If you are currently running Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007) or Windows SharePoint Services v3 (WSSv3), you might be struggling to identify your roadmap to newer versions of SharePoint. In this first of a two-part article, I will share with you the business and technical reasons why my roadmap to SharePoint 2013 does not stop at SharePoint 2010.
This migration is a “skip it” migration. Just say “no” to SharePoint 2010.
But first, let me send you greetings from beautiful Melbourne, Australia! I’ve just finished participating in the SHARE event, which focuses on the business-side of SharePoint. This is the last stop in a round-the-world epic journey, which started at home in Maui three weeks ago, went to the SharePoint Conference in Vegas, then on to SharePoint Connections in Amsterdam, SharePoint Evolves in London, and then after a super-long flight from London via Sydney, to Melbourne. Next, I head home for a whole week before SharePoint Saturday Honolulu (which is actually on a Friday, Pearl Harbor Day in fact) and SharePoint 360 Live! in Orlando. Whew! I won’t see home again until 2013.
Now, back to migration… specifically from 2007 to 2010.
Do Not Stop at SharePoint 2010
One of the questions I get regularly at events these days comes from customers who have MOSS 2007 or WSSv3 and are developing their roadmaps forward. Many (or most) of my customers in this situation are giving serious thought to skipping SharePoint 2010 altogether, and that is certainly my guidance to you: Move straight to SharePoint 2013.
Do not stop at SharePoint 2010. Do not waste your time or money.
The current needs—the current workloads, teams, and projects—that you are supporting on MOSS 2007 will migrate to SharePoint 2013 just the same as they would to SharePoint 2010. There’s really nothing that you can do on SharePoint 2010 that you can’t do—a little or a lot better—on SharePoint 2013.
But by moving to SharePoint 2013, you’re going to be much better equipped to support your future needs—and by “future” I mean the needs your business already has “queued up” today. Because the odds are that your business is going to require functionality that can only be supported by SharePoint 2013. This includes business workloads that fall into the “big bet” categories of SharePoint 2013—the features that Microsoft invested heavily in, including social, search, business intelligence, and web content management for public-facing websites, intranets, and extranets. And, it’s likely your business currently needs—or will soon need—the ability to support workloads on mobile devices, on non-Windows devices, or on browsers other than Internet Explorer.
Consider SharePoint Training and End-User Adoption
You also must consider training and user adoption. If you move users from 2007 to 2010, that’s going to require training—a significant amount of training, in fact. SharePoint 2010 has rough edges in discoverability, and gaps in usability, that were solved in SharePoint 2013. That means that your users will require more training going from 2007 to 2010, than from 2007 to 2013. You’re also going to have to train users twice. You’ll have to train them to use 2010, and then when you do finally move to SharePoint 2013, you will have to train them again because the user interface and user experience is quite different in each version of SharePoint.
Consider Your SharePoint Customizations
From a purely technical perspective, the hard part of your migration from 2007 to 2010 or 2013 is the evaluation of your 2007 customizations. You must look at code-based customizations, whether custom-built, in-house code, or third party tools, add-ins, or web parts, and determine what will and won’t work in the target version of SharePoint.
The odds are pretty good that some of your customizations won’t work, and you will have to decide whether the functionality those customizations provide is still necessary, or whether the customization can be left behind. If the customization is necessary, but incompatible, you will have to determine the cost and effort required to remediate the customization so that it works with your target version.
The effort I’ve just described is the same whether you are going to 2010 or 2013. And, in fact, it’s extremely likely that the remediation you undertake will result in the customization being ready for either version.
It’s not the target version of SharePoint that is the issue. It is the mess you have in your 2007 environment that is the real problem. Once you solve that, you are ready to migrate to either 2010 or 2013.