Migrating an Astronomy Consortium’s SharePoint Sites to the Cloud

Case Study: Microsoft SharePoint Migration

Service: Microsoft SharePoint Development, Office 365 Consulting

Industry: Education, Nonprofit

Company TypeNonprofit

Challenge:

A consortium of 40 US universities and 6 international affiliates, whose mission is to advance innovative astronomical research by establishing and promoting public observatories, was in the process of moving their technology infrastructure to the cloud. As part of this cloud migration, the organization had purchased Office 365 licenses for their staff and was looking to migrate their existing Microsoft SharePoint 2010 sites to SharePoint Online to allow for their remote users to be able to collaborate more effectively. The consortium reached out to Aciron for help with the design and development of the new SharePoint sites, as well as assistance with data migration.

Approach:

Aciron began the project by defining the migration strategy with the client’s IT team. By defining this strategy early on, our consultants were able to control the scope of the project during requirements gathering as they talked to each department’s key stakeholders. During the migration discussions, it was determined that the project would follow a phased approach so that all employees would not be affected by the migration concurrently. Additionally, to ensure that the new SharePoint sites could go live as soon as possible, it was decided that for the initial launch, the sites would be developed using default SharePoint functionality, achieving any customization by implementing SharePoint web parts.

Upon completion of the migration strategy definition, Aciron conducted in-depth requirements gathering interviews with key stakeholder from each of the client’s departments to determine the specific needs for each department’s SharePoint site. Based on the requirements defined during these interviews, we created storyboards to visually articulate the look and feel of the system. These storyboards were designed based on SharePoint’s out-of-the-box functionality, including web parts to allow for some of the desired enhancements. Once the storyboards were approved by each department, as well as by the IT team, Aciron migrated the client’s data and content from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint Online based on the defined migration strategy.

Solution:

Aciron worked with the client’s key stakeholders to design and develop the new SharePoint sites on Office 365 and assist with the migration of the existing data to the new sites. By migrating to SharePoint Online, the client increased collaboration and made document management easier for staff located outside of the main organization office. The new SharePoint sites feature:

  • Updated layouts and document libraries to modernize the look and feel of the sites
  • Various web parts like calendars, task lists, and document libraries to enhance the design and make them more user-friendly
  • Standardized naming convention and updated organizational structure to improve site navigation and searchability

Additionally, as part of the migration strategy, Aciron helped the client to perform a content assessment to ensure that only up-to-date content would be migrated to the new system. By removing the “clutter” from the legacy SharePoint system, users are now able to find relevant content more quickly and easily.

Since the migration to SharePoint Online, the client has been extremely satisfied with their upgraded sites. Once users get acquainted with the new sites, the organization plans to conduct a Phase 2  to further enhance the design and functionality of the system.

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