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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