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Complete SharePoint Online Migration Checklist for Shifting Data

Published By Deepa Pandey
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On October 25th, 2023
Reading Time 10 Minutes Reading

SharePoint Online Migration Checklist for Error-Free Migration

As the business world continues to evolve every day, organizations encounter new challenges. One of the most critical of them is data transfer during acquisition, mergers, restructuring, etc. So if your organization is one of those geared toward shifting to a SharePoint Online system, you need a comprehensive SharePoint Online migration checklist. Having a planned guideline in place is a no-brainer, especially for such a crucial task. So as industry experts, we add our two thoughts and give you this template for absolutely free. 

Every administrator wants to make a risk-free and timely change to SharePoint content databases. To assist in that, we give some of the key points for creating a checklist in the first place.

Why You Should Create a SharePoint Online Migration Checklist Prior to Migration

The reasons behind making a SharePoint online migration checklist lie in the way and scenarios in which SharePoint can be operated. Additionally, admins need a fundamental understanding of the inner workings of the SharePoint service. 

Continuing our explanation on the subject, every SharePoint portal on its surface is a site creation and management portal. It is a secure environment where key news and developmental information can be shared with the relevant stakeholders. Apart from this, SharePoint’s architecture also directly supports other key services like Teams and OneDrive in their collaboration and storage, respectively.

Moreover, SharePoint is not a single site but rather a collection of interconnected sister sites that complement each other. So while making a SharePoint online migration checklist, administrators must ensure that this structure is mirrored at the destination in its entirety.

This complicated cluster increases the amount of information within a single SharePoint network exponentially. On average, SharePoint sites can contain 25 TB of data or more. Management of this amount of data is not possible without a proper plan in place.

This marks the end of the most crucial point for spending time on checklist creation. Next, we give an overview of the various elements that make up a checklist.

Core Elements of A SharePoint Online Migration Project Plan

  • Make an inventory of the SharePoint sites, users, etc present in the source. This makes it easier to estimate the time and effort required. It also allows admins to tally the data after migration to check for missing items.
  • Appoint people with experience as heads of testing teams for different domains. This divide-and-conquer strategy is best for large-scale migration.
  • When the teams have accumulated their data, follow one of the two methods either cleanup, then categorize, or vice versa. Both strategies work better in different scenarios. Choose accordingly.
  • However, do not forget to make well-defined criteria for various data types. This reduces the workload and also eliminates the risk of duplicate data being transferred. 
  • To ensure that the most important data is prioritized, you can move it first manually. Additionally, this prioritization can be automated via the professional tool we have provided.
  • Every stakeholder needs to be aware of the changes in their SharePoint environment, including users. Additionally, this is a sure-shot way of minimizing user-generated errors. Admins should also plan out adequate training for users so they have no difficulty navigating or using the brand-new setting.
  • Choose the most suitable product for performing the migration. To make things easier, we have mentioned a state-of-the-art product right here in the checklist. Choose it and forget about any migration issues.
  • Even with a professional utility, it is not a good idea Don’t jump into the migration right away. Moreover, the reason for this is that underlying issues may end up failing the data transfer. So it is best to start with a test or demo migration, and if everything checks out, follow with the rest of the migration.
  • A SharePoint online migration checklist is not complete without a post-migration checklist. It is made to determine whether or not the project was successful.

Data Points That Belong in a SharePoint Online Migration Checklist

Apart from sites, SharePoint is host to many other different data types. So before a migration, a proper list must be made to avoid last-minute confusion. A SharePoint inventory consists of, but is not limited to, the following items.

  • SharePoint Farm Server Topology
  • All Web Applications
  • Sites and the Site Collections they belong to
  • Both Regular and Large lists (including email-enabled ones) and Libraries
  • Individual Pages (Login, profile, etc)
  • Custom Master Pages, Page Layouts, and Solutions
  • Workflows
  • Content Types
  • Site Columns
  • Permissions
  • User Alerts
  • Retention Policies
  • Records
  • Users and Groups used
  • External URL Dependent Files
  • Blocked File Types
  • Branding
  • Any other UI customizations (JavaScript, altered menus, etc.)
  • InfoPath Forms
  • Information Rights Management

Customization is at the very core of Sharepoint, so it’s not surprising that many items on this list may not be in your scenario. Additionally, the opposite can be true too, where some other data items might be within your environment that we have missed out on. In the end, IT administrators who are given the task of managing the migration must take special care so as not to miss out on any data items.

Tidy Up the Accumulated Data

One of the most prominent reasons to move the SharePoint site is when the source gets too cluttered to function appropriately. This diminishes productivity while bringing in a whole lot of issues like slower load times, malfunctioning sites, etc. Therefore, it is the duty of the migration manager to ensure that these limitations stay at their source and don’t get passed on to the new environment. A simple way to limit this risk is to perform a clean-up operation on all the gathered data. That is why we feature this task as a separate section in this SharePoint Online migration checklist, and you should too.

