Rescuing a poor Microsoft 365 File Migration

Valto spend a lot of time rescuing poor Microsoft 365 File migrations across SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams. This blog post aims to explore the common issues and how they can be resolved.

Common Challenges

Trying to mimic a file server

The number one issue that we see is that the overall objective for the project is to simply migrate the data in its current format to Microsoft 365 and mimic a file server. The main issue with this is it’s not taking advantage of any of the new functionality available in Microsoft 365 and not providing any major benefits over a traditional file server.

Often users are looking to sync data that they require via windows explorer or offline and want to sync everything available to them like the traditional network drive, but this can cause issues with the limits of the syncing tool (100,000 max sync items) and users need to be trained around selective syncing.

Not simplifying the permissions

The biggest compliant we see in traditional file servers is permissions. Often IT departments are given the challenge of defining permissions where departments can access a specific folder which is then complicated further by that department needing to control specific folders to certain individuals within the team or even more complex users outside of the team.

For example, if Finance has a department share everyone in the team accesses with certain restricted folders such as Payroll and Management accounts can be fairly easy to manage but can quickly grow out of control if there are many of these folders and sharing also needs to be granted to people outside of the team like management or directors.

With SharePoint Sharing this can be vastly simplified with users having the ability to share files and folders on an ad-hoc level without needing to involve IT.

sharepoint file sharing

Poor Structure

Often file servers are a result of organisations growing over time. The file server often contains many files that should be archived, folder structures that need to be restructured as the structure has grown organically and no longer suitable for that department’s needs.

A major opportunity before any file migration is to fully consider the best structure for the files and ensure this is in line with leveraging new tools like SharePoint and Microsoft Teams.

Once the structure has been defined working with the departments to cleanse the folders, archive data that is no longer needed and redefine a folder structure that works for the departments current needs.

Lack of Governance

Once you have spent time defining the structure and have migrated the files over to the platform, not having governance in place and locking down who can create SharePoint sites and Microsoft Teams can quickly cause confusion. This is because users can create additional areas to store files and users will not be sure where their files are stored.

This is a term we have coined Teams sprawl and can quickly cause issues with adoption, security & governance if not controlled.

Leverage the power of SharePoint & Microsoft Teams

One of the main objectives for a file migration to Microsoft 365 should be to fully leverage the tools available, especially Microsoft Teams.

If a best practice structure is defined with a view to utilise Microsoft Teams, it will provide organisations a major productivity boost and enable organisations for hybrid working.

When departments have a Microsoft Team available with their files and fully leverage the conversations and other functionality the department has everything in one place including conversations to replace emails, files, and a space to host departmental meetings.

This can vastly reduce internal emails that are sent and improve the productivity of the whole organisation.

microsoft teams

Valto’s File Migration Approach

Valto’s approach to starting or rescuing a Microsoft 365 File Migration is a workshop with the aim of defining a best practice structure and migration plan. This typically includes:

  • Microsoft 365 Overview: Showcasing all the available toolsets in the platform. The aim of this is to show department heads and champions how they can get the most out of the platform and what the benefits of a well-defined structure would be. This covers the following:
    • SharePoint Online Files Functionality including versioning and real time collaboration.
    • Microsoft Teams hybrid working and using this alongside the files to boost productivity and remove silos from users working from home.
    • Security benefits using sensitivity and retention labels to streamline legal and compliance obligations.
  • Interviews with individual departments to understand the current folder structure, key files, and work alongside the team to define a plan for cleansing, archiving, and migrating the data to a best practice Microsoft 365 structure.

Our output from the session is to provide our customer with a best practice structure and phased plan to migrate the files to Microsoft 365 leveraging the full functionality available and addressing all the common challenges that are identified in this blog post.

Case Studies

Valto have performed several file rescues for clients including:

  • Auger – Full migration of files from a traditional file server to Microsoft 365 according to best practice with minimal issues from a governance and structure perspective.
  • Hodge Bank – Consultative guidance for the IT department to define a best practice structure and migrate files to Microsoft 365 leveraging the full capabilities of SharePoint and Microsoft Teams.
  • Swingers Crazy Golf – Rescue of a file migration where the user was facing significant issues with syncing and accessing files. This project involved a workshop to redefine the structure and produce a best practice deployment and migration.

About Valto Microsoft 365 Specialists

Valto are here to help you with all your Microsoft 365 projects.

Valto are here to help you with all your Microsoft 365 projects if you are planning a Microsoft 365 File Migration or have already completed one and are experiencing issues contact our team.

Email, Contacts Us or Call on 03335 779 009.

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