Should Your SharePoint 2007 Platform Migrate to 2010 or Go Right to SharePoint 2013?

By Errin O'Connor posted 02-12-2013 02:47



Over the past few months I have met with a large number of clients with SharePoint 2007 implementations who are asking the SharePoint million dollar question, “Should we migrate our SharePoint 2007 environment to SharePoint 2010 or should we just go right to SharePoint 2013?”

There are 3 or 4 major questions and a few variables to those questions that frame this conversion:

  • What is the current state of your SharePoint 2007 environment?
    • Do you have any customizations that have been implemented that are business critical or need to be taken into major consideration?
    • What is the current state of your SharePoint infrastructure?
      • Do you have SQL Server 2008 implemented?
      • Is your organization ready for virtualization of 64-bit server farms?
  • How much content and what types of content do you have in your SharePoint 2007 environment?
    • Do you have major “team site sprawl” or multiple sites with the same content?
    • Have you identified the owners of this content and\or Site Owners?
      • More than likely some original site owners may no longer work in that department or others have taken on that responsibility
    • Has your organization broken “the SharePoint Golden Rule” by storing content in multiple locations (i.e. Rather than the SharePoint “one version of the truth” concept)
      • 80% of organizations have broken this rule so you are not alone, it’s time to get a handle of content sprawl and “surface” a piece of content in multiple locations instead of storing it in multiple locations
  • Do you have Microsoft Office 2010 installed within your organization?
    • Is there going to be any issues training users and do you have internal training strategies in place and\or what has worked in the past for training your organization’s team members?
    • Are users already comfortable with the “ribbon”
  • What is your licensing situation? Can you opt to go right to SharePoint 2013 with your licensing agreement or is SharePoint 2010 you’re only licensing option?

As I mention below, not every SharePoint 2007 environment should migrate right to SharePoint 2013 and some do need to go to SharePoint 2010 first and gain some momentum, buy-in, build cultural adoption, or keep pace with the organization’s I.T. roadmap so not to get ahead of other external factors.

I am going to run through a random scenario of an organization with SharePoint 2007 currently implemented and they are facing the SharePoint 2010 or SharePoint 2013 fork in the road that you may be facing:


Scenario – “Company A” - Organization with SharePoint 2007 Currently Implemented

There is a major manufacturing company (“Company A”) with SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) implemented with 4,000 users and they have their users using SharePoint, they are storing a ton of content, and there are some minor customization around SharePoint Designer on a few sites. This company has also purchased a third party workflow solution that they have developed a few “intermediate” workflows with and they are wanting to really take more advantage of workflows with a SharePoint upgrade.

I.T. management has pushed back on My Sites and they have only been implemented in a few departments but they are enabled, just not really promoted. Governance was lightly taken into consideration as a few “Microsoft” governance templates were used at first but the “SharePoint Governance Committee” concept really never took hold.

SharePoint’s security was implemented mostly with Active Directory groups when it first rolled out but this company has a lot of cross-functional projects and related project sites that require access from users from different departments.

In just like any company, they have created a good number of custom SharePoint security groups and they don’t really have a true grasp on what sites are secured with these custom SharePoint security groups and what sites are just using the “departmental AD Groups.”

Users are interested in automating some paper-based processed like onboarding as well as employee reviews that take a lot of time to send out, gather back again, and then provide feedback (again in a manual document) back to the employee. They have their 2 front-end Web Servers (running Windows Server 2003) virtualized and have a physical server for their SQL Server 2005 instance.

There is also a push to improve the organization’s overall disaster recovery (DR) strategy and SharePoint is a major application that is on their CIOs radar so it’s critical that scalability be considered. They have a licensing model that enables them to go to either 2010 or 2013 so it’s really up to what would be the best practices recommendation.

Should “Company A” migrate to SharePoint 2010 or go right to SharePoint 2013?


Scenario 1 - What Might I (EPC Group) Recommend or Consider?

The first consideration with “Company A” is that there is a large user base and SharePoint is simply too big to fail, as it is in many enterprise organizations, so it’s critical this project be completed successfully and in a manner that causes minimal business interruption (i.e. down time).

