7 steps for planning an Azure migration

Migrating to the cloud is a strategic investment. Most organisations that are building a digital workplace based on the cloud choose to go with an Azure-based migration, and with good reason. In our view, Azure is the best-in-class cloud option due to its flexibility, scalability and capabilities such as reporting and integrations; it delivers a wide range of benefits from cost reduction, to business continuity, to supporting your digital workplace strategy. It is also the obvious choice for anyone focused on the Microsoft stack.

If you are going ahead with an Azure cloud migration, you need to adequately plan for it, both surrounding the details of the migration itself and the longer-term impact and ongoing management. Note that these are not just technical considerations but also business ones; moving to the cloud is as much about business transformation as it is about technology change.

In this article, were going to cover seven of the key areas you need to think about from a business and future management perspective when you are planning your Azure cloud migration.

1 Work out your scope and strategy

The starting point for any Azure migration must be to properly define your scope and strategy. This needs to focus as much on the business benefits as it does on the technical ones, meaning it requires discussions beyond the IT function or digital workplace team.

When speaking to other key business stakeholders and support functions about the transition, it is good to try and reach alignment and consensus. Not only should your cloud migration strategy and scope align with your overall company strategy, but it should take into account the different needs, plans and roadmaps of key stakeholders. Here, the different priorities and technical plans of other teams can impact the prioritisation of the steps in your migration, its timing and even some of the detail.

A strategy and scoping exercise working with other stakeholders can help to identify areas of value, potential challenges you may face and dependencies to factor in. It can also help you build up the relationships that will help further down the line with the actual implementation.

2 Audit your data and apps

Your strategy and scope might define the higher-level roadmap, but you will need to carry out an audit of the data you already hold and the various apps that are in use to define the detail around your Azure migration. Companies that have built up acquisitions and mergers often have huge collections of legacy data and content that might need to be migrated, and it is not unusual to discover collections that IT functions were previously unaware of while auditing. Youll also want to map the applications in use to decide what to bring over; this process has value regardless because it may help identify opportunities to simplify your application landscape.

An audit of your data and any related applications is not just about having a list of what is out there: its also important to identify a clear owner for each item (not always as straightforward as it might seem), as well as any issues – for example, around security and compliance or dependencies – which might impact if and how content is migrated.

3 Define your security and compliance needs

Its essential to involve the right people in your Azure migration planning – early conversations with your Information Security team and your Legal, Compliance & Regulatory team are strongly advised.

From a stakeholder management perspective, you may need to allay any fears they have, but they will also help identify any risks and advise on how they can be mitigated. For example, if you work in a regulated industry, there may be some data that must remain on-premises for compliance reasons.

Similarly, the territory of where data resides can be important. Here, Microsoft has country-specific data residency options – another strength of Azure. You may also need to identify replication policies between on-premises and cloud, a process which aids in adequately supporting your business continuity needs.

4 Ensure you have the right skills in place

Azure cloud migrations can be complex, and its important to ensure you have the right skills and experience in place for them to go smoothly. Ideally, you want to have someone on the migration team who has worked on an Azure migration before and can spread knowledge to the rest of the team; of course, there are options to bring in external expertise to fill any gaps here. As with most Microsoft offerings, there are a number of additional self-service resources that are available to help you plan your Azure migration.

5 Consider the change management effort

Migrating to the cloud is a business change which can significantly impact employees, particularly if they are moving to using Microsoft 365 for the first time. There can also be concerns from staff about security and risk. Always consider the change management aspects of your migration in terms of securing buy-in, supporting new ways of working, handling any disruption caused by the implementation and implementing any necessary communications in response to negative perceptions about Azure.

6 Commit to managing Azure

Although not always acknowledged, Azure does require some commitment to manage it, and you should always factor this into your resourcing plan for after the migration. Firstly, without active management, you will not necessarily be able to take advantage of all the analytics, services and integrations that Azure delivers and which can kickstart transformation for your business.

