Why Do Most OneDrive Migrations Fail?

OneDrive migration tool

Why Do Most OneDrive Migrations Fail?

By Matthew Hughes | June 08, 2017

If you’ve ever had to move into a new home, then you probably understand how arduous the process could be. Though it sounds easy to pack-and-carry your things into a new home, moving can often be very demanding.

For starters, have you identified the things you don’t want to bring into the new house? What about your packing materials? Rolls of bubble wrap for fragile materials, quilted moving pads for valuable items, wardrobe boxes for transporting your clothes… and the list goes on.

Moving into a new house is an exciting experience, but it’s less about “moving in” than it is about “getting there.” Undoubtedly, it will always require some amount of heavy lifting, but with a few friends and a solid game plan, you can ensure a stress-free move and avoid losing your things (and your mind).

Migrating to OneDrive is comparable to moving into a new home. It not only requires strategic pre-planning and effectively allocating your resources, it also requires fully understanding your collaborative environment and figuring out the most efficient mode of transport.

Here, we’ll discuss why most OneDrive migrations fail and what you can do to mitigate disaster. Read on to learn how to migrate successfully!

Identify OneDrive Migration Challenges

Identifying migration challenges is crucial when developing a migration strategy. Based on my personal experience of moving over 10TB of data across 8 businesses in 18 months, I’ve identified weak points during a migration that increase bandwidth and delay the process. In fact, it’s these areas that contribute most to failed OneDrive migrations.

Typically, one of the most common challenges is to move an undisclosed amount of data from a shared drive, a user’s PC, or a home drive. Even if the data is unstructured or unorganized, non-technical users should ideally be able to assess and adopt the content appropriately following the migration. Otherwise, the inability for users to adopt the new platform will render the migration as a failure.

Develop an Effective Migration Strategy

Whether your migration entails an organizational plan to aggregate disparate collaboration platforms or a small-scale plan to transfer data between your local networks, kicking off with a discovery process is strongly recommended.

If you’re unsure about exactly which points of data should be migrated, the discovery process helps to facilitate an understanding of the stored content, the technical challenges of migrating, and immovable content. Consider this the time to identify if you’re looking to move everything on your server (both archived and live), as opposed to bringing along only the components that are essential to your environment.

By utilizing a site structure tool like XMind (Free Mind Mapping), we can easily visualize the content architecture and provide training to a group of key users before starting the initial migration. Subsequently, more users should be brought up to speed and trained before the final migration.

In this way, the final migration phase incrementally updates the files in the cloud and ensures that all-systems-are-go before going live. Generally, it is a best practice to delegate some floor-walking and firefighting to ensure a smooth transition back into business.

Assess Migration Options

Assess Migration Options

Migrate as Efficiently & Effectively as Possible

Based on your pre-planning stages, your migration should be nearly set up for success considering that you adhere to a well-defined process and abstain from making major changes to the process. Though dates may change depending on variable circumstances, guaranteeing the confidence of your user adoption strategy is essential to the stages following the migration.

Ideally, the discovery process and the training should have filled in any of the gaps prior to the migration. From my experience, when communication and training is lacking, user adoption is significantly more prone to failure.

Without proper support and instruction, users will resort to the path of least resistance and continue to use work flows and processes that have been phased out.


At the end of the day, the lessons learned are:

  • Strategize a comprehensive pre-migration plan.
  • Recognize major issues prior to kick-off.
  • Decide on which tools best fit your organization’s needs.
  • Ensure a friction-free migration.
  • Allow your users to effortlessly adopt the new platform.

OneDrive can be a great platform for your users to call home, as long as you ensure that their belongings (whether it is content, work processes, or structures) has been carefully migrated over.

If finding a balance between productivity and organization is important in your environment, then ditch the pack-and-carry method of moving and understand that “getting there” is more important than “moving in.” For more support, check out Essentials for Office 365 for free and see how Metalogix can help you with your pre-migration planning. You’ll take home an easy way to migrate complex environments and get your users back on track—hassle-free.

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Matt is the founder of Kinetal and a self-confessed tech geek. Matt founded Kinetal in 2013 and has been delivering social media training since 2011, with a passion for Media and Technology. You’ll find him behind a camera or finding creative ways to create Digital Marketing campaigns.

Written By: Matthew Hughes