How to Plan a Sharepoint Migration: The Beginner’s Guide

How to Plan a SharePoint Migration: The Beginner’s Guide

Are you in the works of implementing a SharePoint migration? Perhaps to SharePoint Online…

Now, the process involved may be a little complicated — but it can be made easier with the right tools and information.

In this article, you will learn how to plan a SharePoint migration as well as the various tools you can use to make the process easier.

Let’s get started.

What is SharePoint migration?

SharePoint migration refers to moving your SharePoint environment from an on-premises environment to the cloud. It can also mean moving from a lower version to a higher version of SharePoint.

There are many reasons why you would want to migrate. For example, it may be to improve IT infrastructure, data protection, and recovery options or disaster recovery, reduce on-premises costs, and move to a more secure platform.

What are the types of SharePoint migration?

There are three different types of SharePoint migration:

  1. Move to the cloud: This refers to moving from on-premises to SharePoint Online.
  2. Internal migration: This is when you want to move data within your own data center or migrate data from one server environment to another.
  3. Upgrade: This is when you want to move from a lower version of SharePoint to a newer version. This can be done either on-premises or in the cloud.

How much does SharePoint migration cost?

The cost of SharePoint migration can vary from one company to another. It also depends on the size and scale of your current environment.

When it comes down to it, the migration costs depend on your existing infrastructure and how much work you need to do (if any).

There are many factors that go into this:

  • Size and scale of the existing environment
  • Amount of content in your SharePoint site collection
  • How many users are on the platform
  • Type of data you have (how sensitive is it?)

For example, if you only have a few hundred documents and pages, this is not too difficult to migrate. However, if you have tens or hundreds of thousands of pages, this can mean a lot of work.

Sign up for exclusive updates, tips, and strategies

    How to Plan a SharePoint Migration

    To create a comprehensive plan for SharePoint migration, there are many factors to consider…

    First of all, you need to know what your company needs from the new system and infrastructure.

    You also need to define what you want from the platform in terms of features and usability. When it comes down to it, you need a solid business case for your migration.

    Here are the steps you will need to follow:

    1. Profiling and discovery
    2. Assessment
    3. Planning
    4. Execution
    5. Monitoring and maintenance

    Profiling and Discovery

    The first thing that you should do is create a profile of your current environment. This includes the usage, existing architecture, and existing capacity. You should document all of this information before you continue to the next step.

    In addition, you should also take inventory of everything else in your environment. For example, you may need to know the number of sites and users on the platform so that you can plan for future growth.


    Now, you need to analyze the data you have collected from your environment profile. What are some areas that can be improved? Look at things like load times, page rendering time, security risks, platform support level, etc.

    This should give you an idea of the state of your environment. It will also give you an idea of what you need to change or upgrade.


    Once you know what needs to be improved, you can plan accordingly. This also includes creating a high-level design for what you want your new system to look like.

    After this is done, you will need a capacity and performance plan. After all, you need to know what your hardware needs are. You will also need to plan how you will migrate all of the content in your environment.


    Now, you can begin migrating data. This includes migrating content and site collections. Also, document every step you take during this process so that it is easier for future reference.

    You can use various tools in this stage (more about this later).

    Take note of the timing of the steps you are taking in your SharePoint migration. This is important because you need to know if there are any bottlenecks in the process.

    Monitoring and Maintenance

    Last but not least, you will need to monitor your environment. This way, you make sure that everything is running smoothly before you switch over completely to your new platform.

    After the migration is complete, you should have a checklist you can use to monitor your environment. You will also need to update any documentation so it is up-to-date with the new system.

    What are the tools you can use for SharePoint migration?

    There are many tools that you can use when migrating your SharePoint environment — including third-party tools and built-in features in the platform. Note that some tools will be more useful than others depending on your situation.

    Built-in Features

    First of all, you should take note of the existing features in your current SharePoint platform.

    Existing features can also include the various tools, components, and utilities in your existing SharePoint site. You should know what works well and what needs to be improved or upgraded.

    This is important because most built-in tools are only available for on-premise platforms. If you are planning to migrate to Microsoft Office 365, you cannot use most of the on-premise tools.

    For example, there is Mover, which is a cloud-to-cloud migration tool Microsoft bought a few years ago. You can use it to move content and files from different cloud services, including SharePoint Online.

    If you think Mover can handle your migration needs, check out the guide I wrote on how to use mover for SharePoint migration.

    Third-Party Tools

    On the other hand, third-party tools can be used on either platform (on-premise or Office 365). These are better for migrations because they are often faster and easier to use.

    Many of these tools also integrate with your site after you are finished with the migration. They can also be used to compare data between platforms, migrate only specific components, and simplify various complex tasks.

    One example of that is ShareGate, a tool you can use to migrate to Office 365 or SharePoint quickly and easily. Even better, it supports the migration to any version of SharePoint and many other platforms.

    If you want to learn more about ShareGate, check out the guide I wrote on how to use ShareGate for SharePoint migration.

    What are the pros and cons of SharePoint migration?

    There are many benefits to SharePoint migration, but there are also possible complications.


    The biggest benefit is that you can choose the platform that will work best for your organization.

    You have complete control over what you want to achieve with your new system because there are no restrictions or limitations imposed by a third-party supplier.

    Another big positive is that you can use built-in or off-the-shelves tools when migrating. This is important because it reduces the time and effort required to complete the migration.


    Of course, there are also some downsides you need to consider before deciding whether or not to migrate. One major downside is that you might lose everything in your existing platform.

    This can be a problem because it forces you to start from scratch with your new system, which is costly and time-consuming. It might also mean any customizations or configurations will be lost during the migration.

    Depending on your situation, this could make the switch pointless if you have invested heavily in developing your existing SharePoint environment.

    Another potential problem is that off-the-shelves tools might not function the way you want them to. This can be a huge risk because it can create confusion, frustration, and delays during the migration process.

    Deciding whether or not to migrate SharePoint is a big decision. There are benefits and drawbacks, but the pros outweigh the cons for most organizations.

    If you think your organization could benefit from migrating SharePoint, take some time to consider how it will impact your business before making any final decisions about what tools you want to use.

    Plan Your Sharepoint Migration

    Migrating your SharePoint platform is no easy task. This is especially true if you have a lot of content in your environment. However, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think.

    There are tools that can simplify this process so you can focus your efforts on the important tasks, rather than spending time trying to figure out how to migrate SharePoint successfully.

    The key is knowing what options are available for migrating SharePoint and which will work best for your business. If you take some time to review your options and plan the process properly, you will be able to ensure its success.

    If you got more questions about planning a SharePoint migration or about the migration process itself, feel free to comment down below. You can also reach me directly through my contact page.

    About Ryan Clark

    As the Principal Solutions Architect at Mr. SharePoint, I help companies of all sizes better leverage Modern Workplace and Digital Process Automation investments. I am also a Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP) for Office Apps & Services.

    Notify of
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
    Scroll to Top