SharePoint migration to Office 365

Don’t waste your SharePoint customizations when you migrate to Office 365

A successful full deployment and adoption of SharePoint can cost your organization as much as nine times the price of the original software license. Where do these additional costs come from? In most cases, the price tag of a successful SharePoint deployment also includes consulting, training and, of course, the cost of SharePoint customizations. The time and money spent on these additional investments explain why many businesses are loathing to migrate to new versions of the platform.

Because Microsoft manage Office 365 and SharePoint Online centrally, you don’t get as much control over the code the platform runs on as you do on-premises. This means that many SharePoint customizations cannot be migrated as they are – and if you’ve spent considerable sums of money on customizations but can’t use them in the cloud, it can feel like a wasted investment. What’s more, given that many of your employees will depend on the SharePoint customizations you have implemented, leaving them behind when you migrate will frustrate staff and could lead to adoption problems with Office 365.

So, does migrating to Office 365 mean you automatically lose all your SharePoint customizations? Not necessarily. Let’s look at what kind of customizations you can (and can’t) migrate, and explore your options.

What SharePoint customizations can you NOT migrate

Certain SharePoint customizations simply can’t be migrated to Office 365. Full trust farm solutions, for instance, cannot be migrated because these make important changes to the underlying code in SharePoint. Microsoft cannot allow you to make changes to this code in SharePoint Online as that would affect the overall experience of every business that uses the tool.

SharePoint Online also does not allow you to migrate any customizations which use the SharePoint Object Model or compiled code (.DLLs, .EXEs, .WSPs, etc.).

What SharePoint customizations can you migrate?

SharePoint Online will let you migrate any customization which doesn’t affect any of the fundamental underlying code of SharePoint. This would include:

  • Client-side code (such as JavaScript) which runs in the browser
  • Web parts that don’t require compiled code
  • Sandboxed solutions that only contain declarative artifacts
  • Various low/no-code customizations to look and feel

You will, therefore, still be able to migrate many of your SharePoint customizations to the new environment. However, just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should migrate every single customization. Instead, you should think about the purpose of the customization, how useful it actually is, and investigate alternatives.

A plan for migrating customizations

Like other aspects of migrating to SharePoint Online, you should develop a plan for migrating any customizations. This should include carrying out a review of what they’re currently used for, if there are any problems with them, who uses them and if there are alternatives which might be better suited to the structure and approach of SharePoint Online.

If you want to read about the Discover, Transform and Implementation phases, please assign your linkedIn or Microsoft Account. See below

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