Secondly, its worth remembering that Azure is still a relatively new platform. Microsoft continues to invest in Azure to make it better and better which is highly positive, but it does mean that features within the system may be upgraded or even removed, and this may require action from time to time. For example, if you are working with Azure integrations, these may need to be upgraded.

As with any cloud service, managing these changes is unavoidable. Overall, going in with an active commitment to and mindset for managing Azure is the best approach.

7 Define the future roadmap too

Youll already know that you need to meticulously plan for the actual implementation, particularly in order to avoid any interruption of service. It can be good to draw up a detailed roadmap covering the specific steps to be taken after the launch too, in order to ensure you keep up the momentum, follow through with benefits, consider any ongoing change management needs and support a programme of continuous improvement.

Migrating to Azure

Migrating to Azure has enormous value, but you need to view it as both a technical and business change. If youd like to discuss your Azure migration strategy, then get in touch!

10 benefits of an Azure cloud migration

Many organisations and IT functions have chosen to migrate to the cloud, forming a backbone of IT strategy, business continuity, digital workplace and even digital transformation plans. There are myriad reasons to move over to the cloud, including reduced costs, increased flexibility, ease of management and the sheer power it can give even small organisations to produce game-changing solutions and exceptional digital workplaces.

Although there are different providers to consider when planning out a cloud migration, many organisations choose an Azure-based migration. For many of the customers we work with here at Content Formula, going down the Azure migration route is a no-brainer.

In this article, were going to explore ten key benefits of an Azure migration. Some of these relate to the general advantages of moving to the cloud, but most are specific to why we believe Azure is the best option for almost every organisation.

1 Azure is best-in-class

Make no mistake, Azure is a best-in-class option for cloud migrations. Microsoft has invested heavily in ensuring that Azure is leading-edge  relating to both Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), providing excellent scalability, performance, controls and services for global enterprises and small companies alike. IT functions also have confidence and certainty that they are investing in a platform that will continue to be industry-leading.

2 Its a Microsoft platform

Whilst Microsoft as an organisation can provoke strong reactions in people, its undeniable that the company has played a major role in supporting the evolution of the cloud and the digital workplace. Many organisations and IT functions are attracted to Azure because it is a Microsoft platform and aligns with technology roadmaps and digital workplaces strategies that are already based on the Microsoft stack.

Microsoft also drives confidence among IT professionals who are already comfortable working with Microsoft technologies but also want to get solid experience of working with Azure; working on an Azure migration is transferable experience that supports career progression.

3 Business continuity

Business continuity has always been a key reason for migrating to the cloud. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has proved just how critical this is, ensuring that businesses were able to implement remote working at scale and speed through access to the right tools and cloud-based files. Of course, business continuity also covers elements such as extreme weather events, ransomware attacks and issues with on-premises installations. Here, Azure migrations have proved to be a successful pillar of thousands of business continuity strategies.

4 Digital workplace and digital employee experience strategy

Having a successful digital workplace and accompanying digital employee experience strategy is now a given for most organisations. Here, Microsoft 365 and Azure are at the centre of most organisations digital workplace strategies, providing world-class opportunities for communication, collaboration and digital transformation. As a key enabler of a successful Microsoft-driven digital workplace and digital employee experience strategy and roadmap, Azure migration is an option which opens up multiple possibilities to develop a digital workplace.

Theres also a future-proofing element here, as you can be confident that Microsoft will continue to improve and extend the power of Azure to meet future digital workplace needs.

5 Scalability

The scalability of Azure is an obvious area of strength. Both a small organisation with fewer than 50 people and a global mega-corporation with a six or even seven-figure workforce can scale-up and scale-down very quickly with the Azure platform.  This scalability also ensures IT teams can plan and tightly control their migration with confidence.

