Migration to Office 365 from SharePoint On-Premises

by | Aug 10, 2018 | Collaboration | 0 comments

SharePoint Foundation and SharePoint Server have been around for many years.  Many companies have leveraged SharePoint’s collaborative features, creating both internal and external sites that can vary in size from small to large configurations.  However, unless you have a team of SharePoint admins/developers, a company can be stuck trying to fill the void if the main administrator or key developer leaves the company.   This potential risk has highlighted the usefulness of products like Office 365 and SharePoint Online.  SharePoint Online can allow companies to take advantage of some of the great features in SharePoint, without having to maintain the infrastructure of a SharePoint farm.  The question that is asked most?  How do we get started moving sites to SharePoint Online?  Below you can find a checklist of key steps in the migration effort.

Analyze your environment

The first step in the migration effort is to determine what components you have in your current environment.  Information obtained at this stage will be valuable in later steps in the process.  Some of the important pieces of information to include in this stage include:

Determine if there are any issues that could cause problems with the migration

Using the data collected from your analysis of the existing farm, you will then want to proactively mitigate any migration related issues.  There are several areas where problems could occur that should be reviewed:

  • Items with no checked in version
  • Missing required fields
  • Custom solutions
  • Content enrichment
  • Incoming Email
  • Synonyms
  • Branding
  • Content
  • Search customizations and scopes
  • User mapping
  • User Profiles and My Sites

Tenant Configuration

Once some of the initial decisions are made, you must set up and configure the SharePoint Online tenant.  This tenant will be where your SharePoint Online sites will be hosted, as well as where your Azure Active Directory (AD) will exist.  This is where your users for SharePoint Online will be stored.  You can also configure a sync between your on-premises AD and your Azure AD environments.  In addition to synching your users, the tenant you will also configure several other settings, such as:

  • Allowing external users
  • Using New or Old List experiences
  • Setting up company logos in the tenant
  • Setting up appropriate licensing
  • Geographic Location and Time Zone
  • Tenant name

Perform the migration using the tool of your choice

Once you have reached this step, you should have:

  • Gathered info on existing farm
  • Fixed any migration related issues, or at least have a plan
  • Mapped your users
  • Configured your tenant

After completing these previous steps, you should be ready to start the migration process.  As SharePoint Online does not have its own migration tool built in, you must use a 3rd party tool to perform the migration.  Once you have selected and installed the tool of your choice, you can begin initial migrations of the content you have selected to move.  You typically select your source, select your destination, then click go.

Fix any errors

During your typical migration you will receive many warnings and errors associated with the migration.  It will be necessary to evaluate the migration logs and fix any data and site related issues to ensure all content has been successfully migrated to the tenant.  This may or may not involve re-migration of content.

Site Testing

Once content is migrated, you must still manually go through the destination sites to determine everything was transferred and works as it should.  If any data and or content related error occurs, you may have to return to a previous step to fix any errors.

Final Migration

Once sites and pages have been tested and are working on the destination it is time to do a final migration.  The reason to do this would be that some migration can take a long time to complete.   Changes to content on the source is bound to have changed since the start of the migration.  The typical approach to this situation would be to put the source site into read only mode.  This allows for the users to browse the source site, but not make changes.  After doing this, you have 2 choices:

  • Migrate all content again
  • Run a script to determine what content has changed since your migration began and migrate that content only


Once you are satisfied that all needed content and components have been migrated it will be time to cutover to the new site.  There are many approaches to do this including:

  • Simply give your users the new URL and tell them to go there
  • Put in a redirect to forward your users to the new site

Note: It is also recommended to keep your old site up in read only mode for a time, to ensure that you are not missing anything from the old farm.

How Peters & Associates can help

Peters & Associates has been assisting organizations in solving business problems since 1981.  We can help you with:

  • Analysis of existing SharePoint on-premises farms
  • SharePoint Online Tenant Setup and Configuration
  • Setting up AD sync between your on-premises Active Directory and Office 365
  • Choosing the migration tool and helping you learn how to use it to migrate your content
  • Understanding the mitigation options available and determining which one most closely aligns with your needs and budget
  • Implementing the decided upon solution
  • Organizing a cutover plan
  • Training and assistance in user adoption
  • On-going technical support for your Microsoft applications

If you could use assistance with IT Infrastructure or SharePoint intranet solutions, just email us at info@peters.com.  We are happy to help!