Migrating to SharePoint: A rational approach

Migrating to SharePoint

What’s the best way to go about migrating to SharePoint? Of course it depends on where documents are today, the state of the current, if any, SharePoint environment, and how the enterprise operates. Here’s one sensible approach:

  • Understand and assess existing environment
    This includes file shares and SharePoint
  • Capture how users today use documents
    This includes search, edit, collaboration within and outside the organization, versioning and security
  • Document the desired end-state
    This includes Metadata user tagging as well as default tagging, navigation, security and search capabilities, as well as versioning, and collaboration. Metadata analysis includes department and project level needs.
  • Tool selection
    Migration is best achieved via a migration tool. Requirements/size of source/budget drive the selection.
    Some approaches can be found here.
  • Define metadata universe
    Create a centrally managed set of definitions mapped to Content Types and fields.
  • Define Views and metadata navigation
    This supports how users identify documents and narrow their review via forms of filtering.
  • Define Standards
    These include how versioning works, whether documents require approval, document visibility, how documents are managed, and the general limits around document size and
  • Define site structure
    Programmatic creation of site collections, sites, libraries and possibly folders. This allows creation, prototype and demonstration in a development environment, and the ability to recreate a structure in the Production Environment.
  • Define Security
    Define who can access what, and what level access is needed.
  • Define the mapping and rules
    Document which groups of source documents go to specific areas in the destination SharePoint environment.
  • Migration
    The actual migration of documents, which includes mapping and metadata tagging based on agreed rules.
  • Search
    Creation of search capabilities that meet the needs for locating documents.
  • Governance
    Review, refinement and documentation of how the full environment is managed, controlled, updated and refined, as well as who retains which rights and how those rights are assigned.

This approach covers the basics of an enterprise-class structured document management system.  This is just a summary of the categories of efforts involved in creating a system that would serve users’ needs.  There is no single “one-size fits all” when addressing the unique document management needs of an enterprise, especially when building it to meet the unique needs of a company, especially when optimizing it to be a core efficient capability.  There are a range of further capabilities that can be brought to bear, including analytics, integration, and submitting documents via email, as well as deeper MS-Office integration, that would be determined during the initial scoping and requirements.

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