Migration to SharePoint in your business now

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There can be plenty of pain points and it’s not something people share their knowledge about. Luckily Karen Skillings has plenty of information to offer.

Scope of works

Many businesses today are looking for help in moving their staff to O365 and SharePoint, with aspirations to reduce the escalating costs and reliance on land-based server footprints, and removing duplication of systems. The change manager with technical know-how is the perfect person to help the client side IT project manager to do this by first articulating the benefits of a well-structured change program and secondly by facilitating the many phases to enable this work to be successfully completed. The change manager will also manage stakeholder concerns and coordinate the timely provision of services through unified communication and collaboration.

When moving to O365 and SharePoint, businesses can enjoy a flatter IT structure, improved ways of working, reduction in vendor contract management and reduced server footprint – supporting more collaboration, automation, file security and workflow across their business. In understanding the scope of your client, you must first find out how far the business wants to transform. For example, are they looking to move from practices to best practice recommendations and, if so, are they ready to move from decentralised operating models to centralised or federated operating models? Whatever the answer here, the role of the change manager is to assist the business in achieving its data strategy with the key focus on the right operating model for enterprise-wide data management and a return on investment from the people side, technology side and organisational side.

Scoping process

The change manager will collaborate with the client-side project manager as well as functional leads and support staff to understand current state, proposed future state and the businesses perspective on how they can collaborate better with improved knowledge. The scoping process will include interviews to understand all teams’ current environments and how they have been operating before any solution is offered or migration is even possible. The type of questions in the interviews that will help form recommendations appropriate for the specific context of the clients business may include how data is used and valued by the business units, how data is governed both at an organisational and business unit level and how data is stored, managed and retrieved.

With this information, the change manager can provided recommendations and a roadmap for implementation that may consider:

  • efficiencies in how teams can work meeting business strategy with better information flow and all required parties connected to what is going on
  • the required uplift in document management behaviours
  • benefits of tightening up on security of assets, both physical and virtual
  • efficiency gains through cost avoidance of double handling, and
  • mitigation against organisational risks.

The technical stuff they need to understand to enable discussions with IT experts that can broker the best plan and support the business will include:

  • Existing domains?
  • How many licences are required and for which plans?
  • What are the source environments (are staff using old SharePoint versions, Google Docs, TRIM and Dropbox)?
  • How are staff currently accessing data?
  • Are staff required to share data with external parties from their SharePoint environment?
  • What metadata and what file tags are required within each department?
  • What are the existing File and Folder structures in use so the site, subsites, libraries, document sets, folders metadata can be determined?

Responsible parties of the o365 and SharePoint project team

Although people will tell you that this is an easy thing to do, migrating to O365 and SharePoint needs a good deal of focus from the right people. There will be certain roles that will be involved from the beginning to the migration and from migration to business as usual, which is normally overseen by the client-side document controller.

Pivotal Roles will include:

  • Client-side program lead: working with the project sponsor and change manager to prioritise the works, and approving the budget for licenses of subscribed users.
  • Change manager: undertaking file and folder structure validation, liaison with business and third party providers, change management, assisting the comms team and advising any timeline constraints for migration and any concerns.
  • Communications manager: developing staff comms outlining the endorsed improvements.
  • Service delivery team or data architecture team and possibly third party Microsoft solution provider: developing indicative program for migration and/or training to be developed, purchasing licenses, security audit.
  • Document controller: determining suitable folder structure and agreed folder names across all divisions with the change manager and determining the volume of files being migrated across, working with the business to do this.

Accountabilities of the O365 and SharePoint project team

  • Socialise the roadmap of migration from flat file system to SharePoint
  • provide planned communications on the flexibility of service improvement changes
  • support the project team to deviate from old processes to new
  • communicate contingent approaches in moving to the new SharePoint cloud server
  • work with all staff to map SharePoint sites and navigate staff through the organisational change and migration process
  • produce new documents and processes
  • assist with training of collaboration tools (Teams) new documents and processes in SharePoint
  • understanding what the support looks like going to cloud
  • understanding how to manage legacy data, e.g. understanding what data is on the business server and what is moving across – tracking down identities of who owns that data
    data sovereignty
  • understanding that if there is any customer data or any form of pci data, what agencies may need to be engaged? Any legislative or APRA requirements, for example, and
  • understanding if the cloud is onshore or offshore, and what the process is if something happens with the cloud.

Karen Skillings is a workplace change and process change manager.

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