“We could not have migrated to Office 365 on our own, and we had a very good experience working with AvePoint Client Services.”
- Joyce Koch, IT Director, Assumption High School
Assumption High School is a Catholic high school for young women located in Louisville, KY.
For Assumption High School, SharePoint 2013 gave staff and students a centralized platform to access documents, submit requests, and collaborate better. With SharePoint, staff records absences, submits technology and maintenance requests, tracks staff goals, and maintains lists of student grades. Employees also use sites and libraries to house substitute teacher plans for each department.
While user adoption was high, IT consistently had issues with patching and maintaining servers. The team relied on an engineer to help with patching and updates. “Internally, we did not have the SharePoint knowledge to keep up with the maintenance,” said Joyce Koch, IT Director at Assumption High School. “Eventually, we had to do it on our own. Every time I ran an update, I held my breath because I was afraid something would break. After some time, we decided not to continue updates – but you can only hold off for so long.”
The school’s solution was Microsoft Office 365 – SharePoint Online. Moving to the cloud would eliminate the need for IT to manage infrastructure and install updates, and meant that students and staff didn’t have to learn a new system. But, how would they actually get there? “We previously worked with a consulting company to move our SharePoint data to the cloud,” Koch said. “There were a lot of issues. The consultants were able to create Office 365 accounts for all of our users, but ultimately the project was a failure. We needed a solution to successfully get us to the cloud and get there before the summer ended.”
Assumption High School’s IT team considered multiple Office 365 migration solutions on the market, but ultimately engaged AvePoint Client Services to run the project. Lacking the right experience internally, IT chose AvePoint’s Migration-as-a-Service (MaaS) to fill in the SharePoint migration knowledge gaps. “We had worked with a consultant who used AvePoint’s migration software, DocAve Migrator,” Koch said. “While that project was unsuccessful, it had nothing to do with the software. We heard positive reviews about AvePoint, and of course they knew how to use their own product. And importantly, they assured us they could get it done by the time school started.”
With help from AvePoint’s services team, Assumption High School’s IT team spent two months planning the migration, reviewing the organization’s requirements and assessing the source environment. They mostly did a one-to-one migration, except for a few select libraries in SharePoint 2013 where they applied special rules. “To help speed up the migration a bit, we decided to apply filter policies to certain libraries,” Koch said. “In some cases, we just wanted to bring one year worth of data instead of three. That was a nice option to have in our migration plan.”
By working with AvePoint, IT benefited from the ability to incrementally migrate chunks of data to its new environment. In total, the organization moved 100 gigabytes (GB) to SharePoint Online. “The migration itself only took a couple of days,” Koch said. “Because we were able to maintain all metadata, it was seamless for students, teachers, and staff – only IT was aware of the migration. We experienced zero downtime, which was one of the biggest benefits of using AvePoint’s migration services.”
Throughout the migration project, AvePoint’s services team acted as a partner to Assumption High School’s IT team. Communication and support were key to the success of the organization’s migration to the cloud. “AvePoint explained everything very clearly throughout the entire process,” Koch said. “We had great support from their entire team. They worked on our migration project with me after school hours when I could give it more attention, and they always got back to me in a timely manner. The biggest thing for us was that our portal was never down. That was not the case with our SharePoint 2013 migration, where we had to keep users offline for some time.”
Now, with Office 365 – SharePoint Online, the school’s students and users have access to the same sites and services they were using on premises – but IT no longer has to deal with the hassle of server maintenance. Thanks to AvePoint Client Services, the transition was seamless. “I don’t think we could have done the migration without external help,” Koch said. “Our only other option was to replace SharePoint, which would have been time consuming and costly. I cannot imagine what it would have cost to reproduce everything we did in SharePoint on other systems. Plus, users were already familiar with SharePoint, so it would have been a big undertaking to ask them to learn new systems and do the training.”
Because it did not have enough knowledge to migrate to Office 365, Assumption High School’s internal IT team relied on the expertise of the AvePoint Client Services team to get to the cloud without losing any data – and get to its destination on schedule. By using DocAve Software during the migration, AvePoint was able to selectively move data to Office 365 with full fidelity. Metadata such as permission structure remained intact, ensuring zero downtime for all users. “I’ve been through a lot of installs and a lot of migrations during my career,” Koch said. “We could not have migrated to Office 365 on our own, and we had a very good experience working with AvePoint Client Services.”
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