If you’re still running your business-critical applications on SharePoint 2013, it’s time to make a change. On April 11, 2023, Microsoft is officially ending its extended support for this product.
Although SharePoint 2013 will continue to run, the biggest challenge for your organization is Microsoft will no longer provide any security updates and patches from this date onward.
This means from April 11 Microsoft will no longer provide:
- Technical support
- Bug fixes for issues that may impact stability and usability
- Security fixes for vulnerabilities
- Time zone updates
As there will be no further updates, patches, or fixes for the product (including security patches/fixes), if you choose to do nothing, your organization will be exposed to any vulnerabilities.
Worst case scenario, someone could gain unauthorized access to your systems through an exploit.
Risks of doing nothing
Undertaking a migration project might not be at the top of your priorities right now, however there are considerable risks associated with running SharePoint 2013 unsupported.
For organizations in financial services, insurance, healthcare, government, or any industry responsible for storing customer data, doing nothing is going to be a huge problem for you.
To remain HIPAA compliant, patching and auditing procedures are mandatory. It’s therefore essential your organization is on a supported system that gets regular security patching.
Customers with external, public-facing SharePoint sites are especially at risk of security breaches.
Without the security updates, patches, or fixes from Microsoft, public-facing sites become increasingly exposed over time as malicious exploits are developed to take advantage of known vulnerabilities.
Over time SharePoint 2013 components and solutions will become less reliable, degrade in performance, and be more prone to failure.
Without the support of Microsoft to quickly get you up and running again, should a failure occur, your team could experience extended downtime to coordinate an unsupported fix, if a fix is possible at all.
Benefits of migrating from SharePoint 2013 to SharePoint online
There are many benefits of migrating to SharePoint online. Reassuringly, SharePoint online largely behaves like you’re used to with SharePoint on premise and SharePoint 2013.
However, there are some amazing modern low-code or no-code tools, which will open new possibilities as well drive considerable efficiencies for you.
Benefits of migrating to SharePoint online at-a-glance:
- Added sharing and permissions with Microsoft 365 groups
- Dynamic communication sites and pages
- Easier-to-maintain architecture built around hub sites and site collections
- Enhanced multilingual support for intranet content
- Expanded search options with Microsoft Search
- Improved platform and component performance
- Increased options for navigation experiences
- Integration with modern electronic form and workflow automation
- Leverage Microsoft Teams for collaboration and communication
- Modern, responsive templates and themes
- Secure, easy-to configure sharing and collaboration with external users
- Multi-layer data protection
- Improved accessibility for those with disabilities or limitations
- Break the upgrade cycle. Microsoft 365 (including SharePoint Online) is always up-to-date.
One of our favorite features of SharePoint online is its device agnostic modern experience. By migrating you’ll get a modern refresh – that follows modern site designs – which is better to look at, enhancing the end user experience.
Integrations with M365
The best thing about SharePoint is it gives you easy hooks into the rest of the Microsoft 365 suite of products. Some of our favorites include:
PowerApps: Build fully functional apps and SharePoint custom forms that connect with a wide range of data sources using a robust no-code/low-code interface.
Power Automate: The capabilities of Power Automate go well beyond the capability of SharePoint 2013 workflows. Build workflows that integrate with the full suite of M365 applications and services. Extend automation even further with several 3rd party connectors available from industry leading partners.
Power BI: Accessing data and using it to drive decision making is straightforward. Spin up a dashboard connected to SharePoint, tap into hundreds of available data sources, extract and transform data using Power Query and create rich visualizations all without one line of code. Take it further with the M formula language, DAX and even Python scripts!
More efficient team sites
If you’re currently using team sites for your intranet, SharePoint farm or document storage, you’ll experience a large jump in efficiency and an immediate jump in productivity by switching to SharePoint online.
- Create responsive content rich pages using a flexible layout that looks great on mobile devices.
- Lists and libraries are faster and easier to work with.
- Modern web parts offer new ways to highlight news, featured content, people, exchange calendars, charts and much more.
Modern teams’ sites are fully integrated with Microsoft Teams, giving your organization a whole new way to work.
How long it takes to migrate
The time it will take to migrate from SharePoint 2013 to SharePoint online will vary depending on the size of your organization and how much custom functionality your site currently has.
But, as an idea, for a company of less than 50 people, you could expect to do it within a few weeks. For larger organizations, with lots of customizations and multiple servers, it could be a multi-month process.
For both, the hardest part of the project is not technical but communicating changes to end users. Develop a sound communication plan for all your target audiences and plan to communicate regularly throughout the migration.
How Cloudwell can help
We have migrated many customers from SharePoint 2013 to SharePoint online and have a tried and tested four-phase method based on Microsoft’s best-practice.
Phase one: Explore
In this phase, we’ll work with you to understand the scope, gather information, and take an inventory of your existing environment.
We’re looking at how complex your existing system is, how much data needs to be moved, how many sites there are, and how many servers you have.
Towards the end of the discovery phase, we’ll create a plan and layout the architecture of how we’re going to structure your sites, where documents will go going, and give you an outline of how we’re going to build your workflows etc.
Phase two: Align
This is a collaborative phase. Working with your in-house tech team and internal stakeholders, such as department heads, we’ll set objectives.
For each department or stakeholder, we’ll identify their unique challenges and create scenarios.
For each scenario we will explore the following questions:
- Does it solve a real problem?
- Is the objective obtainable?
- Will it be widely used (how many people?)
- How much value will it bring?
We will then work with your team to determine priorities and set out a roadmap for the project, beginning with highest priorities.
Phase three: Implement
The implementation phase will begin with your company’s top priorities. It’s at this stage we’ll build workflows and write code, whilst relying on the input from your team to ensure the business processes we’re creating match expectations.
For example, if your HR has an on-boarding process that we’re rebuilding, we’ll collaborate with your head of HR to ensure that the new workflow(s) behave as expected, so there is no interruption to business processes after migration.
Phase four: Engage
In the final phase, once the migration has been completed, we’ll work with your team to ensure everything is running smoothly.
We’ll also recommend ways to use the new tools available to you to enhance the SharePoint environment to drive greater efficiency and productivity.
For example, PowerApps forms is a much more effective way to create a ticketing system than using SharePoint lists and libraries. This feature-rich tool also comes with better analytics, which makes monitoring and reporting on tickets status, and who’s been assigned what, so much easier.
Although we are SharePoint experts, and love a migration project, we’re also Microsoft DevOps, Power Platform, Azure and Viva specialists too.
This means we can build any Web Part that you need.
So, if you have custom functionality that currently exists in your SharePoint on-prem environment, we are the people to replicate that in SharePoint online.
Plus, we’ve built two great tools that we know will enhance your SharePoint online environment immediately too.
Our Calendar Overlay App consolidates all your SharePoint lists and libraries, Planner plans, and Exchange calendars in one place.
Calendar Overlay is highly customizable, with multiple use cases and great for project management, conference room scheduling and displaying team member availability.
See our blog on the top five ways to use Calendar Overlay.
Team Members App
Our Team Members App is a perfect partner to Calendar Overlay. View all team members from your Microsoft 365 groups, SharePoint groups, Teams, and Active Directory departments all in one place.
Find colleagues searching by their name, department, job role, or project team and contact them directly all from within your intranet or Teams.
Think of Team Members App as a handy department directory where you can see who’s who and job roles within your team.
Like Calendar Overlay, Team Members is highly customizable and supports 22 languages for organizations that operate globally.
Looking for help with migrating your content management system from SharePoint 2013 to online?
We pride ourselves on solving our customers challenges, fast.