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  • Writer's pictureLJ (Laurent) Launay

Getting started with M365 Series - Episode 1: SharePoint Online Migration Plan

You’ve just been assigned to move your on-premises content to the cloud, SharePoint Online specifically, and your first question is: ‘where do I start?’

Rest assured you are not alone and in our ‘Getting Started with M365 Series’ we will guide you through each of the steps and provide you with the best recommendations, in line with our definiti Office 365 Implementation Checklist.

In this first article of the series, we will be talking about:

1. The benefits of SharePoint Online

2. Pre-planning

Benefits of Sharepoint Online

There are plenty of resources available at Microsoft’s Documentation resource centre to get you started, but first let’s start with few of the benefits why SharePoint Online is the right solution for your organisation.

Business Resilience

If there is one thing that businesses around the world have learned over the past 1 year and a half, it is this: nothing is certain. This bears mentioning the shift from ‘Business Continuity’ (aka Plan-Do-Check-Act) VS ‘Business Resilience’, the ability of an organisation to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and adapt to both incremental changes and sudden disruptions. 

What says ‘prepare for’ better than a back-up plan? And a back-up plan for the back-up plan? Preparation is how you can anticipate major disasters. With Microsoft 365 your user’s data and content are protected from local crashes or disasters. Data is stored in the cloud and can be retrieved at any time, along with previous documents’ versions.


A recent Gartner research article found that 71% of HR leaders are more concerned about employee collaboration that they have ever been prior to COVID-19. With easy collaboration top of mind in the era of remote and hybrid work, SharePoint Online, Teams and OneDrive are amongst the key drivers as to why organisations decide to migrate to the cloud.

Why? With today’s Modern Workplace every team has access to an extensive number of Office applications like Teams, OneDrive or other 3rd party apps which can be installed on multiple devices (tablets, smartphones, desktops). This allows to manage projects and the workload more effectively. Email, chat, documents, task delegation, conferencing and meeting, document management and a lot more are part of Microsoft 365.

Security & Compliance

Security and Compliance along with Records Management is built into M365 to help organisations prevent data loss, restrict access when needed (even when the information is sent outside of your enterprise) and meet compliance requirements. Speaking of security, one of the most important benefits M365 offers is the ability to identify, monitor, and protect sensitive information through Microsoft 365 Security & Compliance Center.

  • Microsoft 365 services such as Teams, Exchange, SharePoint, and OneDrive

  • Office applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

  • Windows 10 endpoints

  • Non-Microsoft cloud apps

  • On-premises file shares and on-premises SharePoint

Storage Space

We must also mention that every user has 1TB of space (which can be increased) with their OneDrive for Business subscription ready to use which virtually replaces the need for desktop file storing on your devices allowing you to access your content on any device.


We all know about the importance of data, therefore we have to mention the Analytics Tools, such as PowerBI. PowerBi helps analysing and unifying data from many sources to create interactive, immersive dashboards and reports that provide actionable insights.

PowerBI works seamlessly with Office apps, like Teams, Excel, PowerPoint and Visio. Everyone is empowered to get more meaningful work done and spend less time on the mundane. No more time spent on:

  • Updating multiple Excel files. You can see the right data instantly in Power BI by automating your data refresh with a single click.

  • Sharing data with other team members. You can give everyone access to the data they need for a project by easily incorporating Power BI visuals.

Pre-planning or Are We Ready? Every project starts with a plan.

STEP 1 - Map out the required SharePoint Migration capabilities

If you are just starting with migration as a project, the first step is to understand if the organisation is ready for the move. This can be in the form of a kickoff meeting or a workshop where you can:

  • Assess your existing infrastructure

  • Identify the number of employees/users

  • Determine how the migration to the cloud may impact your employees’ user experience, which indirectly results into training and communications plans development.

Remember: adoption starts with training and setting the right expectations. Ensuring everyone is on board, familiar and follows the same standard helps you setup and meet governance into the new environment.

During the kick-off meeting, map out and come to an agreement on the capabilities you require. Are users comfortable and have the capacity to migrate their own data/files into the destination? Or would you need to scope a migration ready solution – for example the one definiti offers - to automate the requirements and avoid impacting your end users?

The ideal scenario and best practice is a combination of the two: a migration solution that allows you to move business data/files smoothly as well as enables you to do it incrementally and at your own pace. Incremental migration is very common, in this case end users work with data in both the source and destination for a limited time, however what’s most important is to have as minimal impact to the end users as possible.

STEP 2 – Technical Planning & Readiness Assessment

On the technical and administrative side of planning, it is best practice to make an inventory of your:

  • servers

  • network architecture

  • DNS

  • authentication solutions

  • Information architecture design

  • bandwidth (very important)

  • governance

  • risk and compliance

These are some of the key factors and it is important to collect data about them to ensure they will align with the new environment. Remember, your data is moving to the cloud!

Getting the readiness assessment is extremely important. It can have a significant impact to the success or failure of your overall migration and adoption strategy on multiple processes. A successful migration relies on a solid change management plan that focuses on:

  1. how users and stakeholders/champions understand the goal and benefits (think what’s in it for me) of the project

  2. the adoption

  3. how to communicate the project across the company and drive user engagement

STEP 3 - Chose the right services

Depending on the size of your business, number of users and business requirements, the next step is to select the right M365 plan/subscription. Microsoft 365 features extensive capabilities for collaboration, communication, compliance and many others. What capabilities are you looking for? Assess whether you need all of them or make a selection in accordance with your business requirements, goals and budget.

There are four main subscriptions (at the time of writing) options to choose from, depending on your business:

Business Basic is the entry level plan which doesn’t enable you to install the full Office versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and others. The plan does allow you however to use the Office suite online using any web browser. With regards to collaboration, you have 1TB of storage and you can participate in online meetings and videoconferencing which makes teamwork easy. Teams is available as well as SharePoint, including Exchange for emails.

Business Standard offers everything of Business Basic including desktop versions of Office apps plus Access and Publisher.

The most valuable in my opinion is the Business Premium which comes with everything in Business Standard plus Intune. This is a great tool for mobile device management and Azure Information Protection (AIP) which enables organisations to discover, classify and protect documents.

The Apps for business plan is a mix between the Basic and Standard plan where you have the desktop office apps but not Exchange as a service. It’s still a great choice for collaboration if you have your own email services (Gmail or others alike).

Apart from the above-mentioned Business Plan subscriptions, you also have Enterprise plan (unlimited number of users) and Education plan subscription (unlimited number of users). The difference between the two is again in the services included in each plan and the cost.

If you ask yourself which subscription option is right for you, the answer depends on the size of your business, your teams’ need for collaboration tools and budget. If you are a small to medium sized business, then any of the Business plans will be the right choice for you. Before you select, make sure you examine the different features each plan offers – do you need Word/Excel on your computer, or you are comfortable using the web browser?

Closing Thoughts

Planning is never an easy task and in the upcoming blog posts of the ‘Getting started with M365’ Series we will discuss the next steps for a successful content migration from your File shares and SharePoint. We will also look at how to plan for governance, risk, compliance, information security, adoption, training and how modern workplace drives business anywhere on any device.

Coming Up

This is what we will cover in the next blog post of these series:

1. Develop success criteria and communication/ training plan.

  • Agree on Scope and Timeline.

  • Agree on project tracking mechanism

2. Determine which Microsoft 365 subscription offerings best suit your organisation’s requirements.

3. Identify which Microsoft 365 component services satisfy your organisational needs.

​If you are considering a SharePoint migration, have doubts and questions, our team is here to assist you. You can reach out for an informal discussion at

Find out more about definiti and our consultants.


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