Go through this small list of items and ensure they don’t get entry into the migration pipeline.

  • Invalid and Orphan Users
  • Dysfunctional SharePoint Groups, Lists, and Libraries
  • Ineffective versions that are present in the version history portal
  • Old and Unused Content, Sites, and Workflows
  • Junk files that are present in the recycle bin

Some points to follow while cleaning up the data are.

Make cleaning an individual responsibility. There are many cases where a person deletes a file belonging to someone else, not knowing that it has some critical data. If users are in charge of their own stuff, this is less likely to occur.

Moreover, administrators can speed up the process by combining the sites into collections where similar redundant data can be scrapped all at once instead of the time-taking alternative.

End Point Readiness Phase of SharePoint Online Migration Checklist

No amount of data cleaning is sufficient if we don’t have a place to put it. That is why the endpoint itself must be ready to receive a large amount of data. Moreover, during endpoint creation, there is a list of things to keep in mind Don’t worry; you need not go anywhere else, as we provide them right here.

  • Form the new environment’s architecture to match the source.
  • Build and set SharePoint hub site(s) settings likewise
  • Optimize the performance of new SharePoint Servers’ during installation
  • Set up all Web Apps one by one and be sure to follow all authentication and authorization rules
  • Keep a backup of all critical data
  • Test the restore mechanism
  • If needed, set SharePoint up to get user profiles from any specific sources
  • Map a plan for the metadata on your content
  • Update your metadata; bulk additions or edits to metadata
  • Optimize mapping of templates, columns, or users
  • Examine your customizations and, if necessary, transform them to work in the new destination site.
  • Create a systematic watchlist according to these guidelines:
    • Establish a hierarchy of various duties and responsibilities.
    • Sort your organizational data according to a time period (utility has an inbuilt setting for this).
    • Change the settings for guest and external access (Pause this option temporarily)
    • Map access rights and collect metadata of users and groups 

Prepare the Users for the Change

End users are the ones who bear the brunt of the errors or enjoy the benefits of successful changes. To make sure that the latter remains the case, administrators must put in extra effort to train the users. This re-education is compulsory for all organizations that have a migration on their horizon. Moreover, in the end, it is the users who determine whether the change is for the better or worse. So user training must have a spot on the SharePoint online migration checklist for all admins. The changes and new features should be explained in a clear manner so that no confusion remains. Additionally, users should also be made aware of the timeline of the changes within the SharePoint environment.

Users who are part of the migration get to see the following:

  • Major and minor URL updates
  • Improvements to the SharePoint Sync Policy
  • Bookmarks Updates
  • Referenced Documents Location

We urge the administrators to pay close attention now because we are about to inform them about the most important project plan item.

Select the Migration Method

As industry veterans, we recognize the importance of the migration operation for users, and as a result, we recommend the SysTools SharePoint Migration Tool. This tool is intelligently designed to adjust according to the scenario and fulfill all migration requirements.

Download Now Purchase Now

It redefines industry standards with its unique and simple UI with different filters to bring the best-in-class results. Download the tool from the link below and follow these quick steps to shift all SharePoint data.

Step 1. Launch the tool to pick Office 365 as both the Source and Target.

Select Office 365

Step 2. Go to the Workload area to only select Sites then apply the Date Filter.

Select Sites and Apply Date Filter

Step 3. Conduct Validation for both Source and Target using admin-level credentials.

Validate Source and Target

Step 4. Map users via Fetch, Import, Download, and redo the same for SharePoint Sites.

Map Users and Sites to Copy Document Library from One Site to Another Easily

Step 5. Make Sections, apply Priority, Validate, and then initiate by hitting the Start Migration button.

Start SharePoint Tenant to Tenant Migration

Post SharePoint Online Migration Checklist for IT Admins

  • Use the feedback mechanism of the utility for any error reporting and resolve it accordingly. 
  • Pick a select few users who have relevant experience and assign them various Site domains for testing purposes.
  • Make sure that in the testing phase, no unnecessary changes are made. To do this keep the Site in read-only mode.
  • Testing should include both white box and black box scenarios for all workflows with their complementary storage areas.
  • In case the testing team finds missing data, this issue can be resolved via the Retry Failed feature of the utility itself.
  • For site-level errors, IT admins can apply the command “Repair-SPSite” and then check the service again.
  • Functionality-breaking issues that affect multiple sites might need remigration; this can be achieved via the re-run full migration function of the utility.
  • Once all tests are done and any major/ minor errors are resolved, it is safe to permanently take down the source SharePoint site.


Through this tutorial, our aim was to give expert guidance on SharePoint Online migration checklist creation. We hope that the explanation provided here was enough for the admins who have a migration project coming up. Finally, we would like to highlight the fact that most problems during migration arise from choosing an inferior method. To counter this, users can go for the utility mentioned above.

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