Structuring Your Migration for Success
Hopefully you've taken a look at the three actions that I've learned, throughout my SharePoint career, to help create successful migrations: Analysis, Planning and Optimization. With the personality of your environment understood, end users’ goals uncovered and the technical design in place -- it's time to dive into the structure of your SharePoint migration.
That structure depends both on the business-focused change management approach and the technical architecture of the actual migration. As always I wish there was one answer to solve all situations, but multiple and unique factors will dictate what's used for your migration.
Change Management Approach
This is not a text book definition of change management, but within the context of migrations these are the overall approaches that IT and business work together to perform.
- Cutover – Otherwise known as "The Big Bang" this is where your entire organization moves from the old technology to the new one at the same exact time. This creates the ability to have your entire organization on the same change management path. However, it also means that there are a lot of project variables that must not impede the goal’s cutover date.
- Gradual – Here different groups of your organization are moved to the new technology within separate timeframes. This specific attention can result in higher adoption rates and individuals feeling more connected to the migration process. However, it is an additional burden on the migration team to customize their techniques for each group.
Almost completely opposite of the business adoption of a SharePoint migration are the technical architectures that are used to perform migrations. As always, there is no single answer. The different approaches depend on many technical variables and timeframe to perform the project.
- Lift & Shift – In this scenario, this is typically used when an organization is performing a wholly technical migration. I put a SharePoint upgrade into this category, where you are not reorganizing or optimizing any pieces of SharePoint -- just moving from one technical version of SharePoint to another (for example: SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2014). This category also encompasses manual migration of personal files and the use of third party tools to move documents from one technology to the next.
- Multi-Prong – In this scenario, Power Users, Site Owners, Site Collection Owners and/or IT are working with a tool to reorganize and migrate a certain set of content. Picture each department having their own console with the ability to filter out old content, consolidate sites, and add metadata for their own information based on a general set of governance.
- Distributed – In this scenario, many servers are working simultaneously to migrate content. As timelines for migrations have decreased, this methodology has increased in the experienced hands of many system integrators/consultants. They've worked with the business to map out what a reorganized and optimized new environment looks like and built a powerful migration engine to automatically implement these changes.
There you have it, an overview of the biggest pieces that are most commonly used to structure a successful migration.
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.