SharePoint is a web-based platform introduced by Microsoft to meet the
collaboration requirements of organizations. Effective collaboration and
sharing of documents among employees is vital to the success of an
organization. By implementing SharePoint, organizations reduce their
operational costs and improve productivity.
While implementing SharePoint, organizations needs to move all their
shared content from File Servers to SharePoint. The decisions to migrate
data from a known platform to a new one is really a tough one. Once
decision has been taken, you need to go through a lengthy procedure that
mostly involve the following steps:
1. Requirement analysis
2. Migration planning
3. Pre-migration analysis
5. Migration validation
SharePoint is relatively a new product that is emerging and evolving
gradually to a mature collaboration and content management platform.
Before adopting it in your organization, you should know what it is for,
how it can be utilized effectively, and how suitable is it for your
At first you should decide whether you need an on-premises deployment or
a SharePoint Online subscription (SharePoint Online is available as a
stand-alone product and as a part of Office 365 Suite). There should be a
clarity regarding what need to be moved to the SharePoint from File
Servers. And most importantly, you should understand the limitations of
There are different approaches to File Server to SharePoint migration
process. Careful planning simplifies the migration process very much.
Some organizations like to move the entire content to SharePoint in a
single attempt. But many organizations like to do it many phases. Also,
the organization need to take a decision regarding the timing of
migration – whether to continue with the migration in working hours or
You need to plan the SharePoint information architecture depending on
the requirements of the organization. Design the architecture according
to the data you have. Decide on how to organize SharePoint lists and
libraries, how to place data/content on sites and libraries, and who
will have access to these lists and libraries. You can have multiple
sites and libraries for the better organization of the content.
Information mapping is an important part of the migration. Decide on
which content should go to a particular site or library. You need to
plan Content Types accordingly.
A pre-migration analysis checks for possible troubles that may happen
during the actual migration. A fair understanding of SharePoint
configuration/subscription plan, and SharePoint Limits and Boundaries
will help you to understand and fix most of the possible issues in
advance. While migrating content to SharePoint, one should keep an eye
on the volume of the data, file sizes, number of items, file and folder
names, etc. because of many restrictions enforced by SharePoint. Some
common issues faced in SharePoint migration are mentioned below.
Based on your on-premises infrastructure, or your cloud subscription
plan, you will be having a limit on the volume of data you can migrate
to the SharePoint. You cannot migrate more data without ensuring
additional storage space. And if the number of items you migrate is
larger, you may have to restructure the SharePoint to accommodate the
While naming a file path, file, folder etc. in SharePoint, you need to
remember many things. There is a limit to the number of characters
possible in a SharePoint URL. Also, many characters and end strings are
invalid in SharePoint. If you have file or folder names with such
characters and end strings, you need to change them before the
migration. Also, some file types are blocked in SharePoint, and you
cannot migrate them to SharePoint at all.
Ideally you should move only the shared data from File Server to
SharePoint (Public folders of Exchange Server/Office 365 also can be
moved to SharePoint as they are used by all). You need to configure the
SharePoint environment as per requirement. Migration can be done in
• Manual migration – manual methods are preferred only when the volume of the data to be migrated is small.
• Migration using professional migration tools
– Professional SharePoint Migration tools are preferred when the volume
of the data is very large. Such tools perform pre-migration analysis
and automates the migration process. They usually provide the facility
to schedule the migration too. Before purchasing a tool, go through the
product details and try its trial version if available.
After the migration, you need to ensure that migration has been
accomplished successfully. This can be done by comparing the SharePoint
content with the old source. You need to check whether all the data has
been migrated. Special care should be given to the migration of meta
data and version history. You can double-check the inference by taking
feedbacks from site owners. Also, after the migration you can think of
restructuring the content if changes seem necessary. And finally, the
end users should be given necessary training as SharePoint is a new
platform for them.