Planning a Migration


Planning SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business Migrations
1m 3s

The course is part of this learning path

Planning a Migration

In this course, we take you through planning a migration to SharePoint and OneDrive in Microsoft 365.

Learning Objectives

  • The steps for planning a migration to SharePoint and Onedrive in Microsoft 365
  • The best practices when migrating to SharePoint and Onedrive in Microsoft 365
  • The different options for the migration process
  • The tools and resources available to you when migrating to SharePoint and Onedrive in Microsoft 365
  • Various considerations when planning a migration

Intended Audience

  • Users looking to learn about planning a migration to SharePoint Online and OneDrive


  • A basic understanding of Microsoft 365



When planning for a migration to Microsoft 365, Microsoft provides countless resources on best practices straight down to specific steps organizations should take when migrating. Specifically speaking, Microsoft provides five suggested steps every organization should follow. Step 1, Migration Planning. Step 2, Assess and Remediate. Step 3, Prepare Your One Drive and SharePoint Environment. Step 4, Migrate. And step 5, User Onboarding. Let's go through each of these steps to fully understand the migration process. Step 1, Migration Planning is arguably the most important step in any migration. Preparing and planning how the migration will go is critical to a smooth transition to a cloud or hybrid environment. This step is where you decide things like; where content will be migrated to, decide how permissions and sharing will work in the new environment, how communication about migration will be handled to the larger user base, what to expect before, during, and after the migration, and the potential migration and network performance requirements necessary for the migration.

Understanding the differences between SharePoint and One Drive, and how they both interact with one another is important to deciding where and how files will be migrated into the new environment. For example, when migrating files for either a single user or a file which is shared to a few users, that file should be migrated into One Drive, as that fits the use case of One Drive. While a file that needs to be accessed by multiple users should be migrated to SharePoint, as it suits the needs better than sharing a file from One Drive. Moving on to step 2, we have Assess and Remediate. This is the step where you assess the potential migration and remediate any issues beforehand. 

This can be done by using something called the SharePoint Migration Tool, which can scan files and provide reports about what it found in your environment. This report shows potential issues which can be addressed before the final migration. Some common issues that can be found are things like; unsupported file extensions, unsupported file name characters, or even exceeding the path length for a file or folder. If you want to see the full list of SharePoint limitations, I have provided documentation down below in the course material section.

Step 3 is to prepare your One Drive and SharePoint environment. Depending on whether your organization is transitioning to a cloud-only identity or a hybrid identity affects this step, as a hybrid identity requires a directory synchronization with Azure AD Connect. This is meant to ensure that your Active Directory domain services syncs with your Azure AD tenant from your Microsoft 365 subscription. For specific steps to setting up directory synchronization, I have linked related documentation on the course material section down below. Once you've completed the previous three steps, you are ready for step 4, the actual migration. 

This step is made significantly less confusing the more time spent in step 1 with planning, as there are multiple choices which should have been decided upon prior to getting into this step. When migrating to Microsoft 365, organizations have three potential options. The first is the customer self-service option. This option relies entirely on your own IT resources utilizing the migration manager, giving full control over the process, and timing of the migration. The second option is called FastTrack driven. This is included in the Microsoft 365 subscription and provides tools and guidance to help with onboarding guidance.

If organizations have more than 500 users, Microsoft will also assist and provide certain migration services. And the third option is called partner-driven. This is where organizations can find a partner through the Microsoft partner center, and they will handle the migration for you. Each of these options have their own benefit, but we'll get into the details of each type in the next lectures, which leads us to our final step, User Onboarding. While the migration process is important as a whole, this is arguably the most important step in terms of how effective the migration will be. Preparing your users for the changes and training them on proper usage can greatly increase overall efficiency and reduce confusion with the environment features. 

Regardless of how well or smooth the migration went, users will always have a load of questions and concerns with any changes made to their standard, which is why it's such an important step. Some key things you can do to ensure user onboarding is as smooth as possible are things like; provide training for them. Adequately train your helpdesk to answer frequently asked questions and just communicate everything from potential downtime to what they can expect from migration process. But now that we understand the five steps to migration, let's take a deeper look at the actual migration process, what it might entail, and some details about the options I mentioned earlier.


About the Author
Learning Paths

Lee has spent most of his professional career learning as much as he could about PC hardware and software while working as a PC technician with Microsoft. Once covid hit, he moved into a customer training role with the goal to get as many people prepared for remote work as possible using Microsoft 365. Being both Microsoft 365 certified and a self-proclaimed Microsoft Teams expert, Lee continues to expand his knowledge by working through the wide range of Microsoft certifications.