Take a look into the future

This blog is the third of a series about content migrations to Microsoft 365

Being able to work and collaborate in a safe manner on a secure device. A promise made by Microsoft 365 and a huge prerequisite to deliver this promise. To realize this promise your employees need to be able to collaborate on all that content on those dreaded file shares. An accumulation of company data that has grown over the years which nobody bothered to clean or restructure. …and now it’s up to you to move it to the cloud.

This blog is about the road to getting your vision across by designing for a stakeholder. Instead of creating a designing with a gazillion details showing how much you know.

Silver bullets do not exist

There isn’t a single truth so I’m sure you don’t expect the ‘One Solution To Rule Them All’. In stead I will give you pointers to the usual suspects on getting a design approved.

The story so far.

Contoso has a desire to make the move to Microsoft 365. You’ve been hired by Contoso to design the collaboration solution architecture. One of things you need to do is migrate the content on the file shares to Microsoft 365. You realized that this content migration enables an actual business transformation that you need to manage. You need to design the future state for Contoso from a collaboration perspective. To do that you need to know the motivation behind the imminent transformation.

Convince your stakeholders

Before anything else, you need to convince your stakeholders that the future state you have in mind is the way to go.

What not to do vs what to do?

9 Out of 10 times your stakeholders don’t really care about technical mumbojumbo that we all love.

I advise you not to talk about:

  • site collections
    • but let them know that every team, service, or whatever, gets it’s own ‘space’. A location solely for them, that can (or cannot) be shared with others.
  • modern versus classic sites
    • IMHO: don’t go there at all, why should you. If you must, tell them that Microsoft sites have evolved and that the current approach is designed to be compelling, flexible and more performant. The modern experience makes it easier for anyone to create beautiful, dynamic sites and pages that are mobile-ready.
  • Sensitivity labels, document classification and enforced protection settings
    • Tell them that the collaboration solution we are designing complies with the GDPR (or AVG in The Netherlands)

By talking in terms of business value your stakeholder understands what it is (s)he will be getting and why it’s important.

Architectural views

The next step in convincing your stakeholders is creating something that displays the future state for this stakeholder that (s)he will understand. This technique is also called architectural views in TOGAF terms.

Again, please don’t swamp them with too much details…yet. Give your stakeholders time to adjust. Show them a high level image.

Imagine that Contoso has the following content spread over their application landscape (including fileshares):

  • Personal home drives
  • Department drives
  • Project documentation
  • Customer documentation
  • Team documentation

This content needs to get a place in Microsoft 365. Off-course you need to be very aware of other things, like:

  • Authorization – who needs access to specific information or sites and what should they be able to do?
    • This also effects the licensing! Putting everybody on a F1-plan may not be sufficient, E5 for everybody on the other hand could be a bit of an overkill.
  • Navigation – how are your users going to find their way to above mentioned information or sites?

We are again one step closer! We now have several new pieces of the puzzle:

  • Information about the content that needs to be migrated
  • This helps us design the elements for our future state:
    • OneDrive for Business for personal data
    • Microsoft Teams for team collaboration
    • SharePoint Online for content storage
    • Azure File Share
  • Then we need to know the limits of these elements and we are good to go. I’ve written a blog about the limits of Microsoft Teams that you can find here: https://collab365.community/designing-microsoft-teams-solutions-know-limits/

Let’s assume that Contoso is also very keen on protecting their sensitive information.

In most cases I find that a design like the one below is a very good starter.

This design shows content that your stakeholder most likely can relate to because it has a limited amount of technical mumbo jumbo, except the big elements of the solution:

  • ODFB
  • Microsoft Teams
  • SharePoint Online
  • Azure Information Protection (allthough I thing I’m going to replace this with something like ‘Compliancy’)

The image above is a nice overview. But we were talking about architectural views: creating a design for a particular stakeholder. You could very easily transform the design so the stakeholder(s) responsible for ‘Enterprise Projects’ understand where project information is going to land, like so:

Once this design has landed, very soon, questions will start popping-up about where exactly the current content is going. The you could create something (maybe a bit more fancy) like this:

Still the same design, but now with a little more information. It shows that the old dropbox is being replaced and that content on the fileshares is going to moved to SharePoint Online (in this case). The sensitive information is still being protected by Azure Information Protection. By using this method I slowly evolve the architectural views and I am able to take the stakeholder into the details of the solution.

Migration planning

We now have our architectural views on a level that our stakeholders understand what needs to be done, at least on a functional level. Now it is time to transfor this into a migration planning overview. How this is done is a subject for my next blog.

What’s next?

In the following blogs I will explain:

  • Migrate content to Microsoft 365 – Plan your migration
    • This blog is about identifying the activities necessary and working accordingly
  • Migrate content to Microsoft 365 – Automating your migration using ShareGate
    • This blog is about how to use PowerShell to automate your migration
  • Migrate content to Microsoft 365 – Automated analysis
    • This blog is about how to use Microsoft SQL Server and SSIS to automate your results

Useful links

Previous articleAzure Resource Locks
Next articleAzure / Office 365 – 2 wekelijks overzicht – deel 60
In mijn rol als solution architect probeer ik als adviseur voor mijn klanten en Valid op te treden. Zeker niet alleen op het technische vlak maar zeker ook op functioneel vlak. Ik wil echt weten wat de business drivers zijn, wat zijn de goals en wat is er nodig om deze te realiseren. Kort gezegd 'wat proberen we te bereiken, en waarom hebben we dat nog niet bereikt!' Mijn expertise ligt voornamelijk op de gebieden document management, informatie-, communicatie- en samenwerkingsportalen. Technisch vertaalt zich dat naar een breed spectrum binnen het Microsoft portfolio en vooral Microsoft SharePoint en Office 365.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.