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The Challenge

Our client is a leading Australian Charity that encountered a range of challenges with their on-premises file shares. These challenges included limited accessibility, where users could only access files within the office network, leading to constraints on remote collaboration and flexibility. Additionally, the infrastructure supporting the file shares was outdated, resulting in high maintenance costs and time-consuming upkeep effort. 

The volume of data managed on-premises was substantial, with their teams handling approximately 1.1 million files and 149,000 folders. This extensive data load underscored the organisation’s need for a more scalable and efficient data management solution. 

Specific limitations of the on-premises file shares further compounded these challenges. File size restrictions posed potential issues for storing and sharing large files effectively. User access controls may have been limited, potentially hindering certain users’ abilities to access or modify specific files and folders as needed. Moreover, mobile accessibility was constrained, impacting users’ ability to collaborate remotely and access files from mobile devices seamlessly. These combined limitations underscored the urgency for transition to a modern and more robust data management approach. 

The Solution 

Antares presented its tried and tested, multi-phased approach to tackle the organisations challenges with their file shares. The journey began with a detailed discovery phase, assessing the existing file shares by reviewing file size, and folder structure, and identifying potential technical limitations or migration issues. This was followed by a migration proof of concept (POC) using the AvePoint Migration tool, Fly, allowing for validation and showcasing of the migration process and expected outcomes. The migration plan was then structured into four waves, strategically focusing on migrating the top 34 level folders in the shared drive to Microsoft 365 (M365) in each wave. This phased migration approach ensured a smooth transition, broken down into logical waves based on folder size and user base. 

Each migration wave spanned two weeks, allowing for a soft cutover period post-migration, during which users adjusted to accessing files from M365. Training sessions were conducted to familiarise users with the new platform and functionalities. Notably, during week 2 of each migration wave, a soft-change freeze was implemented across all shared drive areas to prevent data duplication, with restrictions on file renaming, moving, or deletion. However, adding new files and updating existing files were permitted, necessitating careful planning and coordination to maintain data integrity and minimise disruptions throughout the migration process. 

The Result 

Our client successfully migrated all their on-premises file shares to SharePoint Online in Microsoft 365 (M365), achieving numerous benefits. This transformation allowed users to access files securely from anywhere, at any time, and on any device. Collaboration on documents received a substantial boost with the introduction of real-time co-authoring capabilities, streamlining workflows, and enhancing team productivity. The migration to M365 also brought about increased security, leveraging the platform’s robust security features to protect the organisations sensitive data effectively.