TESTING
A good project manager mitigates risks with a solid rollback plan, and the same should be done with a SharePoint migration. You may be able to recover from problems caused by rushing the process, not identifying customizations or not employing healthy test practices; but you will not recover (without severe pain) from rollback failure.
5. INCOMPLETE TESTING
Testing should not be treated like a check box activity. It should cover as many eventualities and scenarios as possible – planning, or in this case testing, for the worst means not having to “hope” for the best.
Workflows and Customizations are the obvious things to test but other elements, including security, are just as important. Ensuring security and permissions migrate as expected helps avoid serious data exposure. This is especially important if you have intellectual property assets or sensitive data stored in SharePoint.
Before you migrate, we recommend you read The SharePoint Server 2016 Migration Planning Guide that delivers insightful tips, tricks and planning points that will increase your migration success and post-migration performance.