Scalability is important. As the pandemic has shown, the world is highly unpredictable, and Azure can more than meet unexpected requirements as well as deal with more planned business restructures.  Azure also has robust autoscaling capabilities that reflect daily changes in use which can occur, particularly in global organisations.

6 Costs

Costs are going to be a major driver for any cloud migration. With an Azure migration, there is the potential to massively reduce infrastructure costs for larger enterprises. At the same time, smaller enterprises get access to a platform and its related services, analytics and more at a fraction of the cost that would have previously been possible.

7 Security and compliance

Microsoft has invested heavily in security and compliance features to ensure that organisational data on Azure has robust, enterprise-grade security in place and that most of the complex compliance, legal and regulatory needs of global organisations can be met. This is reflected in everything from increasing flexibility in the territories in which data is technically stored, to good administration controls for Azure Active Directory (AAD), to tools to help you find personally identifiable information (PII) for GDPR-related compliance.  There are also some industry-specific solutions, such as those relating to government institutions. Choosing Azure as your migration platform will give you access to the best security available as well as a strong ability to meet compliance needs.

8 Analytics

Another benefit from Azure is that it comes with some strong analytical and reporting features that can help with  delivering insights, but also in monitoring the platform.  For example, there are dashboards which can reveal insights from big data, give recommendations relating to security and also  help with the general management of the platform. As hybrid patterns of work continue with increased use of the digital workplace, we think Azure-driven data insights will continue to grow in importance.

9 Services

Azure comes with some advanced services and frameworks that organisations can tap into to deliver a variety of digital workplace capabilities, including AI-driven solutions. These continue to grow in sophistication and include translation services, cognitive services with natural language understanding, big data processing and even facial recognition. Developers and increasingly low-code or no-code solutions can easily make instant API calls to these services to deliver sophisticated apps.

10 Integrations

The creation of apps is also supported by a library of out-of-the-box integrations in Azure. These cover both widely-used Microsoft tools and popular non-Microsoft applications like ServiceNow. To take full advantage of these integrations, developers can use Azure Logic Apps to build sophisticated workflows that work at scale and lightning speed, and again deliver strong digital workplace solutions. The library connectors also enable rapid development, shaving development time where in the past integrations were much harder and took longer to develop.

The power of Azure

Cloud migration is definitely the direction of travel for most organisations and IT functions. Azure cloud migration is, in our opinion, the best choice due to a wide variety of benefits. If youd like to discuss migrating to Azure, then get in touch!

Why you should migrate from classic SharePoint to modern SharePoint

Modern SharePoint has been around for four years, and while there were some initial gaps in functionality and capability when compared to classic SharePoint, the platform has now matured to the extent that migrating from classic to modern makes a lot of sense.

There are still many companies who have yet to make the move. One of the reasons for this is that they have customised environments based on classic SharePoint, meaning that migration to the new system will cause operational headaches and incur some costs. While these are short-term pains, in the medium- to longer-term, organisations will reap multiple benefits from moving to modern SharePoint.

In this article, were going to look at ten advantages that modern SharePoint has over classic SharePoint, and why you should consider migrating sooner rather than later. For a more detailed view of the differences between the two, you can also see the information provided by Microsoft.

1 Superior and more user-friendly interfaces

If you were involved in one of those huge custom intranet developments based on classic SharePoint from a few years back, youll know that a recurrent theme in the design was an attempt to develop a UI that ensured users were protected from the more confusing elements of the classic interface. A classic SharePoint intranet that looked as dissimilar to SharePoint as possible was regarded as a good thing. Thankfully, the far more up-to-date and user-friendly interfaces associated with out-of-the-box modern SharePoint are hugely superior to classic, resulting in more attractive and intuitive digital workplaces and intranets, supporting better adoption.

This has had a significant impact on super-users and site owners covering both communication and collaboration who can now manage their own sites with greater ease and confidence, allowing digital workplaces to flourish and evolve. Quite frankly, we dont want to return to the bad old days of the classic interface.

