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April 14
The Top Six Factors that will Determine the Success of Your SharePoint Migration

You are part of a project team tasked with upgrading your intranet or web site.  Your site has a lot of content created by multiple departments, and your project will need to migrate that content to the new solution.  So you read Kristina Halvorson’s Content Strategy for the Web, and she scared you enough to realize the importance of content migration.  You understand that migrating content en masse is a recipe for disaster, but you worry about the logistics of actually migrating the content properly.  You may have heard yourself say, “Okay, we need to do this right, but who is going to do all this work?”  Well, you are in luck.  There is a way, and it involves planning and training.  Considering the following six factors up front will go a long way in ensuring a successful migration.

Planning

Before your project kickoff, you need to create a plan for migration that identifies the following items:

      ·         Create a Content Inventory

      ·         Develop a list of migration leads for each department that creates content

      ·         Create a timeline with realistic milestones that breaks up the process into digestible parts

      ·         Train your leads on what they need to do

      ·         Monitor the process throughout

     Content Inventory

The content inventory is the first step in a successful migration.  If you are using a migration tool such as Metalogix or Sharegate, then you can use the tool to create a spreadsheet of all the content in your current system.  If you do not have a migration tool, then you can use PowerMapper to help automate the creation of your content inventory.  When you create the inventory, don’t overwhelm your department migration leads with too much information about the content.  The inventory should contain the following:

      ·         Site or Subsite name (if you have multiple sites)

      ·         Title of content that links to the actual content

      ·         Path or folder structure identifying where the content actually lives

    List of Department Migration Leads

Evaluating the current content and deciding whether or not to migrate the content are fundamental to the migration process.  The only people qualified to make that decision are the people closest to the content, the people creating and curating that content.  Identify who those people are and make them a part of the migration process.  Make sure they know how critical they are for the success of your migration project.

The Timeline

The content evaluation process is a daunting task.  The initial spreadsheet can contain 1,000’s and 1,000’s of discrete pieces of content.  Think about it.  You have pages, documents, news stories, images, videos, marketing lists, subscriber lists – well, the list goes on and on.  Give someone that spreadsheet and ask them to evaluate it is a RGE (resume generating event).  Instead, break up the process into smaller tasks that actually seem doable.  Some important milestones include:

      ·         Identify who owns each piece of content

      ·         Identify who will evaluate each piece of content
Each department lead can assign someone else on their staff to perform the actual evaluation

      ·         Decide if the content needs to be migrated, updated and migrated, or archived
Train your evaluators to archive as much as possible.

      ·         Map the content identified for migration to the new solution based on its Information Architecture and taxonomy.

Each one of these steps will vary in length of time, but if you keep everyone focused on the current task and not the whole process, then you stand a better chance that they won’t give up.

Training

Training is essential for your department leads and content evaluators.  They need to understand the importance of the task and how to do it properly.  Take the time to have a half day working sessions on the process and timeline.  Walk them through each phase so they know what is expected of them and how to evaluate the content.  During these workshops, the leads and evaluators will develop a team mentality and know they have other peers to go to with questions or concerns.

Monitor

As the project works its way through the different phases, you should schedule weekly or bi-weekly check-ins.  These check-ins accomplish a couple of important things:

      ·         The Check-ins allow you to monitor the progress of the groups.  If a group is falling behind, you can nudge them along or provide more support to keep them on track.

      ·         The Check-ins provide a forum for your evaluators to ask questions and all groups can benefit from the answers. 

      ·         The Check-ins keep consistency in how each group is evaluating the content. 

      ·         The Check-ins provide time to refresh the group on how they accomplish the next task in the process.

No one said it would be easy, but if you plan ahead and train your team, then you can have a successful migration to the new solution.  Whatever you do – I cannot stress enough – DON’T MIGRATE EVERYTHING IN BULK.  Take the time to clean house and start fresh with important, up-to-date, relevant content.  Remember, the new solution might be sleek with all sorts of fancy new functionality, but if your content is out-of-date, redundant, and/or trivial, your users will know.​ 

Need help planning your SharePoint Migration or Upgrade? Take a look at our SharePoint Pre-Migration Assessment​ offering. ​​

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