The Questions to Ask As You Plan Your SharePoint Site’s Future

Most of us don’t like doing software upgrades. Unless there’s a new feature the business is clamoring for, it’s a lot of work with a good deal of risk and not a lot of value visible to the business. Staying on supported versions is necessary, though, to make sure you get all the latest security patches and can keep your business and customer data protected.

If you’re still running an older version of SharePoint, stop delaying. SharePoint 2013 hit its end of mainstream support date back in April. While you can receive extended support for a few more years, you’ll probably be better off upgrading to SharePoint 2016. Of course, it’s no longer as simple as deciding to upgrade; now you need to decide whether to upgrade SharePoint on premises or migrate to SharePoint Online in the Office 365 cloud.

Questions to Think About When Deciding Whether to Migrate to SharePoint Online

There are a lot of factors to keep in mind when you try to decide how to handle switching over to a later, supported version of SharePoint. Here are a few questions to consider.

  1. Do you have plans to use other Office 365 products? If you are planning to use other Office 365 products, it may be more cost effective to migrate to SharePoint Online. You’ll probably save on licensing costs as well as the cost of local hardware running SharePoint.
  2. Do you need more business automation to build out workflows? SharePoint Online can be easier to integrate with other Microsoft products for automating workflows.
  3. How much time do you have for SharePoint maintenance? If you migrate to SharePoint Online, you won’t have to do any more routine maintenance. This will free up your team to work on other tasks that have more business value.
  4. How big is your current database? If your content database is very large, you might need to split it for better performance in SharePoint on premises. It might be easier to meet your objectives by migrating online.
  5. How large is your data center? Keeping SharePoint on premises means you need room for servers and storage. With SharePoint Online, that equipment goes away, letting you dedicate less space to your computer room.
  6. Does meeting compliance standards require keeping data on site? If so, you’ll have to upgrade rather than migrate.

Considering the Hybrid Option

There is a third alternative to migrating to SharePoint Online and keeping SharePoint on premises. That’s to create a hybrid environment that uses both Online and on premises servers. In a hybrid configuration, your data is split between the two environments. Search will be able to report results from both. You may want to consider this solution if upgrading will be less work for you than migrating but you also want to take advantage of the online features as you continue to develop your SharePoint site. You will have to support two different versions of SharePoint, which may be challenging.

Get help deciding how to move forward with your SharePoint installation from the team at Prescient Solutions. As Microsoft Partners, we’re expert in the entire suite of Microsoft applications, including SharePoint. Our IT consultants and managed services work with Chicago and Schaumburg-area businesses to ensure you get the most out of your IT solutions. Contact us to learn more about your SharePoint upgrade options and figure out which approach will work best for your business.

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