2 Better news and publishing

One of the mysteries of classic SharePoint was why Microsoft failed to develop a decent content publishing experience, particularly for news and updates, given the dominance of SharePoint as the base technology for corporate intranets.

Of course, modern SharePoint provides much better support for news publishing, with not only attractive web parts, but also the ease with which users can create and publish an item. Communication sites, for example, can effectively democratise internal communications within their enterprises by potentially opening up news publishing to all, encouraging news and content publishing at both team and function levels, and offering easy layouts and options. Meanwhile, internal communications teams can also leverage modern SharePoints web parts to drive publishing at the corporate intranet level. Any approach that involves devolved publishing is far easier to achieve using modern SharePoint compared to classic.

Get in touch to discuss your project


3 Better and more comprehensive mobile experience

A major draw of the modern SharePoint is a far superior and more comprehensive mobile experience. The poor mobile support for classic SharePoint has always been a pain point, but all modern SharePoint site templates and web parts are responsive by default. Its not just mobile browsers that benefit from modern SharePoint, but also the app too: with modern, the SharePoint app now provides comprehensive mobile access, avoiding the gaping holes in the app associated with classic SharePoint. With modern, organisations no longer need to rely on third-party or customised apps.

4 Better integrated team sites

In classic SharePoint, arguably the star of the show is team sites, a great way to drive collaboration at scale. But modern team sites offer even more, fully leveraging the power of Microsoft / Office 365 groups, meaning you can more easily add elements from across the Microsoft 365 suite such as Planner, Yammer, Calendar and Stream. These features may already be part of your digital workplace, in which case migrating over to modern means you can start to deliver far more integrated and richer team sites.

4 A multitude of better features across libraries, lists and more

SharePoint is a highly complex and mature platform with a huge range of capabilities. As Microsoft has invested in and improved the modern experience, the gap between the capabilities in classic and modern has grown.

This is shown when you look at the detail in two of the core features of SharePoint lists and libraries. In modern SharePoint libraries, you can download multiple files in one go and upload an entire folder, and the admin interfaces are quicker and easier to use for tasks such as updating metadata.  Here, the devil can be in the detail, and whilst some of the capability gaps might seem modest, they can be highly significant to individual users and admin in particular scenarios. Over the whole platform, these enhanced capabilities point to a significant advantage of using modern SharePoint.

6 Leveraging modern site templates

Modern SharePoint comes with a range of different site templates that are ready out-of-the-box and give teams a head-start in supporting collaboration and communication needs, as well as in stitching these together into a more cohesive digital workplace experience. Organisations are using modern communication sites, hub sites, team sites and home sites to not only help site owners get up and running more quicky and become self-sufficient, but also to drive a more integrated experience that is not available in classic. Whats more, there are now page templates in SharePoint modern too which make it extremely easy to standardise content creation within your organisation.


Get in touch to discuss your project


7 Reducing the need for customisations

The rise of cloud-based systems has changed attitudes to managing platforms, even for on-premises solutions. While some light customisations are important for the individual needs of organisations, heavily customised environments result in significant additional costs and huge effort around upgrades, and can limit the use of new features for users. Most IT functions will want to avoid customisations as far as possible, but classic SharePoint usually needs far more customisations than modern SharePoint in order to deliver a strong user experience and generate business value. To adopt a less customised environment, a migration from classic may well be required.

8 Quicker implementations and continuous improvement

With next to no customisations in modern SharePoint, and site templates readily available out-of-the-box, it is far easier to perform implementations quickly. Nobody wants to go back to the old days of long, expensive classic SharePoint intranet implementations – we certainly dont!  Modern SharePoint also means it is far easier to make small, iterative ongoing changes, and ultimately drive a more agile digital workplace or intranet based on continuous improvement. In turn, this means you can react much better to employee feedback and drive a platform that can be smoothly adopted and have more business impact.

