Planning to migrate your older on-prem SharePoint version to SharePoint online? Then this blog will shed light on the possible challenges/ issues you might come across along with the best practices and solutions for a successful migration. It is a common misconception that migrating to an online version is the same as upgrade to latest version except the product will be hosted on cloud. But on the contrary, though they both offer similar capabilities, they are not identical at all.

Top 8 Challenges faced during SharePoint Online Migration

1. Active Directory

The very first problem that you might encounter is the directory health. Identity federation and directory syncing will be part of the migration. If your Active Directory starts showing health issues, chances are that it will slow down the process of directory synchronization.

2. Unorganized Content

Another common scenario can be with unorganized information. It is mostly attributed to the organization and its users. Often sites, libraries, lists, content types and content layouts are maintained in a disorganized way. If you have them all property analyzed and structured in an organized way, the migration becomes much simpler. And if not, even the simple process can become a big challenge and time-intensive event for you.

3. Data Storage

Another bottleneck encountered during the migration project is the storage of data. If you have less space available for your data, it will surely become a challenge. Having more space is not a problem, but one needs to ensure that it is properly organized based on how you want to structure your data.

4. Bulk Migration

It is quite possible that files may not end up in the correct location or can get corrupted during the migration. There is no general rule to take care of this but having similar file types maintained in specific folders helps. Also, there are third-party tools available in the market that are intelligent enough to identify and migrate content based on its type.

5. Loss of Metadata

While migration, all or some metadata that was defined previously might get lost. To overcome this scenario, one must clearly define an inventory of the content, before starting the migration journey, and organize it well with the content types.

6. Customizations

Third-party migration tools are great for migrating to SharePoint Online. However, having a lot of customizations in your existing solution will be a challenge as you need manual intervention at multiple stages. The same may hold good for the permission model as many things might not get inherited properly unless a proper discovery is conducted. The discovery phase will help you organize things that fall outside of third-party migration tools and needs manual migration.

7. Security

Security can pose another area of challenge, as when you manage everything on-premises at a local level; you have the controls at your disposal. But once you move to the cloud, you may not have that kind of control at your hands. The idea of sharing the same multi-tenant server with many other known or unknown companies still becomes a big reason for worry.

However, experts have indicated that cloud is just as secure with its standards and there is no reason to worry for any compromises. And the advantage is that you don’t have to worry about running patches or security updates from time to time, while Microsoft takes care of all of them on a rolling basis, whenever a new update is available.

8. Connectivity

Bandwidth or connectivity speed does also matter at times. If you have a huge chunk of data to migrate and limited bandwidth, migrating to Office 365 can become a daunting process. Even after migration, your SharePoint online can result in endless loading of files and pages due to low bandwidth. The same will apply to Skype for Business where you can experience quality issues with sound and video during a conference.

So what should one do to ensure a smooth migration? Even before you start, you must spend a good time to analyze the content, their owners, the structure, and their importance. This would shorten your overall migration timeline. Not only it will remove the redundant and obsolete data but it will also help you in preparing a governance plan. As everyone knows how important good governance is for securing sensitive content, data structuring and define the prioritization of the segments.

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Rupak Jana

Rupak Jana

Consultant Enterprise Collaboration at Aspire Systems
Rupak is an Enterprise Collaboration consultant with 6 years of experience in the areas of Portal & Content Management.
Rupak Jana