Predicting Post SharePoint 2016 Migration Issues

This is a guest blog post from our partners, the Sharegate Team (@sharegatetools). 

Prediction is a tricky game. Whether it’s the Kentucky Derby, the Super Bowl or the weather for your sister’s wedding in April, we can’t ever be sure of the result. Luckily, when it comes to a SharePoint migration, we have the means and know-how to forecast some potential stormy issues, whether before, during or after you make the move. In fact, predicting your SharePoint migration issues before they happen and putting in place a plan is one of the most important aspects of the entire migration. Today we’re going to flag up some potential sticking points for your organization once the move has been completed.

But let’s back up for a second. First things first: congratulations on deciding to make the move to SharePoint 2016! This latest version of the platform has some great new features that we’re sure you already know about (and are going to love)—if you need us to jog your memory, check the new SharePoint 2016 features here.

If you are gearing up for a migration, today’s post will also be of value to you. The main thing to remember: migrations are straightforward, in theory. But they can be tricky if you’re not prepared for potential issues. So, let’s look at a few of the possible problems you should be aware of to make your journey to and deployment of SharePoint 2016 clear and calm.

User adoption

User adoption is first on our list because of its overall importance to successfully migrating to SharePoint 2016. While not strictly a new feature that you have to navigate, it is crucial that you achieve a high adoption rate to make the move financially and logistically worth it. You can have the best tools and solutions for your business, but if your employees aren’t using them then they are not only not ineffective, but a waste of money, too. Acknowledging the need for high user adoption is the first step—and so is putting in place a good plan to encourage your users to incorporate SharePoint 2016 into their daily routine and business process.

Customization changes and organizational branding

A drawback from upgrading to SharePoint 2016 is losing any customizations you may have in your current iteration. This is something that can’t be helped, yet knowing about it now means you won’t be surprised later. You should also check if there is an alternative feature offered by SharePoint 2016 that does the same job as the customization so your business processes won’t be affected.

While you are making plans to replace customizations, you should also include plans to rebuild your branding, branded web parts and content query styles as these won’t travel. While this might sound like more trouble than it’s worth, consider how fast business solutions and tech in general is changing—with the almost-constant need for better UX and UI, mobile-ready solutions etc., you will need to update your customizations and branding anyway, so doing it in the latest iteration of SharePoint makes a lot of sense.

Architectural changes

SharePoint 2016 is built on the same code as SharePoint Online. If your iteration is on-premises you will experience an increase in performance and support via key architectural updates. Included in this is the emergence of MinRoles and zero-downtime patching, which means there won’t be any need for patching or updating SharePoint; this sounds like good news, right? Yet, it will also require the addition of several extra servers, which means you need to be prepared and have a structure planned to make your migration a smooth as possible. For a handy view on SharePoint 2016 architectural models and technical diagrams for the platform, see here.

Research index

Another feature of previous SharePoint iterations that can’t be migrated is research index. This must be rebuilt in SharePoint 2016, and the same goes for Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2016. It will need a managed account to run and access to the content databases containing the sites where Business Connectivity Services will be used. You can find instructions from Microsoft on how to configure the application in SharePoint 2016 here.

Be ready for anything, get the best of everything

SharePoint is a colossus and a migration has lot of moving pieces that need to be considered. The above are just some of potential issues that need to be considered before and after a move. Depending on your business there might be a few other ones that crop up in addition. The good news is that with some planning you can deal with any potential issue simply and effectively. Now, if only we could predict the lottery as easily.