9 Integration with the rest of Microsoft 365

Because SharePoint is intertwined with the rest of the Microsoft 365 suite, many organisations think in terms of the whole platform and what it can do, rather than just SharePoint. A huge advantage of modern SharePoint over classic is that it integrates far more easily and tightly with the rest of the Microsoft universe.

To fully leverage the power of collaboration and communication in Microsoft Teams, alongside the workflow and automation of Power Automate from your SharePoint environment, then going down a modern route is the way to go, allowing you to evolve a fully integrated and consistent experience.

10 Future proofing your digital workplace

Microsoft continue to invest in modern SharePoint and while its still possible to maintain a classic SharePoint experience, its long-term future is unclear. We suspect it will stick around for quite a while, but one day, Microsoft may make an announcement that either officially ends support for classic, or renders that day inevitable.  Moving to modern makes sense in order to ensure you can leverage the continuous improvement and investment in the platform.

Microsoft also has a vast ecosystem of suppliers and developers who continue to create solutions, plug-ins and more that work alongside modern SharePoint and can add value to your digital workplace; the intranet-in-a-box market is a classic example. With an eye to the future, these solutions are now likely to be developed to work with modern SharePoint rather than classic, meaning moving to modern SharePoint ultimately helps to future-proof your digital workplace.

Get in touch to discuss your project


Have any questions? Get in touch!

In our view, modern SharePoint beats classic SharePoint in numerous ways. There are many other areas we could have covered in this article, including better performance, better security, easier development and more. If youd like to discuss the differences between classic and modern SharePoint and migrating across the systems, then get in touch!

Five tips for migrating Jive to SharePoint Online

Jive has been a leading social platform for many years that also has the advantage of being able to present content in an integrated way, leading to strong social intranets and collaboration platforms. However, in recent years there is a feeling that Jive has had less investment than other platforms like Microsoft 365, and that it can be expensive.

With many organisations now fully wanting to leverage their investment in Microsoft 365, SharePoint and Azure, some teams are considering retiring Jive and migrating the content and capabilities to the Microsoft 365 platform. The driver for this is not to just reduce costs, but also to  consolidate communication and collaboration channels to drive a better employee experience.

However, migrating Jive to SharePoint or SharePoint Online is neither straightforward or easy and some thought and planning needs to be done to mitigate risk and plan for a smooth project.

Here at Content Formula we recently helped on a Jive migration project with TTEC, a US-based global provider of customer experience solutions with 50,000 employees. Previously we worked with TTEC on the roll-out of a new intranet based on Wizdom and SharePoint Online.

Here are five tips for migrating Jive to SharePoint:


1. Define the migration that works for you

No two instances of Jive are the same and neither is a roll-out of SharePoint Online or Microsoft 365. Because Jive can be used for social collaboration, team-orientated workspaces and for content, Jive implementations can differ from organisation to organisation. For example, TTEC has tended to use Jive for presenting content, but other clients use it more for community spaces.

Similarly, organisations use Microsoft 365 and SharePoint in different ways: t in terms of collaboration (team sites, Microsoft Teams, Yammer), content (SharePoint modern and classic) and cloud (some elements of the digital workplace may still be on-premises.)

For this reason you simply cannot take a cookie-cutter approach to a Jive migration, and you need to consider usage of your existing Jive platform, how Microsoft 365 is being used and the future value you want to drive from the platform. Take time to define the migration that works for you; there is no such thing as a like-for-like migration here.


2. Consider this a Microsoft 365 migration, not just SharePoint

Because Jive is a social platform, your migration  may be leaning on the use of the wider tools across the Microsoft 365 platform such as Yammer and Microsoft Teams. For example, a community space on Jive may well likely better leverage the power of Yammer.  For this reason, it is best to consider your migration in terms of all Microsoft 365 tools rather than just SharePoint.

However, for TTEC because the focus was on content and workspaces, the migration principally involved SharePoint team sites, although this is unlikely to be the case for every migration.


