My team who were working on a recent SharePoint revamp were really concerned that we were careful when rebuilding our SharePoint sites and that we had the chance to cross train other members of staff who were not technical. I have to say that after our first conversation with Intelogy, we had the feeling that not only were we in safe hands but they actually understood us and how we work. Our Project manager gave enough detail to make reporting a breeze and we couldn’t have been happier with the final result. We even learnt a few tricks along the way from our extremely helpful Solution Architect. I would absolutely go to Intelogy first when working on anything similar.
– Pete McGarel, IT Manager, London & Partners
SharePoint Online was already in frequent use for day-to-day working practices. The existing site architecture reflected the historical organisation structure and was built originally in the “classic” model of sites with sub-sites (and more underneath). This posed a significant technical challenge to the team at London & Partners for moving them into the new structure, along with transferring files to areas that were now more relevant.
Additionally, their existing SharePoint intranet was seen as outdated and in need of a refresh to provide a new, visually-impactful interface that staff would be happy to use regularly to keep informed and make use of resources.
Our consultants started by gathering an understanding of the existing site structure, and (through workshops and wider discussions) the working model for the new company structure. We needed to understand which sites could be moved, which sites required content migration to another (or new) site, and which sites or areas were no longer required.
We started off with a Site Architecture Workshop where we discussed and agreed on the manner in which sites would be structured following migration. Together with key stakeholders we went through all the requirements in detail and learned more about the existing working methods and looked at what could be further improved through additional SharePoint and Microsoft 365 features when the new structure would be implemented.
Our team worked with London & Partners to form a strategy to report on all existing content and provide a mechanism for staff to identify areas and content that required migration. It was understood that there was content that was not required for migration. This included redundant content and content with numerous historical versions that needed to be trimmed. Historical versions were confirmed as being in-place versions, managed by SharePoint, and therefore we were able to automatically trim these.
Further discussions were organised to provide a decision on any applicable exclusion rules and the sequencing plan for the migration timeline, to identify priority areas that should potentially be moved sooner.
A strong focus was placed on using the new SharePoint Hub functionality going forward, with sites being connected through association rather than physical location. This, first and foremost, allows any future restructure to be dealt with far more easily. In addition, a greatly improved navigation model was proposed that made use of SharePoint’s recently released (at the time) App Bar, while making use of the Hub site shared navigation to assist in user journeys. Once the structure and association were designed, we were then able to plan the physical move of document libraries as required.
We documented the output of the discovery sessions in a report to cover the architectural structure of the new site model, and how this would work within SharePoint Online, taking advantage of best practice approaches and capabilities.
After a thorough discussion with stakeholders, we estimated that 1.5-2TB of content out of the existing 4.2TB would need to be migrated. For the migration, we used a third-party tool called ShareGate. This was our tool of choice because it enables a reliable transfer of content from the existing hierarchical structure to a new hub-based approach. By using ShareGate, Intelogy was able to transfer content in a manner that retained file/folder permissions and version history, while also implementing new methods of using Content Types and taxonomy within the SharePoint environment.
As sites were moved and content migrated, we started to gradually build out the navigation model on the hub site(s) and the individual sites themselves, ensuring that the correct structure was reflected. The navigation feature was extended out to get a more targeted and simplified experience. Departments can now receive their own global navigation model, while site-specific navigation was also configured.
We also set up a new SharePoint App Bar to allow for true global navigation that would be accessible anywhere in SharePoint. This allows users to access recent files & latest news, create audience-targeted links, and ensure links are only made visible to certain groups of staff. The navigation is now accessible from any site within SharePoint.
The SharePoint App Bar completes the navigation model, allowing for site navigation, hub navigation and global navigation. All of these can now be configured and updated by any staff permitted for each area and do not require an administrator.
Ultimately, we implemented three methods of navigation within the new structure:
1. Global Navigation through the new SharePoint App bar
2. Hub navigation within each main directorate site, to guide users to locations within that
3. Site navigation for each location, guiding users to libraries or other quick links, as needed