As of March 9, 2015, a countdown to the formal end of support for SharePoint Online Public Websites in Office 365 began. The end of the two-year grace period approaches come March 2017, and the question for many companies built upon SharePoint customer-facing websites likely is, “Where do we go from here?”
The content migration process can be a daunting prospect, especially for large websites. The good news however, is that more viable alternatives for public-facing websites are available, as well as knowledgeable website migration experts.
One of these options is Sitecore, a marketing automation and e-commerce site management platform recommended to SharePoint Online Public Website users by Microsoft. Sitecore is currently the leading platform for marketing automation and customer experiences, as well as built upon similar technologies to SharePoint. Sitecore and SharePoint Online share a .NET framework architecture and common structural elements which aid in site migrations.
No matter what your current or future CMS looks like, a content migration plan will follow certain steps. Our content migration experts have outlined a strategy here for migrating from SharePoint to Sitecore as an example, as well as detailing the important considerations for such a move.
Your reasons for migrating from SharePoint to Sitecore are a mix of the obvious (end of support for SharePoint Online Public Websites, Sitecore's advantages as a WCMS, etc.) and the personal. Your first and foremost consideration is likely your unique content, current systems, and how a content migration plan should include upgrading and optimizing these. Before any other steps can be taken, a full business analysis and technology assessment must be made, including the inputs of the most important stakeholders: content managers, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), IT, in-house and outsourced developers, and upper management strategists to name a few. Once your core teams can determine what your end goal for content migration should be, you can move on to planning the actual logistics
SharePoint Online currently serves as an internal collaboration tool with cloud-inspired mobility features. Microsoft has enhanced it with features such as mobile app access, intranet and extranet team sites, business intelligence, and security. As such, SharePoint still maintains relevance for many users as an integral part of their processes. This is why Sitecore includes a SharePoint connector and seamless migration tools, allowing for SharePoint users to link their internal CMS processes with a newer, savvier customer-facing website via Sitecore. Once the internal migration plan is in place, customizations with Sitecore's CMS advantages can take priority.
The content inventory stage involves learning the in's and out's of current SharePoint architecture, including content types, destinations, analytics, and so forth, which can be automated for convenience (see next step). Current content metadata and relationships are also crucial to consider at this stage so that a logical map to the new Sitecore architecture can be designed. Understanding your content will also enable you to plan accordingly for the time a migration may need. Depending on content complexity and size of website (i.e. number of pages), content migrations can take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes per page, not including QA and unforeseen complications that come with every multi-step undertaking.
SharePoint's current content design includes an array of content types, web parts, search schemas, and enterprise-level functionalities that make it ideal for internal collaboration. But its shortcomings in terms of facilitating customer experiences (branding, content editing, and marketing automation difficulties to name a few) mean that Sitecore's emphasis on these features make for an ideal environment upgrade. Sitecore architecture puts content first using omnichannel automation, contextual intelligence, and customer-centric analytics for reaching each customer wherever they are in the sales cycle.
After assessing your current SharePoint architecture, content inventory, and new Sitecore CMS migration paths, you can decide on the process for getting there. A combination of automated and manual processes is likely the best option for large sites, since the simpler beginning processes can be streamlined through logical programming. As mentioned in Step 2, an automated program for inventorying content enables you to get to the more important qualifying task: deciding what should be moved, what data needs to be cleaned, and where customizations should take place. Even with platforms as similar as SharePoint and Sitecore, not every piece of content will transfer automatically. Furthermore, this is the best opportunity to realign with your content goals and update any outdated information. You can also plan for broken links, 301 redirects, SEO maintenance, and other factors which
Once the content migration plan has been set, roles assigned, and processes solidified, the migration can officially begin. Important considerations for this step include ongoing quality analysis and testing, oversight from important stakeholders, and end-to-end project management for ensuring on task, on time migration and data integrity.
The best content migration solutions from SharePoint to Sitecore include a knowledgeable team of experts in these platforms, content migrations, and the business specifics and technologies that influence all affected systems. As a seamless back-end technology partner with industry-specific experience, Chetu fulfills all of these requirements, and offers a proven customer satisfaction model that includes concept to code services. Our on-demand developers include SharePoint, Sitecore, .NET, content management, and various industries experts who provide customized services including content assessments, inventory, migrations, QA, testing, and system deployments. We are also equipped with the custom software development experience to deliver any unique solution or customizations you may need, including CMS migrations other than SharePoint / Sitecore and custom CMS development.
If you are considering SharePoint content migration to Sitecore, Chetu can provide you with end-to-end services that will help you reach all of your business goals. Consult our experts for your customized services, and see how we can design and optimize your SharePoint migration plan!------
For more information about our custom software services, explore our relevant solutions and Technical Perspectives!
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