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Last week I spent some time putting together a document outlining best practices for migrating content over to the new SharePoint platform.
J&J will be moving off their existing Documentum e-room platform and over to SharePoint over the course of the next year or so. Right now, as we begin to communicate to teams about the SharePoint features that enable and facilitate collaboration, the immediate question is most often "so how do I migrate my e-room?"
The challenge is to facilitate the easy migration of business-critical information without recreating the same static dumping ground on the new Teamsite. And while business groups are asking for help from automated e-room to Teamsite migration tools, the IT Services organization in charge of the program has decided that such tools will only serve to move the large piles of outdated stuff from one place to another. So they are taking the position that a manually-managed migration is the only way to ensure a good Spring cleaning of the e-rooms.
Since there is a bit of consternation, and not a small amount of confusion around this whole process, I needed to quickly figure out an approach that would meet the requirements of the procurement teams while supporting the use of the collaborative capabilities of SharePoint that is the whole point of the platform. It would be a pity, after all, to just use the thing as a document library, and that’s it. But I fear that this is very much a possibility with SharePoint, unless care is taken to guide the creation of the teamsites carefully, and monitor, encourage and push for collaborative, event-driven activity around work flows and processes.
Well, to start with, I came up with a few ideas that could be useful to others who are faced with the same challenges (regardless of the orginal platform):
Think about work activities, not document folders:
Since SharePoint offers a lot of opportunities to integrate work information with work activities – such as contacting team members, responding to questions or problems, or collaborating on a document, a problem, a project, or an event, the crux of the whole effort is going to be getting people to start looking at documents not just as pieces of information, but as elements in work activities that can be managed through the Teamsite:
This way, team can start to discuss, edit, share or review not only documents, but next steps, tasks, activities, events, meetings, etc all around a specific project. All this information can be pulled together into a view that the business owners define.
So, as you upload documents and folders, consider the following questions, then consider associating the information with the capabilities and functions available on your teamsite:
What are the work activities around this information?
- Who needs to act on this document? Who is part of the work activity? (permissions on the document, or the teamsite)
- How is it created, edited, reviewed and improved? (Create a wiki view of the document)
- When and How do you discuss the document contents? (discussion forum, events calendar)
- Who needs to reference it? (visitor permissions to the document or site)
- How can it be found? (test for search, add to general Intranet site)
- Does the data change? (KPI, data tracking web part)
- How long does the document remain active? Where are old versions? (archiving/naming schemes)
We are all still very much in the "learn as we go" phase here, so I’d be interested in thoughts from others who have handled the SharePoint migration challenge before – did everything just end up in a new pile of documents on SharePoint? Or was anyone successful in actually getting work-related activities and collaboration active around these former, static repositories of information?