Organizations that are pondering a move to Microsoft Corp.’s SharePoint 2016 might see a lot that’s familiar to them, according a to recent webinar presented by Metalogix International.
“The five things you need to know before migrating to SharePoint 2016 are the things you need to know to migrate to SharePoint 2013,” said Ryan Patrick Tully, a product manager at Metalogix who has focused on SharePoint for the past four years. But while he notes the UI hasn’t changed much in its latest incarnation, SharePoint migration can still be a tricky proposition.
“There are a lot of the same options that we are used to seeing in Office,” Tully said of the latest UI. “There is a reason for that.” It’s not SharePoint 2013 with a slight overhaul. SharePoint 2016 represents Microsoft’s efforts to combine the best elements of previous cloud-based version and Office 365 into an on-premise iteration, he said, and there also benefits for a hybrid environment. “It cares about talking to the cloud for a lot of your business functions.”
It doesn’t mean you have to be on the cloud, said Tully, or use Office 365. For example, there’s lots of benefits to using Microsoft OneDrive, which is also available on-premise, although he emphasized the storage advantages of having it the cloud. In the meantime, administration for the latest SharePoint isn’t a dramatic departure from its predecessor.
The five things Tully outlines are good advice for moving to other content and collaboration tools including Office 365. The first is making sure there is a collaboration and content strategy in place. “A lot of people start out with SharePoint being a document repository.” Documents are placed in SharePoint because it’s better than a file share, he said. “If that’s your strategy around SharePoint, great.” However, if the organization is looking to do more with SharePoint and using it as key part of its collaboration infrastructure, than there needs to be a strategy in place that is aligned with current and future business goals. “Does it represent our current organizational strategy?”
The second thing organizations need to do is create inventories around current SharePoint content infrastructures, said Tully. “The content is what end users care about.” The infrastructure is more around what impacts administration of the SharePoint deployment, such as having the correct hierarchy design. “Is there sprawl going down in my environment and do I need to lock that down?” Migration could be an opportunity to address that sprawl, he said, including a clean-up of content that is no longer needed. “If you clean it up first, your life will be so much easier.”
The third thing to keep in mind is understanding what features and functionality are available in SharePoint 2016, said Tully. “Understand what your plan is around that new functionality.” That includes whether you are going to going hybrid, which leads into the fourth thing: developing an information architecture, which takes content, context and users and deciding how you are going to use SharePoint 2016, said Tully, including workflows and business processes.
Finally, there is optimization, which Tully said has five pillars: architecture, network, database, customization and add-ins/ applications. “There is more to take into consideration than what my site, my sub-site and library infrastructure is going to look like.” He advised that branded pages will have to be rebuilt in 2016.
And if there are custom solutions in the existing SharePoint environment, Tully said organizations should look to convert their code to the app model. “If you go the app model, you can push it over to the Office 365 model too and really get that true hybrid approach that you are looking for.”