Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Migrate content to Microsoft 365 – Acknowledgement of change

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Sander Derix
I want to know what drives you as a business, what your goals are, what capabilities you need so I can design and help realize solutions that are both realistic and manageable. In short getting you to the next level. I do this partly by the use of technology. I mainly focus on the services of Microsoft 365.

This blog is the first of a series about content migrations to Microsoft 365

Being able to work and collaborate in a safe manner on a secure device. A promise made by Microsoft 365 and a huge prerequisite to deliver this promise. To realize this promise your employees need to be able to collaborate on all that content on those dreaded file shares. An accumulation of company data that has grown over the years, which nobody bothered to clean or restructure. …and now it’s up to you to move it to the cloud.

A content migration is – in general – part of a larger plan. Seldom it is the starter of a transformation. When you look at it more closely this is true. You don’t transform your business by moving your files  to the cloud. You transform your business by the possibilities Microsoft 365 has to offer by working IN the cloud. That’s why a content migration is an enabler for your business transformation.

Why migrations aren’t simple

Nothing in life is for free. In order to reach anything you need to put in an effort. Same goes for a content migration.

Setting the scene: Contoso has a desire to make the move to Microsoft 365. You’ve been hired by Contoso to design the collaboration solution architecture. One of things you need to do is migrate the content on the fileshares to Microsoft 365.

Acknowledgement of changeMigration framework Acknowledgement of change

IMHO one of the most important things you, and especially your stakeholders must understand is the following:

  • The way people collaborate will change
  • The way content is being used, consumed and created will change
  • The way the new technology works will cause change.

With that, you are transforming your (internal) business and thus it will have consequences along the way. You should now be aware that moving large quantities of documents, e.g. your files hares, to the cloud is much more than a (big) copy/paste action.

You need to manage that change by using adoption. Adoption is outside the scope of this blog.

Give me examples! Here you are a few:

Think about it. Contoso is currently working on file shares, sending e-mails with attachments to dozens of employees and everybody replies with updates, nobody has any clue what the latest version of (e.g.) a marketing plan is. Information is only available IN the office. Versions of that marketing plan reside on file shares, laptops, pc’s, usb-sticks. Parts of it, or the entire document, are send to suppliers, external advisors, et cetera. Nothing is connected…. Well, I think you get the picture.

The Contoso employees are moving to a world where everything is connected, real-time document collaboration is the norm, regardless of location in the world, the time of day (or night), device or operating system.

Acknowledgement of complexity

Hopefully we are now aware that a transformation is at hand. Transformations are, in general, complex. A major part of why this is complex is because it involves changing the status quo. If there is anything people (processes and technique) don’t like: it’s change!

By acknowledging a major change is at hand, you (should) acknowledge that this change has to be managed. Your organization has to adopt the new way of working and thus has to understand why this change is being made.

Managing the change and complexity

This is your time to shine!  You need not only to fix the puzzle but you will also need to find all the pieces to solve the puzzle. You do this by creating a solution architecture that clearly defines the future state of the organization, regarding collaboration. There is only one problem (well actually you have about a gazillion, but then I would be writing a book): at this point we have no clue what the business drivers are. What are the goals Contoso wants to realize by moving to Microsoft 365? We need to understand the motivation Contoso has!

I will discuss understanding the motivation in my next blog. Why this is necessary for your design and I will (very lightly) touch describing the motivation in ArchiMate terms.

Lessons learned (hopefully)

The things I tried to get across are the following:

  • Content migrations aren’t merely a copy-paste action from a file share to e.g. SharePoint Online
  • Content migrations are (usually) part of a bigger (transformation) plan
  • Content migrations are very doable if you take a couple of things into account
  • A properly executed content migration is an enabler for transformation your business
  • Adoption will help you manage the change

What’s next?

In the following blogs I will explain:

  • Migrate content to Microsoft 365 – Understand the motivation
    • This blog is about that it is crucial, what the business motivation is. This is necessary for your design. This is about the Motivation layer in ArchiMate
  • Migrate content to Microsoft 365 – Designing the future
    • This blog is about your design for the stakeholders. This is about the business layer in ArchiMate
  • Migrate content to Microsoft 365 – Plan your migration
    • This blog is about identifying the activities necessary and working accordingly
  • Migrate content to Microsoft 365 – Automating your migration using ShareGate
    • This blog is about how to use PowerShell to automate your migration
  • Migrate content to Microsoft 365 – Automated analysis
    • This blog is about how to use Microsoft SQL Server and SSIS to automate your results

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