SharePoint On-Prem to Online Migration: Essential Benefits and Migration Strategy that you should include

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Recent estimates have pegged the number of Office 365 users at more than 230 million.

While the document management and collaboration solution for the modern workplace is available in on-premise, Online, and Hybrid solution versions, it is the online version that more businesses are migrating to or adopting.

The Online SharePoint version is a part of the Microsoft Office 365 package and businesses vouch for its ability to dramatically enhance operational productivity, user collaboration, and data security. Not surprisingly more and more businesses are migrating to SharePoint Online.

How does Migrating SharePoint on-prem to Office 365 help Businesses achieve their potential:

A SharePoint Online environment is suitable for all organizations irrespective of size. It is scalable and flexible, with lower costs, improved data management, and higher ROI. If you choose to migrate, your business will gain from enhanced security, better data control and protection from infrastructure related disruptions, when compared to an on-premise environment.

Many business users across various organization sizes report easier real-time collaboration, better administration, effortless financial management, and consistent licensing options as the key benefits of migrating to the Online Office 365 platform.

Apart from the above benefits, which are more related to moving to a cloud-based environment, Office 365 has its inherent advantages in the use of many applications that form a part of the suite. For example, users with Office 365 can:

  • Leverage Microsoft Teams for better communication, document sharing, conferencing, and collaboration facilities to improve your team communication.
  • Use the advanced email, calendar, and online scheduling features to improve your operations.
  • Enhance security with Office 365’s advanced data loss and encryption features that ensure complete data security while dealing with movement of documents inside and across the organization.
  • Gain useful insights from the integrated analytics and data visualization tools in the Office 365 environment, with Power BI providing advanced BI functionalities within the suite.

Strategy and Best Migration Practices

The recommended strategy to migrate from SharePoint on-prem to SharePoint Online in Office 365 is a step-by-step phased process as described below:

  • Analysis: This phase begins by examining the source and target systems for the levels of customization during the migration process.
  • Planning: The second phase of migration involves assessing the business needs and the choice of the migration tools. We highly recommend using the SharePoint Migration Assessment Tool (SMAT) to identify potential issues with data when you plan to migrate from SharePoint on-prem to Office 365.
  • Migration: This phase involves the actual migration implementation from an on-premise to the online environment.
  • Customization: This is a follow-up phase to the migration and involves identification of changes and further enhancements.
  • Validation: This phase verifies the implemented migration and enhancements from the above phases.
  • Support and Maintenance: This phase is a post migration activity that involves site configuration, metadata cleanup, deploying custom code, along with support and maintenance in the migrated platform.

From all the available options for migration from SharePoint on-premise to Office 365, we recommend using the Microsoft SharePoint Migration Tool (MSMT), which is a free tool offered to migrate content from a SharePoint server to Office 365. It’s ease of usage makes it is ideal for migrating SharePoint Server 2010, 2013, and 2016 environments to Office 365. Users can also use the PowerShell version of the MSMT, which uses PowerShell cmdlets and provides the same features as the migration tool.

SharePoint on-prem to Office 365 migration will prove highly beneficial to your organization by improving core business processes, internal communication, project management, security, and collaboration. The migration allows you to harness the complete benefits of Office 365, along with automatic updates and real-time communication and optimization, doing away with the constraints of physical server farms and infrastructure for your business environment.

I will cover more on the specific approach in my next blog, stay tuned. If you need more help with SharePoint On-Prem to Online Migration, please write to me at