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Some of the most challenging projects to undertake and yet without question they have the most value for a company, are migrating file shares to SharePoint. It's been said that 40% of files within a file share are duplicates. It's also an acknowledged fact that information workers spend a huge amount of time looking for information and when they can't find it they re-create it or worse they find an older version and spend time bring it back up to date. Migrating your file shares to SharePoint can have a huge return on investment and yet the process is often made overly complex. In keeping with our mission to make SharePoint as simple as possible for everyone we have boiled down to a repeatable process to make it as simple as possible.
The sexy Information Governance problems today are (in rough order of sex appeal):
Somewhere way down at the bottom of this list comes, "Governing shared network drives." However, in real life – outside of the hype cycle – solving the shared drive problem is right near the top of the list for most organizations. The massive growth of SharePoint has been driven in large part by enterprises (or at least, departments within enterprises) looking for an incremental and easy replacement for shared drives.
However, most project teams tend to underestimate just how "incremental" the shift from shared drives to SharePoint or ECM (enterprise content management) is. In fact, in my experience, the problem is vexing enough that many project teams effectively throw up their hands and end up moving the big pile of unstructured files from one unmanaged locations to another location SharePoint.
Storing files in Windows SharePoint Services document libraries provides many advantages over storing files in simple network file shares. These advantages include:
As SharePoint consultants we have boiled the process down and I will lay out the summary first and then add details.
Our experience with SharePoint consulting is that the sooner you get this Amazon shopping cart like experience happening with the company data the faster you'll get adoption and by and for the effort of migrating files into SharePoint. Once everyone can see how easy locating data can be it then generally there is by in.
The first step to migration is to define the structure for the new collaborative file store. This structure will determine when to create a new site collection, site, document library, or folder for containing the files. You must consider these factors when defining the structure:
File Shares are unique records and information management challenges as they are collaborative in nature, have numerous stakeholders and limited metadata. Management of this environment blends communication, change management and record management principles. This best practice provides more than the theory of managing shared information, it contains the recommendations to conduct a successful file share cleanup project that will improve workflow, remove redundant, outdated and transient information, improve searching capabilities, decrease storage use and support e-Discovery.
This post will provide a framework for identifying and defining methodologies that support implementing enterprise-wide record keeping best practices as they relate to the cleaning up of files on a file share. It will also incorporate approaches to information governance to ensure the files are being handled appropriately.
Methods for engaging the organization around this activity will also be addressed. This best practice does not address external file sharing as that will be dealt with in a subsequent post.
The following terms and definitions are included to aid in the understanding of this best practice.
Note: Best judgment on appropriate management of these business records should be based on the accuracy, relevancy and overall value to the business. Once this information becomes irrelevant, superseded, or no longer useful, the records should be destroyed.
The migration of file shares to SharePoint takes into consideration the following assumptions:
The second part of this post can be found here.
Please contact SimpleSharePoint and we'll be happy to engage with helping your organization to migrate its file shares to SharePoint. We will make it as simple as possible and we can start with a pilot project and show you the concepts and enable your team to do much of the work yourself. This often makes sense for an ISO document library or some key HR information.