If you and your organization are considering a migration to SharePoint 2016, there are several questions you should ask before you take off. Microsoft’s latest iteration of its famous document management and storage platform is similar from its predecessors, so if you already have a SharePoint environment setup you will be familiar with a lot of these concepts. If you don’t currently use SharePoint, it’s okay, because these questions will still apply if you are considering making the move from another platform.
Without further delay, below are some of the most valuable questions to ask yourself before migrating to SharePoint 2016:
- What are the main differences between my old environment and SharePoint 2016?
As with any business decision, and certainly one as important as whether new software is worthy of a migration or not, it is perhaps best to conduct a gap analysis when trying to come to a conclusion. You should use this method to see if the business benefits will outweigh any of the potential risks.
The highlights of what’s new in SharePoint 2016:
- Greater storage
- More convenient patching
- Hybrid environments
- Better speed
- Improved naming system
- Durable links
One thing you should also remember is that if you’re currently using any features that have been removed in SharePoint 2016, you’ll need to develop a plan to deal with this, and you need to understand the costs involved (if there are any).
- Is my current content structure optimal for my new environment?
An important feature of SharePoint, whatever the iteration, is the structure that allows you to easily manage your site content. Taking the time to analyze and review your content structure is an important aspect of good SharePoint management and doing so prior to any possible migration will save you countless hours. You should make sure that your current content structure will be compatible with your new environment.
- Will I be using a hybrid environment?
If you're going to take advantage of the new cloud features in 2016, you need to fully audit what content is moving on up. Can it go to the cloud? And if so, how much of your content can be stored in the cloud? It is important to know and understand the legal and auditing implications for your company, and in some industries and countries, laws surrounding where you store data could impact how you implement a hybrid environment.
For companies that are constrained by such laws or restrictions, but that still wish to take advantage of the benefits the cloud offers, the best option will likely be a hybrid environment.
- Have I considered cost versus benefits?
Functionality, costs and ROI – these are all important elements to factor in and to evaluate before your move. At this point it’s a good idea to ask yourself (and your business) why you want to migrate to SharePoint 2016 in the first place. Does the functionality of the new version of SharePoint align with your business needs? Will upgrading make a significant difference to the company’s processes? Is the reason behind upgrading to SharePoint 2016 because you want the prettier/faster/fancier/newer version? It’s important that you actively map out costs versus benefits and estimate a realistic ROI. This will give you a better overview of whether you need to migrate and when might be the optimal time to do so.
You can explore more thoughts on the importance of a costs versus benefits analysis further here.
- How will I migrate?
Migrations can be hard. However, they are usually only difficult if you underestimate the process before you begin. You can see that the key theme of our advice across this article has been centered on planning, because that’s the most important part.
But another of the fundamentals to think about is how you are going to execute the process. You can make it easier with consultants and third party tools, or you can migrate manually by carefully planning every step. Here is a list of options you have:
- The native upgrade option
- The parallel or selective upgrade
- Office 365 bypass
These options are related to the other questions in today’s guide. For example, the complexity of the content that you are moving to SharePoint 2016 will likely determine what method you use to get there.
Preparation is the key to success
Asking yourself and your organization these questions will give you a better idea as to the need for a migration, the readiness of your business for a move and what you would need to do to make that move a smoother proposition for your stakeholders. To get even more great advice on how to make sure your migration goes ahead without a hitch, you can read up on top ten tips for migrating to SharePoint 2016 here.
For more information on preparing for a migration or for advice on making the most of your current SharePoint investment, get in touch with us today.