In this post we discuss Migrating to sharePoint Online and what to consider at a high level.
Microsoft SharePoint has been around for a long time now and has allowed organisations to easily collaborate & share data across their departments.
Most people know that there are a lot of advantages to using SharePoint – Document Management, Collaboration, Presence, Website Creation and much more. While there are many advantages to SharePoint, there are a lot of things to be considered when Migrating to SharePoint Online.
A lot our customers went with SharePoint from the start from 2003 – 2007 and implemented solutions on hosted Windows servers. Anyone who knows SharePoint knows that there is
a vast amount of customisation needed to make it work for the organisation and most of our customers went to town on that. We developed workflows, forms, SharePoint apps
using the SP sdk, custom applications in .Net & Open Source that plug into the portal, etc. SharePoint has become the engine behind large scale applications and it works
great for that.
But… Now that we’re in the age of cloud, big questions are presenting themselves for CIOs. Where do we go with SharePoint?
SharePoint sits on premise for most organisations right now. The options are to virtualise the existing SharePoint environment on a VM in Azure, move to SharePoint Online or
upgrade your on premise version to take advantage of the latest tools.
Most CIOs would prefer the managed service of SharePoint Online. There are a lot of advantages such as security, cost, upgrades & up-time as well as the improved features.
However, there are a lot of things to consider when planning a SharePoint migration:
- How do we migrate? There is no fast answer to this and a migration plan is required. We have spent weeks analysing existing SharePoint environments to see if they are
cloud ready and what needs to be considered before the move. We come up with a full migration plan as a result of this analysis so that we can be sure that the migration will
work and how it will be carried out.
- Existing SharePoint Applications – Most customers have developed custom applications along the way which use the SharePoint SDK. SharePoint applications are no more in
SharePoint Online and have been replaced by SharePoint Apps. It has to be said that more often than not, these SP applications will have to be rewritten as client side
applications as there is little or no server side code in SharePoint Online. So, get your front end developers ready as there’s going to be a lot of code written to get your
applications running in SharePoint Online.
- Existing Web Applications – Existing web applications & their databases that run on premise will have to be considered also. SharePoint is moving to the cloud so your infrastructure guys will have to come up with a way for these applications to be made available to SharePoint. There are many ways to do this which we’ll cover in another post. You can leave them on premise, host on an Azure VM or rewrite as SharePoint Apps. There are a lot of identity considerations here which I won’t cover as it’s off topic. The point is that all of this has to be considered and it can be a lot of work.
- Authentication – Currently the SharePoint users are synchronised with the on premise Active Directory. SharePoint Online will need to be synchronised also to make sure that permissions are up to date. Again, the identity guy will jump in here with solutions such as AD Synch or PowerShell.
- Testing – As you can see, there can be a lot involved in a SharePoint migration, depending on the size of the SharePoint implementation. There is a lot to consider and we would advise that you put a good testing plan in place when planning a migration. There are a lot of changes from on premise to SharePoint Online and these need to be fully tested before you decide to go live.