A great article to improve your SharePoint environment by using your SQL Server. Click here to view the full article.
As part of any large ITO deal within a large IT organisation you are sucked into accounts on a particular role to fulfil a particular contractual obligation. I spend the best part of a year on such an account. My role was the Data Migration Lead for one of the largest implementations of a SharePoint 2013 farm in the UK. The SharePoint farm is to be used by 140,000 people across the UK and has over 40 servers! My role was to facilitate the migration of existing solutions to SharePoint 2013 (On-premise).
A large public sector organisation within the UK government currently have a number of internal online solutions which provide various facilities such as team collaboration, blogs, wikis, document storage and a managed publishing intranet site. Each solution uses a different tool to provide said service. For example team collaboration uses Documentum eRooms. The managed publishing site uses Oracle Stellent & Publishing Server. The majority (all except the intranet solution) have been implemented as pilots which have turned into production systems without any proper testing or capacity planning. This has been due to the lack of business focus on a particular solution and new tools being introduced over a span of 10 years. To remedy this, a project to combine these existing web based services to a new platform – SharePoint 2013 (On premise) is being undertaken. As part of the new solution there is a great desire for one platform for all ‘web based’ services and to migrate any data from the existing tools.
I have never been involved in a migration of this scale. I thought I have a solid understanding of SharePoint, I have the capacity to analyse existing solutions and I understood what the end result needs to be. So how difficult could it be? Very it turns out!
To summarise I had to:
My first task was to develop a migration strategy. This was a plan of attack. How would we migrate each solution in its current form to SharePoint 2013. First things first, I googled ‘data migration strategy’. The results came up with a number of slides and articles with useful pieces of information which got me thinking. From all this information I came up with three very high level steps. The first step is to understand the ‘as is’. The second the ‘to be’. The third to map the two.
So with these three key steps identified, I decided to delve a little deeper into what is required. I formalised my approach into three phases:
Great! We are nearly there, or so it would seem….
So I had a strategy and it was agreed by all parties. Then came the analysis and workshops to understand the finer details. This is a time consuming process as business stakeholders and end users have day jobs and need to be available to help you to understand the ‘as is’ solutions. Getting agreement from the business on which data sources are to be migrated is a must. The owners, administrators and users of the existing solutions provide an insight into:
After understanding the ‘as is’ it was time to create the relevant documentation to enable the delivery of the migration. This involved the implementation plans, success matrix, communication plans, roll back plans etc. As we opted to use a third party tool to aid in the migration, a procurement process was instigated to ensure the correct tool was selected based on fair and measurable criteria. As these items progressed the business needed to agree and cleanse the data they had created over the past 10 years. This, as you can imagine was a laborious task which still being undertaken today! This approach has been a great way to structure a migration which focuses on business needs and provides solutions to existing pain points. It provided a solid foundation to adapt when required during the process and provided a road map for the team implementing the migration.
Its high level approach was intentional as it needed to provide flexibility to allow for a variety of data sources. It did take into account that the destination: SharePoint 2013.
Below I have highlighted some key points to consider when undertaking a data migration to any SharePoint farm:
Hopefully my experience with this process has been useful to you. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to get in touch… Happy migrating!
Many intranet projects start with the best of intentions. It doesn’t take much to get distracted or sidelined with other priorities. To get back on track with your intranet here are my top 5 points from a list of 27 to consider for user adoption.
1. Acronym Wiki – Ensuring that everyone understands the lingo!
2. FAQs – Providing a facility to showcase a repository of commonly asked questions.
3. New hire announcements – Great for small organisations to know who is coming into the company.
4. SharePoint solution showcase – a great opportunity to show how SharePoint can provide business solutions which can be utilised by the organisation.
5. Top Searches – Providing an insight into what people in the organisation are looking for on their intranet.
Many thanks to Richard Harbridge.
SPCAF – SharePoint Code Analysis Framework, is in its first public release. It provides a number of options to analyse code against best practices from a number of perspectives and roles (Admins, developers, architects and quality managers) within a SharePoint environment. Here’s some more detail on the release.
Personally, coming from a developer background I always have leaned towards using ASPX as it has provided me with the flexibility to create custom forms when using SharePoint. I think the main reason is the familiarity and there is no learning curve as it is based on something that becomes second nature. But over recent years I have moved away from coding and focussed more on what SharePoint can provide out of the box. InfoPath provides a good alternative for users of all types to create forms quickly and has some rich features which can be utilised. I have always looked at this subject with my ‘developer hat’ on but now as a Consultant/Architect I think the best solution should always win …
Here is a breakdown of the key features and benefits of using each: