Business Management

Mary Leigh Mackie (North America) - How to Achieve a Seamless SharePoint Migration

Many businesses which have existing SharePoint 2007 implementations are now looking to take advantage of the improved functionality of SharePoint 2010. While some businesses may find this idea daunting due to the high capital spend associated with resourcing migration and ongoing maintenance of SharePoint environments, the reality is that making the jump to SharePoint 2010 will provide businesses with the opportunity to take advantage of excellent social interaction features and enterprise content management capabilities. There are, however, some key considerations to make before migration begins in order to ensure projects successfully meet business demands and requirements.

Determining the business objectives for SharePoint 2010 deployment is critical to kick-start a successful project. Depending on these business objectives, the requirements for SharePoint 2010's physical and information architecture may fundamentally change. Enhanced capabilities offered by SharePoint 2010, such as simplified application development, enterprise content management (ECM), or social interaction features can all help to address specific business needs. Consequently, understanding which capabilities are the most important to your business will allow IT teams to adjust their migration plans accordingly and deliver ROI quickly. If, for example, updating the SharePoint infrastructure is a goal of the migration, tools which support a granular approach and enable organisations to move their critical data over to the new SharePoint platform in stages without disrupting workflow would be particularly time and cost effective - especially as native SharePoint functionality cannot support this granular approach.

Moving content into SharePoint 2010 from previous releases of the platform can be easily achieved by utilising a third-party migration solution like AvePoint's DocAve Software Platform. Third-party solutions can enable organisations to conduct content migration at the item, sub-site, or site level, enabling IT teams to complete the migration process according to business need, ensuring the most critical information is available to users quickly and without disrupting workflow. These solutions can also offer a direct migration from SharePoint Portal Server (SPS) 2001 or SPS 2003 environments to SharePoint Server 2010, which is not possible when using Microsoft's native upgrade or migration methods.

When business objectives have been clarified and routes for migration are confirmed, the next step is for businesses to ascertain exactly what content needs to be moved to SharePoint 2010. Before the process begins, it is crucial to perform a back-up of all data so organisations can roll back to recent versions of important files should any errors occur during the migration. It is also essential to consider that SharePoint 2010 will only run on a 64-bit environment at both operating system, (Windows Server 2008 is required), and SQL server level, and so it is imperative that businesses are running 64 bit servers before the migration occurs. In some instances, this may mean that a hardware or operating system upgrade is required, providing organisations with the opportunity to refresh their infrastructure, as well as allowing for improved functionality and performance when developing SharePoint 2010 server farms.

With the correct infrastructure in place, businesses should take advantage of migration processes to address any site sprawl, getting rid of any content or customizations, including workflows, solutions, and web parts, that are no longer of value to the business. Old sites or even whole site collections existing within SharePoint 2007 that haven't been modified in months or even years need to be assessed by IT administrators before migrating to SharePoint 2010. For example, documents which may no longer be regarded as business critical may only require the latest five versions to be moved into the SharePoint 2010 site, as opposed to all 30 versions which may have been saved on the 2007 platform. This will not only improve efficiency by ensuring that only content relevant to active business users is migrated - and only customisations necessary for business productivity is migrated or recreated if it is not supported by the selected migration solution - but will also streamline storage requirements.

It is clear that SharePoint Server 2010 is primed to change the way companies do business by improving communication and collaboration internally as well as externally. Before moving to the new platform, it is essential for companies to undertake an evaluation of their SharePoint Server 2010 deployment objectives in order to get the most out of the upgrade. Utilising third-party solutions can significantly improve the efficiency and success of the migration, avoiding the requirement for vast amounts of internal staff resources to be dedicated to the task in hand.

By Mary Leigh Mackie, director of product marketing, AvePoint


« Will Mutua Mworia (Africa) - The State of e-Governance/e-Government in Africa


Barry Regan (UK) - How Resellers can Prepare for Cloud Computing: 4 Essential Tips for IT Channels »