20 Jul Carry out a SharePoint health check before migrating
There’s a common saying that if you try to run away from your problems, you just bring them with you. For instance, if you feel unsatisfied with your life, you might think running away from the place you live to somewhere more glamorous will sort everything out. The point in this saying, however, is that if you can’t be satisfied where you are, simply moving to a different place won’t make you inherently more satisfied once you get there. The difficulty isn’t the place, it’s with your personal levels of satisfaction.
A similar kind of notion applies to SharePoint migrations. If your environment is clunky, confused and disorganised, it can be tempting to say “oh, let’s just scrap it and upgrade”. Fine: just like moving to the big city with its bright lights, you will get access to all the latest and greatest tools in a new version of SharePoint or Office 365. However, unless you sort out the problems in your existing environment first, they’re bound to follow you.
When migrating your documents and your active directory to a new environment, you need to begin by working out what has gone wrong with it. Simply copying and pasting your current environment onto a new platform will do nothing but replicate the problems you had before. It’s therefore essential to carry out a SharePoint health check, find out what’s going wrong and remove any problematic features.
Bonoshri Sarkar, a technical consultant at Microsoft, puts it like this:
“Two driving factors for any upgrade or transition include the need to utilise the new features that the new version of the product has to offer, and the other being to ease the complexities and the issues of the current environment. However, most IT Pros do not take adequate steps to check the health of their existing Active Directory environment”.
So, what are these “adequate steps”? Well, besides planning and preparation, a SharePoint health check is one of, if not the most important of these steps.
What is actually involved in a SharePoint health check?
At CPS, we’ve been helping organisations migrate to new platforms for years, and have developed our very own SharePoint health check (learn more on our services page). Fundamentally, a health check is a way of identifying the causes of problems in your existing SharePoint implementation. It identifies risks, bottlenecks, and resilience of your farm; tells you what services, apps and add-ins you have running; reviews how well protected you are, and so on.
At a very minimum, a SharePoint health check should include:
Review of your Active Directory
Is it configured correctly for a migration? Are all your users actually active or are there duplicate or ‘dead’ accounts?
Review of network infrastructure
How is your network configured now? How does it need to be configured in the future?
Review of your device management
Are your users connecting from secure devices? Are you able to manage these from a central location? Do you know who is connecting to your data?
Validate your connectivity
This is especially important if you are moving to Office 365 or a hybrid approach – is your connection to the cloud dependable?
An audit of all your SharePoint customisations and add-ins
Are they healthy and running correctly, or are they causing you problems?
Learn how the SharePoint platform is being used
You need to understand which parts of your environment are actually being used, by whom and what for. Are certain sites completely abandoned? Could your architecture be improved?
At CPS, we focus on providing a service tailored to you – we will carry out a health check based on Microsoft best practice combined with our own expertise of having carried out hundreds of health checks in the past. Importantly, we don’t simply apply some generic standards, but get to know how your company works and rigorously test the areas which are most important for you.
When should you get a SharePoint health check?
Your SharePoint health check should be seen as one of the most important aspects of moving to a new environment. You need to produce a report on how the environment is currently being run and identify issues to resolve when you migrate. Carrying out a SharePoint health check will save you from bringing the problems of your old environment to the new one, and will ensure your migration goes as smoothly as possible. It is, therefore, key that you incorporate a health check into your migration strategy.
A SharePoint health check is a great opportunity to identify problems with your environment, eliminate them and ensure your upgrade is much more efficient and easy to use. If you want help with a SharePoint health check – or any stage of the migration process – talk to our dedicated SharePoint team today.