3. Don’t lift and shift, take a content and community-led approach

Often the migration to a new platform is often the perfect time to review what is really necessary to take over, both in terms of content and sites. More often than not the majority of content on a legacy platform can be deleted or needs to be rewritten; similarly, sites for teams and groups often need to be restructured and refreshed.  Teams should avoid  lift and shift, simply dumping the content from an old site to the new; instead they should take a more content and community-centric view of which content should be taken over to create a compelling new platform.

The team at TTEC decided to avoid this lift and shift. They encouraged all site owners to review their existing Jive content by exporting a view of it into a CSV file, and from this consider the structure and content of their new site. Site owners were then encouraged to create and build their new team site using this as a reference. While this approach sounds more time-consuming it has resulted in high quality team sites that are critical for adoption, and that have significantly cut out noise, making sites more relevant for users.


4. Automate where it makes sense to

Although avoiding lift and shift involves more manual processes in reviewing and rebuilding sites, it  still makes sense to automate as much of the migration as possible. For example, at TTEC the IT function ensured that documents and images from existing sites could easily be migrated into SharePoint team sites by content owners through a drag and drop exercise. This saved considerable time but still encouraged site owners to think about the documents that did not need to come over. Automation and related scripts can obviously help with more complex aspects of a migration such as discussion threads.


5. Empower your site owners

If you are asking your site owners to play a prominent role in the migration then it is absolutely critical that they are engaged and empowered, viewing the migration as an opportunity to improve their site and drive more value.

For example, we supported TTEC by running numerous online training sessions with site owners all around the world covering how to set up a site, the web parts to include and creating content. We also included tips and tricks and created model page and site templates to guide content owners to get the best out of SharePoint team sites.


Need help with your Jive migration?

The TTEC Jive migration has proved very successful. There was less push back from site owners than might be expected and employees are starting to use the team sites that are fully embedded within the SharePoint Online intranet environment.

If you are planning a Jive to Microsoft 365 implementation it is important to find an implementation partner with the necessary experience. If you need help with your Jive to SharePoint or Microsoft 365 implementation then get in touch.

Skype for Business Online retires in July 2021: seven tips for your upgrade to MS Teams

In the Summer of 2019 Microsoft announced the retirement of Skype for Business Online giving organisations two years to upgrade to Microsoft Teams by 31st July 2021 at the very latest when the service was being switched off. Meanwhile new Office 365 customers go directly onto MS Teams.

The forced switch to Teams is not a huge surprise. MS Teams has been a huge success for Microsoft and in our experiences most users (once they get used to it) seem favourable and adoption levels are good. Microsoft continue to expand and add to MS Teams and it seems like it will be at the centre of many digital workplaces for the next few years.

While Skype for Business formerly Lync has been a mainstay of Microsofts enterprise software for a while, and has been a critical tool in the digital workplace landscape driving instant messaging, video calls and voice calls, it makes sense for these capabilities to sit alongside the enhanced collaboration features of Teams.

Six months have passed since the announcement. The clock is still very much ticking, and you now have almost exactly eighteen months to get over to Teams, and obviously less if youre reading this after January 2020.

If you havent migrated yet we would recommend you start planning it now, particularly if you are a large or complex organisation with many users. The good news is that when you have upgraded, Teams can prove to be an excellent product to drive collaboration and communication across your organisation. But an implementation (and therefore a switch over from Skype for Business) does come with some challenges. In this article well look at some tips and approaches you need to consider in order to prepare for the big switch.

1. Dont leave it to the last minute

If youre reading this in January 2020 then you have eighteen months, but in terms of IT planning thats not actually that long for a major change like the upgrade to Teams. And every day that period is getting less and less. Larger organisations may need to go for some kind of phased approach due to resourcing to roll-out Teams. Dont leave the switch to the day before Microsoft turn off Skype for Business for good.

