LL Global Migrates Directly to Microsoft SharePoint 2016 from Previous Version with AvePoint

Critical Needs

  • Simplified migration to SharePoint 2016 from SharePoint 2007
  • Migrate all legacy content, including metadata
  • Create consistent look and feel in new environment

Success Highlights

  • Reduced burden on IT to migrate directly to SharePoint 2016 from SharePoint 2007
  • Ensured continuity for users throughout the project by having all legacy content migrated with full fidelity and scheduling content migration jobs on weekends
  • Created SharePoint 2016 master page templates to stay visually consistent with legacy environment
quote We leaned heavily on AvePoint to guide us on migration best practices instead of having to invest in additional training to raise our SharePoint IQ. quote
Don Gladden System Administrator, LL Global

The Challenge

Having operated on SharePoint 2007 for years to facilitate interdepartmental collaboration and document sharing, LL Global decided to migrate to Microsoft SharePoint 2016. Upgrading to the latest version of SharePoint Server would ensure continued support from Microsoft and added peace of mind for IT. However, the organization’s IT team didn’t have enough SharePoint knowledge to execute such a migration. “We didn’t feel like we had the resources to complete a project of this magnitude on our own,” said Don Gladden, System Administrator at LL Global. “Even though we try to keep our SharePoint simple and free of customizations as much as possible, we still wanted external expertise to help us along the way.”

As a company that supports life insurance and financial services companies – industries that are more resistant to change than others – consistency was the key to the success of the organization’s migration. In order to upgrade its technology without disrupting business processes for its 450 employees, the company’s IT looked to recruit a migration services provider. “We have a small team with a relatively low SharePoint IQ,” Gladden said. “In order to set up our new SharePoint environment to look as similar as possible to our old SharePoint, we knew we were going to need outside help. Our industry is pretty slow to change, so we wanted to minimize the differences between old and new as much as we could. That included bringing all of our content, including metadata, over to SharePoint 2016.”

The AvePoint Solution

After evaluating multiple vendors, LL Global enlisted AvePoint to conduct its SharePoint migration. “As DocAve customers, we already had a good history working with AvePoint and its technical support team,” Gladden said. “We were confident AvePoint would do a better job with our migration than another vendor who proposed a much more complex plan.”

The company engaged AvePoint Client Services (ACS) to carry out its Migration-as-a-Service (MaaS). From the beginning, ACS was a much easier path to procurement of services than other options the organization evaluated. “Other vendors sent long proposals and didn’t respond as quickly,” Gladden said. “They also wanted us to migrate our data to SharePoint 2010 and 2013 before getting to SharePoint 2016, which would have taken much more time than AvePoint’s plan.”

To preserve its legacy content, the organization decided to migrate all 200 gigabytes (GB) of data housed in SharePoint 2007 directly to SharePoint 2016. This direct path to SharePoint 2016 meant no time was wasted migrating content to SharePoint 2010, then SharePoint 2013, and finally to SharePoint 2016. It also reduced the risk of losing data along the way. “We saved a tremendous amount of time by having AvePoint migrate our data,” Gladden said. “We were glad not to pick up legacy content and upgrade it twice before finally moving it to our destination environment.”

Although IT opted to do a one-to-one migration (as opposed to a selective one), the ACS technical team helped IT optimize along the way. In order to avoid exceeding Microsoft’s recommended content database size limit of 200 GB, ACS split legacy content up into three content databases. “That was just one of the areas where we knew we’d have to rely on AvePoint’s knowledge,” Gladden said. “We also knew we wanted to disable My Sites, remove legacy domains, and get rid of customizations we didn’t want to support in the future. AvePoint set up our new environment in a way that we could be the most successful.”

There were other ways AvePoint helped the organization create a sense of continuity for users during the transition. ACS used DocAve Software to migrate all of the company’s legacy data with full fidelity – which meant that search results remained accurate in the new environment and users could continue working with important files as normal. AvePoint also helped the organization maintain visual aspects of its SharePoint. “When we decided to upgrade our SharePoint, we wanted to make it look as similar as we could,” Gladden said. “AvePoint created our master page designs so it looked very close to what our employees were used to in SharePoint 2007. There was no way we could have done that on our own. People were generally aware that we were upgrading, but a lot of the migration happened in the background.”

By relying on AvePoint’s migration services, the company’s IT saved both time and money required to upgrade to SharePoint 2016 with only internal resources. “It was never an option for us to do the migration ourselves,” Gladden said. “We leaned heavily on AvePoint to guide us on migration best practices instead of having to invest in additional training to raise our SharePoint IQ.”

With AvePoint managing the organization’s SharePoint migration from start to finish, the IT team significantly reduced the internal effort required to get the job done according to organization requirements. “With AvePoint’s help, we had everything migrated long before our internal deadline,” Gladden said. “AvePoint was available to answer questions at every step of the way and guide us as we made decisions.”

The Bottom Line

By engaging ACS and leveraging AvePoint’s expertise, LL Global reduced the internal resources and knowledge required to migrate directly from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2016. “AvePoint moved all of our content to a pristine environment,” Gladden said. “I didn’t have to migrate anything, and we saved time by migrating directly. AvePoint was very easy to work with, and I can’t imagine how long the project would have taken without them.”

About LL Global

LL Global, Inc. is the parent company of LIMRA and LOMA. Together, they make up the world's largest association of life insurance and financial services companies, which represent more than 1,200 members across 64 countries.

LL Global