Common Microsoft 365 content migration mistakes

Snags are common during projects to migrate content from on-premise SharePoint and file shares into SharePoint Online.

Here are 5 you need to look out for.

Published on April 7th, 2022

2 min read

Not defining the paint points being solved

Most of the functionality in Microsoft 365 exists to improve the way people work. Specifically, much of it directly solves problems people currently struggle with.

If you're not super clear on what the current pain points are, you're going to do a bunch of technical work without perceived value.

Examples of pain points directly soothed by migrating to M365 include:

Not being able to use a mobile device to view content.

Can't securely share important files with clients, partners or suppliers.

If someone accidentally deletes something from a file share, IT needs to restore a backup to get it back.

When you solve a pain point, celebrate and promote it. This is one of the best ways to get people on your side.

Not being clear about migration paths

Microsoft 365 opens up a whole new world of content interactivity, but this level of interactivity and shareability depends on whether you're using the containers best suited to each specific purpose.

Dedicating time to a thorough content audit and mapping to find the best destination for each purpose is critical to avoiding frustration later on.

Not testing your technical processes

You can plan the technical migration of content as thoroughly as you may think is necessary, but if you haven't tested each migration scenario with a pilot run, you'll be dead in the water when you can least afford to be.

Just a few snags which could lurk beneath the surface of content sources which may seem straightforward at first:

Metadata mismatches

View and permission limits

URL lengths

To avoid this pitfall, build and run a pilot for each individual migration scenario, even those you think are small and easy.

Attempting to migrate too much at once

Optimism is great, but production migration slots are not the time to be a hero.

Your attempt to migrate 500GB from various sources to SharePoint and OneDrive over a weekend may seem realistic in the weeks leading up to it, but you don't know how many connectivity, throttling or unknown mapping issues you'll encounter late at night.

Give yourself all the buffer you possibly can and break migrations into batches at different times if you can. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Tip: Running pilot migrations beforehand will help you improve your duration accuracy and enable you to create a playbook to handle issues you discover.

Underestimating resistance to change

People become very used to working in certain ways, even if they claim they're ready for change.

You don't want a high-ranking exec undoing a switch from a file share to SharePoint Online because they're not willing to start using the browser to interact with their files.

A few ways to manage change:

Publish readily available simple, to-the-point "This is how you now do XYZ" documentation

Distribute Q&As at launch

Run open "Ask a question" sessions regularly during the first few weeks after go-live

Have a very clear channel for capturing and attending to questions or concerns

Appoint migration champions to help field queries and casually check in with their colleagues

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