document management, SharePoint to Office 365: Enhance Document Management Program Now? Another Time? #SPTechConGeoff Varosky’s in a band. And the tune he sang this month is all about taking SharePoint to the cloud with Office 365, a move that is helping organizations forget about the old, ungoverned music that was their intranets.

Getting It Done

We catch up here with Varosky, the director of development and evangelism for Jornata, a Boston-based Microsoft Gold Partner focusing on SharePoint solutions. Varosky is an architect and developer of Web-based applications and is a six-year SharePoint veteran who co-founded the Boston Area SharePoint Users Group and co-organizes SharePoint Saturday Boston.

Varosky spoke at the SharePoint Technology Conference in Boston this month.

Office 365. Why overall is it a good time to make the move for SharePoint users?

It is if it is a good fit for the organization. Not all organizations are looking to move from on-premises SharePoint installations to the cloud, for a variety of reasons. And the best time is the time when the organization is ready. If an organization is just getting into SharePoint, Office 365 is a great place to start, and possibly stay for the foreseeable future.

If you already have SharePoint, do you require that your services stay in-house, or require more functionality out of SharePoint, Lync and Exchange that can get you in Office 365? If so, it is not the right time to make the move, and it may not ever be. If you answered no to those questions, than Office 365 might just be a feasible solution for the organization.  

SharePoint and Lync online may eliminate the headache of an online service. Can you explain that a little more?

Not eliminating the headaches of an online service, but, alleviating some of the headaches that come along with hosting all of these services (SharePoint, Exchange and Lync) on-site. Having redundant systems, backups, power, disaster recovery locations, etc.

Also, if you do not want anyone entering in your network at all, and need to have external users access SharePoint for document collaboration, say with partners and clients, SharePoint Online in Office 365 offers the best bet for security. You never need to open your network up to let anyone in.

Engaging end users for feedback is important. How so during this migration?

When migrating, you are moving from one service to another. Most likely, your users will not notice much of a difference with Exchange, or maybe even Lync. The chances, however, that you are performing a migration from SharePoint 2013 on-premises to SharePoint 2013 Online are very slim.  What are some good steps to ensure you're not bringing over useless documents into your new system?

Perform a detailed analysis of all content, look at modification dates (do you really need that scanned JPG of the company newsletter from 1997?), talk to content owners, find out what content is not used often, if at all, and is just taking up space.  If end users are using their MySites as a personal drive, have them review their content and set limits as to what they can bring over. I know that on the terabytes of data I have backed up to a large stack of external hard drives, I hardly ever touch any of it, and probably delete most of it!

Space costs money, and there are limits to how much data you can store in a single tenant in Office 365 (25TB). Review what you have, analyze it, get feedback from the content owners, and only migrate what you need to. When cleaning your room as a teenager, just tossing everything on the floor into the closet (pizza boxes, and who knows what else), did not solve the problem; it just moved it to somewhere else. Throw the old food containers away, organize your clothes and put everything back that needs to be there.

What should be the highlights of an organization's governance plan?

I would say the biggest issue with an organization’s governance plan is, that once “the document” is created, it gets dusty and sits there in a virtual file cabinet. It should always be reviewed, updated and amended as the organization’s policies, goals and features change. Having a governance committee that meets regularly, helps enforce the policies defined, and works with the organization’s stakeholders is a key aspect of a successful governance model.