Businesses bogged down with multiple content management and collaboration platforms may look to Microsoft SharePoint 2010 to simplify infrastructure while taking advantage of SharePoint 2010’s new and enhanced collaboration, social, and mobile integration features. On the surface, combining multiple platforms into a single platform and subsequently streamlining the storage and archival of information is an easy and economical decision for IT departments to make.

However, the steps involving in moving to SharePoint 2010 can vary depending on the existing infrastructure in place. Many businesses use multiple content management tools across their IT environment to address different collaborative needs, introducing new management platforms over time as business requirements expand and evolve. This approach can incur multiple licensing fees and management costs, giving financial and IT departments a headache trying to justify price and resource demands.

For many, the move to a single solution, such as SharePoint 2010, makes perfect sense. It simplifies a vital business need by allowing end users to find documents in one place and IT departments to manage one platform. However, moving data from multiple legacy stores a centralised SharePoint solution can raise substantial challenges.

As an example, Epson sought a third-party solution which would enable them to migrate 300 gigabytes (GB) of data directly from ECM Documentum and Lotus Notes onto SharePoint. They originally decided to make the move to reduce costs and increase security, as each platform contained its own set of security policies that did not always converge with others. A platform such as SharePoint would allow for a far simpler and effective security policy.

However, migrating data directly from legacy platforms such as ECM Documentum and Lotus Notes is not possible when using Microsoft’s native tool set. A great deal of manual time and effort would be required to get data from A to B by working with SharePoint straight ‘out of the box’ in this scenario.

For Epson, administrators and end-users also felt that the migration provided the perfect opportunity to reorganise the business’ data and delete ten to twenty per cent of legacy files that were no longer in use.

Rather than ‘spring cleaning’ before the migration, Epson wanted to migrate all files across to SharePoint before unused data was discarded. This meant that SharePoint could work as a back-up environment once the legacy eRoom solution had been discontinued, safeguarding the business on the off chance that a file would need to be recalled. The decision was then made to migrate all information to SharePoint, and once that process had been completed, unused information could be deleted. The challenge arose in deleting these files, as SharePoint’s native tools only allowed for files to be removed one by one.

However, since Epson decided to employ a software platform, they could choose to purchase and independently deploy modules as difficulties arose, allowing them to overcome such problems. Instead of manually migrating data from legacy platforms to SharePoint, they automated the entire process.

Similarly, during the ‘spring clean’ of migrated content, Epson was able to set up an automated process to deleted files that fulfilled strictly defined quotas. Both of these functionalities saved the company valuable time in the transfer and allowed for end users to use SharePoint months before a manual deployment would have been ready.

Following the migration, Epson also decided to institute content lifecycle management, which would automatically delete documents that were no longer of use. However, with a new solution, the business was able to take this one step further and define different sets of documents and change policies to match their importance to the business, so vital product blueprints were in the system until the end-of-file expired while normal clerical documents were deleted at a faster rate.

SharePoint provides users a lot of flexibility in their individual deployments, yet it can be challenging and time consuming migrating to the platform. However, with available third-party tools specifically built to optimise the management and governance of SharePoint, users can easily identify challenges and overcome them quickly and cost efficiently.