2. Get familiar with Microsofts upgrade framework

Microsoft have created a detailed upgrade framework that takes organisations through the multiple steps to retire Skype For Business and introduce Teams. From Get started through to Implement your upgrade and Operate, adopt and optimize the framework covers the technical, strategic and change management steps required. It also provides plenty of resources and a downloadable toolkit including templates covering project plans, testing and preparing users for the change. Do make sure you are familiar with the upgrade framework before planning your upgrade project.

3. Be wary of a long transition period

In most large organisations we know the roll-out of Microsoft Teams has been phased. This is mainly due to logistics, but it can also be down to more than one licensing agreement being in place (particularly where companies have been acquired and are still on different Microsoft plans). In a long transition period this can bring some confusion for users as to what tool to use to communicate with others. The Microsoft upgrade framework has steps in place to allow the outgoing Skype for Business and incoming Teams to overlap but with two options everybody has the option to use one or the other or select bits of capability are available in one tool and not the other. In terms of a smooth change, while a transition period will be necessary, one that is too long may cause issues.

4. Have a strategy for Teams

MS Teams is a potentially pivotal technology for the digital workplace that is the linchpin for team collaboration and communication. Its not something you just roll out without thought you need to have a properly scoped out strategy that will help to define, among other things:

  • ownership and responsibilities
  • any technical aspects and issues
  • purpose and objectives
  • usage
  • user support
  • the relationship with other applications that have an overlap in functionality
  • configuration Teams can be configured with lots of integrations, feeds and more (for example a Wizdom intranet can be viewed through Teams)
  • site lifecycle (provisioning through to archive)
  • change management
  • And more!

A strategy also needs to be cross-functional with input from both IT, support functions and the business. In our view launching Teams is big its not a typical IT implementation.

5. Get your change management ducks in a row

Microsoft are right when they say Upgrading from Skype for Business to Teams is more than a technical migration. It represents a transformation in how users communicate and collaborate, and change is not always easy.

MS Teams is a complex environment that can be confusing even for more confident users. You absolutely need to invest in a change management approach that both addresses the specifics about moving over from Skype for Business but also the new possibilities with Teams. Using a Champions Network for peer to peer support and communications is a good option here, perhaps also addressing other digital workplace options to put Teams into full context.

6. Set up Teams site provisioning from the get-go

Because employees use Teams for chat and calls it means that on the surface the adoption of the tool is not necessarily an issue. Weve also found that the setting up of Teams spaces can take off surprisingly quickly. Initially you may be delighted with this, but its amazing how quickly the environment can spin out of control with duplicate Teams spaces, unused spaces, high risk uses and badly named spaces that are impossible to find.

Rather than wait a year and then have a clean-up exercise, it can be worth putting in a simple site provisioning process with approval workflow to keep the environment tidy and on-point. Wizdom, for example, has a great provisioning tool that also allows you to configure different templates for Teams.

7. Speak to others or get external advice

If youre planning your switch over its always worth speaking to your peers from other organisations to hear about their experiences. Hearing those tips and tricks and little pitfalls to avoid can be gold dust. If youre looking for more support, there is always the option of getting external advice that covers technical and strategic aspects. Do get in touch with us if youd like advice on switching over from Skype for Business or if youre rolling out Teams.

Start your planning now!

Organisation and your users will benefit hugely from the upgrade to Teams, but you need the right strategy in place and adequate planning. If you havent started your planning for the switch, you should do so now. This is a significant change act now.

SharePoint Modern vs Classic infographic

Recently, more and more of our customers are facing the SharePoint Modern dilemma: Should they adopt SharePoint Online’s new modern user interface and sacrifice control over the branding? Is Modern a mature enough product to roll out to thousands of employees across the globe? To help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, we created this infographic.

SharePoint Modern vs Classic infographic
SharePoint Modern vs Classic infographic

If you would like more info, read the eight things we love about SharePoint Modern pages.


