How Modern SharePoint fits with your Modern Workplace strategy

SharePoint has been an integral part of so many businesses for so many years. When Microsoft announced they were modernising SharePoint in late 2017, we were excited and conscious of the business implications. Some businesses rely heavily on Classic SharePoint, wouldn’t it be a headache if they were made to migrate?

Thankfully Microsoft isn’t making anyone migrate. If you love Classic SharePoint, you can stay on it for the foreseeable future. Microsoft are continuing to support it; however what Microsoft aren’t doing is continuing to invest in it.

You still have options to run both – classic and modern – which is great news. But if you’re looking for a SharePoint experience that is compelling, flexible, mobile and easier to use, now is the time to consider migrating.   

But don’t worry! Modern Workplace Alliance partner Engage2 is at the forefront of helping companies move from Classic SharePoint to Modern SharePoint. Together with their vast experience they’ve helped pave the way for Modern Development in Australia. They’ve learnt that any risks associated are well and truly outweighed by the benefits of the Modern SharePoint platform.

In this article we’ll look at the differences between Classic SharePoint and Modern SharePoint and talk you through how you can overcome any migration concerns.

Classic SharePoint vs Modern SharePoint

Just in case you’re unsure, Classic SharePoint is the SharePoint that’s been used forever for building intranets and other solutions. The technology is more than a decade old. By contrast, Modern SharePoint pages have been on Office 365 for just over 18 months.

There are some distinct benefits to the new platform. The most major advantage is that Modern SharePoint has been built from the ground up as mobile-first – “Anywhere, Anytime, Any Device”. A limitation of Classic SharePoint was that a system administrator with specific specialist Development skills would be needed to make your SharePoint mobile friendly. With Modern SharePoint, the whole platform is device-agnostic from the get go.

Plus the authoring process (one of the key features of SharePoint) has been improved. Previously it was dated and slow. Now it’s much easier and intuitive.

Mark Powney, Cloud Architect, from Engage2 notes that “it’s more fluid for authors to generate content now. The ability to create a page is a 2-click process. Authors have the flexibility to choose their layout and how the content flows from one page to the next. So authors have control over how their content looks.”

Microsoft’s continued investment in Modern SharePoint brings other benefits. Any new capabilities and tools released into Office 365 (for example, the video capability of Microsoft Stream also available in preview) will quickly become available on Modern SharePoint. Another example is Microsoft Forms – there is already a much easier way to integrate forms into Modern SharePoint without having to jump through hoops.

Modern SharePoint also has a better content approval process than Classic SharePoint. Integration with Microsoft Flow, a business process automation tool, enables an entirely customisable approval process out of the box.

The concerns of moving – and how to overcome them     

As with any upgrading of technology, migrating from Classic SharePoint to Modern SharePoint is not an overnight fix. It requires a considered change management process to ensure its success. The migration can be complex, can typically take from 3 to 12 months, but does brings with it so many benefits, the least of which is helping your workplace to modernise.

The best way to ensure your migration to Modern SharePoint is as smooth as possible is to partner with an experienced provider, such as MWA and Engage2.

Partners help you easily navigate concerns such as:

  • Day-to-day authoring differences. While the underlying concepts of Classic SharePoint and Modern SharePoint are similar, there are differences in how the two platforms are used day-to-day. These can be frustrating initially. The good news is that Modern SharePoint is much more intuitive and fluid! Users tend to become familiar with the interface pretty quickly and then embrace the benefits it brings.
  • Support concerns. Support was on an as-needed basis with Classic SharePoint, but the many tools, capabilities and releases of Modern SharePoint mean continued support is needed. This sounds scarier than it is. We find that it means you get answers faster, things are fixed quicker and your workplace benefits from a faster, more efficient platform.
  • Downtime risk. Some companies have expressed concern about downtimes associated with Modern SharePoint’s evergreen environment. However, Engage2‘s experience is that any downtime is quickly resolved. And don’t forget that the downtime risk existed in Classic SharePoint, too.
  • Customisations issues. Regular releases can sometimes impact customisations. But with enough lead time from Microsoft and a trusted partner on hand to support you, customisations can work as expected. It’s always a good idea to test new capabilities before releasing them to a production environment.

As well as the benefits of moving onto Modern SharePoint, the migration itself offers a rare opportunity to take stock. It’s a great opportunity for your Comms team to take a fresh look at the existing content and ensure it’s still of value. Is it still relevant? On brand? All existing content also needs to be reviewed in terms of mobile responsiveness as part of the migration, so it can help realign the brand’s communications and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Upgrading is a journey

At MWA, we believe that transforming to a modern workplace – like migrating to Modern SharePoint – is a journey. A journey that should consider the bigger picture surrounding your modern workplace strategy, user training and a proper change management strategy.

The complexity of migrating to Modern SharePoint means companies need an experienced partner. Someone who knows what’s coming down the line from Microsoft. Someone who can help your business take advantage of new solutions, test them and ensure they work with any customisations you have.

We understand that migration changes workflow processes. We work with our customers, from management right down to the individual users, to clarify what outcomes you’re after before we start any work.

Still not sure whether your business would benefit from moving to Modern SharePoint? Take our Modern Workplace Assessment to find out how you’re tracking on your Modern Workplace journey – or get in touch with us directly.

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