If we bullet pointed a lot of the major requirements \ considerations I would say:

  • There are going to be requirements around upgrading to new servers with Windows Server 2012 and will need to ensure there is a 64-bit architecture across the board to lay the foundation.
  • The SQL Server does not need to by a physical machine so I would be curious about the companies virtualization strategy as going 100% virtual is the way to go here.
  • There has been some good buy-in with “Company A’s” user base and they have invested in a 3rd party migration tool and it’s going to be important to understand exactly what type of workflows they have in place to see if they will need to be re-architected during the upgrade\migration.
  • It is really important to determine what has been done with the sites that were customized with SharePoint Designer so those need to be identified (URLs as well as the site owners) and have some “one off” sessions with those site owners or I.T. members with knowledge of what has been done there.
  • There seem to be some “power users” or very I.T. savvy users as there are more requests to automate paper-based processes so they have definitely seen ROI around business process automation (i.e. workflows and InfoPath or Web-based forms).
  • Along with Windows Server 2012 upgrades to the servers they are going to need to upgrade to SQL Server 2008 or rather install a new SQL Server 2012 instance they can dedicate to whichever SharePoint version is implemented. I also would inquire if the SQL Server 2005 box was a dedicated SQL Server to SharePoint or if it has other databases installed on it and is it in a cluster? This also plays into their CIOs push for disaster recovery improvements and to ensure there is business continuity.
  • As in any SharePoint 2007 upgrade \ migration I am sure that the security model has not been completely governed and there are SharePoint security groups out there that need to be deleted and \ or reviewed and consolidated into new SharePoint security groups or back to Active Directory groups that may be more current. (Note: Active Directory is always a variable and there is not organization out there with a perfect AD forest so this is almost always a given to review)
  • They have already upgrade to Microsoft Office 2010 so the Ribbon and user experience is really not going to be a factor so that will really help in the training for the upgrade.

My summary at this hypothetical scenario would be, let’s go straight to SharePoint 2013 and save the company another migration and IT budget so we are on the latest and greatest.

Why would I say they should go right to SharePoint 2013?

There are several good things that “Company A” has going for them that will enable them to go right to SharePoint 2013 which are:

  • They don’t have an unbelievable amount of customizations that would cause major headaches which is a huge plus.
  • They have embraced SharePoint 2007 and automating paper-based processes so SharePoint 2013’s features are going to allow them to get there a lot faster and give them a few more tools in their toolbox than SharePoint 2010 would.
  • I.T. pushed back on My Sites so the My Sites in SharePoint 2010 will probably not “wow” them like SharePoint 2013’s social features (professional networking capabilities) and 2013 My Sites will be a much easier sell.
  • With 4000 users they are going to have major BYOD issues (if they are not already having them) so SharePoint 2013’s will help immensely in that area giving them the added mobility \ tablet and roaming CAL (Client Access License) capabilities.

Several points that I get questions on every week that I think companies really need to understand that I have seen out there “in the trenches”:


My firm partners with most all of the SharePoint ISVs out there in a very agnostic manner but the amount of money you would spend on a 3rd party tool that “seamlessly migrates from 2007 to 2013” or “helps you migrate from 2007 to 2010 and then seamlessly to 2013” would better be spent repaving your companies parking lot!

You will get errors, “one offs” and a ton of manual tasks were your bag of SharePoint tricks and best practices will need to be put into practice. That is not going to make me popular with the major SharePoint 3rd party migrators out there but SHAREPOINT CONTENT DOES NOT NEED A 3rd PARTY TOOL to MIGRATE INTO SharePoint. (BUT)

If we were talking about migrating Documentum, massive file shares, eRoom, etc. than I would completely recommend looking at 3rd Party Migration Tools but NOT FOR SHAREPOINT TO SHAREPOINT MIGRATIONS. Huge waste of money (budget) there.

  • Not every SharePoint 2007 environment should migrate right to SharePoint 2013 and some do need to go to SharePoint 2010 first and gain some momentum, buy-in, or keep track with the organization’s I.T. roadmap.
  • The  navigational hierarchy and taxonomy will need to be addressed and more than likely updated and\or redesigned to keep up with the organization’s changes

Content types (metadata) should be addressed asap!

  • Defining your organization’s metadata (content type) strategy is almost a project in itself but it is really time to take a look at a core set of content types for your organization.


  • What is the organization’s current retention schedule? Can you identify some commonalities across the organization that the follow a major element in the retention policy?


  • eDiscovery and search are extremely powerful tools that you own with SharePoint and may not be utilized due to a lack of a content type \ metadata strategy

SharePoint touches almost every component in your company; Users turn on their laptop\desktop and BAM! There is your project! No pressure right; SharePoint projects are always some of the most high profile projects in the company and have zero room for failure and a little room for adjustment and a whole lot of room for cultural adoption.

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