People talking at sunset
Now is the time to plan for the end of SharePoint 2007 support. PHOTO: lifeofpix

Everything ends, including support for the 2007 version of SharePoint Server. 

This Oct. 10, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 will hit its end-of-life milestone. 

It will official become an unsupported product, meaning no more security patches to protect users from vulnerabilities.

If your enterprise still uses SharePoint 2007 and you've yet to take preventative measures, it's time to stop procrastinating. 

In a Microsoft Tech Community post last fall, Microsoft Senior Technical Product Manager Bill Baer said SharePoint Server 2007 ushered in a new era of capabilities

But he added the latest versions of SharePoint on-premises and in the cloud through Office 365 have even more to offer.

Still, change is hard ... especially for organizations that have clung to SharePoint 2007 for all these years.

The Question

What are the biggest problem facing enterprises still using SharePoint 2007 and what should they do?

The Answers

Vlad Catrinescu, President & Senior Consultant, vNext Solutions

Vlad Catrinescu
Vlad Catrinescu
Catrinescu is a consultant specializing in SharePoint and SharePoint Online deployments as well as hybrid scenarios. As a Pluralsight Author, Microsoft Certified Trainer and international speaker, he has helped thousands of users and IT pros get the most out of SharePoint. He is also a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in SharePoint since 2013. Tweet to Vlad Catrinescu. 

The biggest problem for enterprises still running SharePoint Server 2007 will be a painful migration. Migrating from a SharePoint version to another is never fun and you always run into some problems. However so many things changed between SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint Server 2016 from a product perspective that doing a migration by using only out-of-the-box tools is now almost impossible.

Enterprises currently running on SharePoint 2007 will have to buy a third-party application to migrate their data to SharePoint 2016/SharePoint Online. If they had any customizations, they will probably need to start coding them from scratch.

So what should they do? It’s time to seriously plan for a migration project for 2017 to migrate to either SharePoint Server 2016, SharePoint Online or a combination of both in a hybrid environment. Enterprises currently running SharePoint 2007 must also look at their customizations, decide which ones are still needed and start re-coding them by using the new development techniques for SharePoint 2016/SharePoint Online where possible.

Migration of the content will be easy by using a third-party migration tool vendor. However none of those vendors has a tool that will automatically help you with the customizations so that will probably take the biggest effort in the migration.

Andrew Connell, Founder, Chief Course Artisan, Instructor, Voitanos

Andrew Connell
Andrew Connell
Connell is an independent consultant, instructor and developer who focuses on SharePoint content management, workflow and custom development. He's the founder, chief course artisan and instructor at Voitanos, where he publishes his on-demand technical training and educational resources for Microsoft’s Office 365, Microsoft Azure and cloud-related technologies. Tweet to Andrew Connell. 

SharePoint 2007 will continue to work after the extended support period just as it did before, so you don’t have to do anything.

However, if you're looking to be on a supported platform I’d look elsewhere for a WCM solution for your organization. The closest and best option to stay on the Microsoft stack in my mind is Sitecore that has various migration options from SharePoint. Plus, Sitecore is a true WCM and has multiple integration points to SharePoint.

Benjamin Niaulin, Product Advisor/Evangelist at Sharegate & GSOFT

Benjamin Niaulin
Benjamin Niaulin
Geek and Office 365 MVP, Niaulin has been sharing his experience and knowledge since SharePoint 2007 through training and public speaking at conferences. A SharePoint MVP, he's a product advisor and evangelist at GSOFT and Sharegate, a SharePoint migration tool provider. He’s a contributing author of Pro SharePoint 2013 Branding and Responsive Web Development and regularly writes for multiple SharePoint Community Sits. Tweet to Benjamin Niaulin

The challenge won't just be the migration itself. It will be seeing the modern SharePoint and realizing it's somewhat of a different product now.

It's likely an enterprise stayed on SharePoint 2007 due to heavy customizations of the environment, perceived to be costly to rebuild. However, the landscape is changing and it will likely be of greater cost to these organizations not to move on. With a changing workforce and expectations we have towards technology today, it will surely end up costing them more.

Though nothing is forcing them to migrate to Office 365 or SharePoint 2016, it will be very difficult for them to keep a competitive advantage while using something built over a decade ago when iPhone's did not even exist.

They should migrate to something that best solves their organizational needs. Start with an inventory to know what you have in your SharePoint 2007 and what the complexity of the migration to Office 365 or SharePoint 2016 would be. Sometimes, it may be a lot easier than originally perceived.

They should also learn about Office 365's Productivity Suite as SharePoint is no longer just by itself in its silo. It is part of a package known as Office 365 Groups and offers a whole lot more. Finally, should plan an architecture that fits your organization's challenges and map your migration to it.

John Peluso, SVP of Product Strategy, AvePoint

John Peluso
John Peluso
With 20 years of experience helping organizations understand how they can drive secure collaboration and business productivity through an effective use of technology, Peluso has held both technical and business management roles. He is a Senior Vice President of Product Strategy at AvePoint, and holds Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and Microsoft Certified Trainer certifications. Tweet to John Peluso

There are a few well-known risks. SharePoint 2007 was really the first version to be heavily adopted in organization-wide deployments. There are a lot of customers that have built customizations and solutions on it that will need to be addressed when they are ready to migrate.

By “addressed,"  they need to consider both the impact of the customization on the migration process (i.e. SP 2007 solutions that are not available in later versions such as the “Fab 40” templates so many organizations deployed) and also the need to supply like-for-like capabilities for business processes that still relied on those old customizations.

In my experiences, a majority of those old customizations are abandoned or only lightly used, so it’s important that they do some analysis in the early stages of their migration to understand the actual workload for addressing those customizations.

The other issue all SharePoint 2007 organizations need to address is tools. No native options exist for direct migration from SharePoint 2007 to any modern version of SharePoint, so part of the migration planning process will be the analysis and selection of migration tools. Good discovery tools, mapping and filtering options are going to be key as well as solutions that provide flexible scheduling options so that business impact of the migration can be minimized.

Other than the need to consider the issues above, this is a great time for anyone looking to upgrade to a modern version of SharePoint. SharePoint 2007 customers can see some “reward” for waiting so long as they now have both a best in class on premises option to move to (SharePoint 2016) and also a ridiculously innovative cloud platform option (Office 365) to consider.

This makes now the perfect time to take a long look at how organizations want to collaborate in this modern world of work. It would be a mistake to aim at simply replacing the same functionality and work processes they used in 2007 when there are so many new options available today.