Many businesses in Sydney and beyond have been on a cloud adoption mission over the last 5-10 years, as they ditch their server platforms for more affordable modern workplace environments based on the cloud.

The most widely used cloud service around the world is Microsoft 365. This is due in large part to the familiarity of the Microsoft suite of productivity applications and to the additional collaborative tools provided in the platform.

But one problem that becomes apparent when companies are transitioning and migrating files to Microsoft 365 is that they do it without a well-thought-out plan.

This causes problems like data loss, confusion about which area of the cloud platform the data now resides and missed opportunities for efficiency from just dumping all the data into one place. It also slows down the whole migration project to the point where enthusiasm is lost.

We’ll go through a comprehensive, step-by-step process for a smooth file server to Microsoft 365 data migration that will help you make the most of your new modern workplace environment.

Steps to Successfully Migrate Files to Microsoft 365

The wrong way to migrate data to Microsoft 365 is to just move it all over into a single OneDrive or SharePoint document library. This is often done because users get confused over the multiple storage options in Microsoft 365.

But doing data migration this way just leads to confusion and your files not being where they need to be. This slows down your team and cuts into the productivity boost that moving to the cloud typically brings.

Before you transfer the first file, you should follow a framework that is going to help you move data where it needs to be and take full advantage of all the areas of the Microsoft 365 cloud service.

Step 1: Understand Where Data Can Go

Files aren’t only stored in a single place in Microsoft 365, they can be spread out across a variety of areas to facilitate your work processes. These include:

  • OneDrive
  • Teams
  • Yammer
  • SharePoint Stand Alone Team Sites
  • SharePoint Communication Sites
  • SharePoint Hub Sites

As we go through the next steps, you’ll see that the framework utilizes all these areas of Microsoft 365. You’ll want to ensure you understand what each does and how they all connect and work together.

Step 2: Review Data and Delete Unneeded Information

It doesn’t make sense to move old and outdated data that your office doesn’t need any longer. It’s easy for things like old draft versions of a marketing brochure from 15 years ago to still be hanging around on your server, but it’s a waste of time and resources to bring over old, unneeded files.

Archive all such data one last time, just in case, and then get rid of old and duplicate files that aren’t needed any longer BEFORE you do a migration.

Step 3: Move Users’ Personal Data to their OneDrive

There is a mix of shared and individual files that users work with on a daily basis. When you sign up for Microsoft 365, each user gets their own OneDrive account. Move their personal/individual files to their OneDrive cloud-based space.

These files are typically found on a user’s workstation and include desktop files, home drive files, or data in their user profile.

Step 4: Move Common Data by Function to Teams

Next, look for data that is shared and is regularly updated, discussed, accessed. This can include files included in master folders such as /Finance or /Marketing located on your on-premises server. You can use this file and folder structure to set up your Microsoft Teams chat channel structure and include subfolders.

For example, your folder structure on your server can be duplicated in Teams as makes sense:

  • Finance
    • Compliance
    • Bookkeeping
    • Invoicing
  • Marketing
    • Brochures
    • Events

Move this common data to the appropriate channels in Teams for those channels to easily search and access.

Step 5: Move Common, Static Data to a SharePoint Team Site

Not all common/shared data is used on a regular basis. This can include past company shareholder reports or other information that you want to keep and archive, but it’s not going to be updated.

For these types of static files, a good place to archive them is with a stand-alone SharePoint Team site. This will allow everyone to easily search it and access it for reference when needed, but it won’t be in the way.

You can also mark it read-only as an extra security precaution and as a designator that it’s archive data.

Step 6: Move Externally Shared Data to a SharePoint Team Site

You also want to use a SharePoint Team site for any downloadable data that you make available to external parties. Such as product data sheets or sales brochures that customers can download themselves.

By moving these to their own SharePoint Team site, you can get tracking and security capabilities that allow you to better secure this type of data.

Step 7: Move Companywide Internal Documents to a SharePoint Communications Site

SharePoint communications sites act as a companywide intranet, allowing employees to access the documents they need.

The type of data you’re going to move here would be things like company handbooks, cybersecurity manuals, and other policies and procedure documents.

This site connects to Teams, so for new content, such as a new employee sick leave policy document, the HR department can create it inside their Teams channel and then push it out to the SharePoint communications site intranet.

Step 8: Connect it All with a SharePoint Hub Site

With your data distributed over multiple Microsoft 365 areas, you now want to give users a “master navigation” that can help them find what they need, wherever it may be.

A SharePoint Hub site allows you to do this by creating a top point navigation for all your data and the application where it resides. A great thing about Microsoft 365 applications is that they all connect and can share data, which means any changes/additions are updated in real-time throughout the platform.

Step 9: Yammer for Company Wide Communications

The last bit of data that you need to find a home for are those types of company wide communications such as birthdays, company events, or messages from the CEO.

Unlike Teams, Yammer is more “free-flow” without the channel structure and offers a unique place to broadcast these companywide updates that won’t get lost among division/department Teams channels.

Smart Migrations Start with a Good IT Partner!

NetCare helps Sydney area businesses achieve a more efficient and streamlined workflow. This includes migrating to better work processes and ensuring that data is transferred to the place that makes the most sense.

Contact us today to learn more. Call (02) 9114 9920 or reach out online.