Many organizations have made a significant investment in on premises SharePoint. But is it time to give it up and migrate to Office 365? It doesn’t depend on who you ask; it depends on how well you know your content.
What the C-Suite is Asking
SharePoint to Office 365 migration is not a simple decision, especially if you have invested years of time, training and money. It doesn’t really matter if the SharePoint environment you have set up is perfect. In the end, the C-Suite is looking for the ROI: what am I saving by migrating to Office 365? What am I getting?
Monitor, Measure, Track, Report
The only way to produce tangible ROI, is to measure, measure, measure – and report. That means you need content analytics in place to do several things:
- Monitor the content being created and managed within your SharePoint environment.
- Track the usage of that content across all departments and employees.
Not that long ago, I talked about some of the ways to monitor, track and measure your content, so I’m not going to go into those in detail, you can read them in that article. Here are the highlights though:
- Track how content is used across your organization
- Measure content growth
- Monitor Document Sizes/Counts
- Track Content Activity
- Monitor Who Uses Content the Most
There is a lot of focus on big data today and how important it is to the bottom line if you use it. But equally important is having a solid understanding of your content – that unstructured pile of documents and other assets that are created and used by your employees every day to do their jobs. We’re not suggesting you forget about big data, we’re saying get to know your content intimately.
These documents are some of the most important data in your business, so not having a clear understanding of what’s being produced and used is a huge mistake.
Now You Know Your Content – What’s Next?
Now you know your content. You know what you have, how it’s being used, who’s using it. What’s next? Because knowing is only part of the journey.
The biggest question you need to ask yourself now is “What’s your criteria for success?” What are the positive business outcomes you expect from migrating to Office 365? How will you know you achieved them?
The obvious one you are looking for is the cost reduction for infrastructure and licenses. You might not see big benefits in this area right away because it takes time to migrate over. You have to invest in good migration planning tools and resources to help with the migration. You may also decide to migrate in phases, which means you could have a hybrid environment for a period of time.
The decision to migrate isn’t only based infrastructure saving however. Many organizations choose to use cloud-based software because it helps employees work more effectively. It can improve collaboration between employees and between partners.
It also supports the new way of working “any time, any where”. Employees can be located across the globe, or across the hall. Services like Office 365 enable employees to easily communicate and collaborate no matter where they are working. So you need to determine what type of success criteria you can expect by improving collaboration. Some things you could measure:
- Delivery times of projects
- Reduced errors in projects
- Increase in satisfaction rates among employees
- Broader team structures (global teams)
- Reduction in email storage
- Reduction in duplicate documents
These are just some ideas of things you can measure to show the move to Office 365 has produced positive ROI. They may not all suit you and I’m sure there are many others you can think of to add to the list. The idea is to consider how you will prove the move to Office 365 is the right one. The things you measure will be unique to your organization’s needs.
There are some who say moving to the cloud is inevitable. The cost savings alone make a clear statement to any organization looking at the bottom line. And all the security concerns? They have to be acknowledged, but as long as you have the right plan in place to migrate and properly secure (and continually monitor that security), then you will be fine.
If you are staying with Microsoft, it’s evident they are cloud-focused. SharePoint on premises will be around for a while yet, but it’s Office 365 that will see the most updates and the most attention from Microsoft. It stands to reason; you need to do the same. So make the plan, and then implement it. And make sure you have in place the right tools to help you continue to validate and measure your Office 365 investment.