Video – How to customise MS Teams to your ways of working

We ran a free webinar on October 10th 2018 on how to customise MS teams to your ways of working.

Lots of people know that Teams has taken the digital workplace by storm thanks to its easy-to-use collaboration features. But something people are less aware of is its powerful integration capabilities.

Forward-thinking companies who adopted MS Teams early are now making use of these capabilities and customising it to suit their processes and ways of working. We’ve been helping them do this and now have some useful learnings to share with you.

In this webinar we:

– Show you examples of real-life Teams customisations and integrations that go way beyond what’s available in the tabs.
– Discuss some of the technologies that enable customisation and explain the art of the possible.
– Answer your questions about how Teams can be extended and customised
– Discussing Microsoft’s future plans for Teams.

We will run other webinars. If you want to be informed about these then sign up to our mailing list. You can unsubscribe by clicking the link at the foot of every email we send out.


SharePoint migration paths

Unlike auto-updates on your smartphone, SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 upgrades take considerable labour. SharePoint migration takes a concerted effort; the whole organisation needs to be involved, with business functions following the lead from the portal / intranet manager and IT architects.

Update SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010

A path through the jungleThere is no direct upgrade path from SharePoint 2007 to 2013; everything is just too different.

You can perform a series of database-attach upgrades to step to SharePoint 2010.

  • Are you prepared to pay for 2010 just so you can get to SharePoint 2013? Its possible that your Microsoft rep will be able to help you with costs, but of course its all about the business case.
  • Are you prepared to do a clean install of SharePoint 2013 and then migrate all your data and content by hand, or with a third party migration tool?

On the one hand, an upgrade path of any kind might please your colleagues, while putting most of the stress onto the IT department.

On the other, a fresh start after five or six years might just be the boost your intranet and people need, but few people will be thrilled to lift n shift their content. Frankly, a lot of content will be defunct and misleading, so a serious content audit is necessary whenever you need your content, navigation, and search results to be current and relevant.

Update SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013

The upgrade path from SharePoint 2010 to 2013 is direct, and the IT team (with the right information) can follow the process easily enough, assuming that any third-party customisations cause no bother.

If youre the intranet manager, or a site manager within the enterprise intranet, then youll want to be prepared to upgrade your sites after the site administrator / IT team has upgraded the Site Collection.

My Sites often need to be upgraded by individuals, but the server farm administrator can force the upgrade, so seek clarification about this step.

One assumption to check, is that your 2010 design, skin, theme, branding (whatever you like to call the look of your SharePoint intranet) will work perfectly with SharePoint 2013. Although we might say that HTML and CSS themes are easy to implement, we also have to be aware that the behaviour and configuration of web parts (those widgets we all love) can be complex.

N.B. Upgrading to the latest version of SharePoint does not solve problems that already exist in your environment. While at home, many of us love to upgrade our software in the hope that the bugs will be fixed, with SharePoint its more about the tech architecture.

So, optimise your SharePoint 2010 installation before you begin the upgrade process.

While optimizing SharePoint is a very technical matter, theres also the opportunity and need to review your governance.

Governance should touch on technology, but its mostly about making decisions and getting things done, and so its about people.

Its not all about IT

SharePoint 2013 rollout will fail if people from across the business are not involved from the start. The more decentralised your governance, the more effort will be required to engage site owners, content owners, and stakeholders. The upgrade might be a success, technically, but if people fail to adopt the new features, or revert to their favourite systems (Google services, email) then the value and impact of your efforts will be eroded.

Good governance helps people across the organisation set the agenda, so that the intranet supports real needs and objectives.

Governance covers the processes and politics of managing and improving the intranet,
to ensure it supports business goals.
~ Wedge Black

Both the people side and the tech side of things are crucial to running your SharePoint upgrade to reduce the risk of a stalled migration, and increase the value of your intranet.

Photo credit: McKay Savage

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