We have many customers who are upgrading from SharePoint 2003 or 2007 to SharePoint 2010. Their existing SharePoint implementations vary from full blown intranets, local collaboration sites, or application portals. We find many cases where one line of business implemented a previous version of SharePoint and now as they look at upgrading to 2010, the organization wants to roll out across the enterprise.
The good news is that with a fresh implementation there is also an opportunity to reevaluate your enterprise SharePoint strategy. Along with the existing content, documents and applications you can also migrate your existing strategy and/or choose to redesign it from scratch.
We recommend a planning approach to the upgrade instead of simply running the upgrade wizard and converting everything to the new environment for a few reasons:
- The objectives that were set out when the original implementation was done may no longer be valid or need to be expanded. For example, the scope of the current environment may have been to support a single team and now the organization wants to support the entire enterprise. There may be additional goals such as supporting extranets, records management, or search that were never implemented and that need to thought through before doing the upgrade.
- There are new features in the SharePoint 2010 product that simply didn’t exist in 2003 or 2007. For example, the social networking features in 2010 are vastly upgraded from the 2007 version and didn’t exist at all in 2003. Records management features have also been significantly improved in the 2010 version over 2007. These represent opportunities to expand the scope of what SharePoint can accomplish for your organization.
- With new features and goals, you may need to change your approach to your infrastructure. The upgrade to SharePoint 2010 provides the opportunity to improve your high availability, backup and recovery processes, monitoring, analytics, etc.
- Your organization will have learned valuable lessons in the current implementation. For example, you may have implemented an information architecture based on departments – did this really work for you? You may have designed a set of content types – which ones were actually used? Before simply converting existing content to the new version, take the time to evaluate what worked and what didn’t and plan accordingly.
- In many organizations, they developed customizations in order to overcome limitations in the product. These customizations need to be upgraded carefully, but also they may no longer be necessary as the SharePoint 2010 product may have solved the problem out of the box.
- An upgrade represents an excellent opportunity to clean up existing content. If content was not expired properly, is no longer relevant, or there are pages that no one reads then upgrading provides the opportunity to slim down on existing content and archive it instead of moving it into the new environment.
Although it takes more work than simply running the conversion wizard, the resulting implementation will be much better aligned to your current strategy. Especially in cases where you have existing environments that were not planned out properly, it allows you as a team to fix issues that were created in your previous implementation instead of bring them forward into the new implementation.