Stella Maris College Migrates from File Shares to Microsoft Office 365 Twice as Fast and Boosts User Confidence with DocAve

Critical Needs

  • Fast and reliable data migration from file shares to both Office 365 – SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2013 while moving data with full fidelity
  • Simplified management and protection of SharePoint Online environment without adding infrastructure

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Success Highlights

  • Migrated 250 gigabytes (GB) of data with full fidelity from file shares directly to hybrid Office 365 – SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2013 on premises environment twice as fast as native tools would allow
  • Enabled efficient change and project management by pre-scanning legacy file shares to identify potential issues that needed fixing ahead of migration
  • Boosted IT and end user confidence in Office 365 by implementing a Software-as-a-Service solution that manages, protects, restructures, synchronises, and reports on SharePoint Online
AvePoint offered us a path from file shares to SharePoint Online that was much more reliable and faster than Office 365 out-of-the-box functionality.
Chris Maker IT Manager, Stella Maris College

The Challenge

With an annual enrolment of 1,000 students and a staff of approximately 200, Stella Maris College opened its doors in 1931 and currently provides secondary education for girls in grades 7-12. In order to manage organisational information and store important documentation, the school had relied on file shares housed on premises for the past 15 years. To modernise information management and allow for better collaboration, the organisation opted to move its content to Office 365. “Office 365 was easier to access on and off campus through its web-based interface accessible across many devices,” said Chris Maker, IT Manager at Stella Maris College. “SharePoint Online would help us foster better collaboration through shared calendars for our departments and, ultimately, workflows to help automate processes.”

In addition to enhancing collaboration, Office 365 also offered Stella Maris College cost and time savings due to the fact the platform was cloud-based with no on-premises infrastructure needed. After making the decision to move to Office 365, however, the school ran into a challenge when trying to move its data to the new system. “The native client sync tool wasn’t as reliable as we needed it to be, which made our end users nervous,” Maker said. “Files we moved were inexplicably missing and there were many restrictions on what we could and couldn’t move.”

To ensure a seamless transition to Office 365, the school’s IT team sought a third-party solution.

The AvePoint Solution

Stella Maris College chose AvePoint’s DocAve Migrator to help carry out its migration. Part of AvePoint’s DocAve Software Platform for SharePoint infrastructure management, DocAve Migrator provides an efficient, cost-effective solution for migrating content from legacy systems such as file shares to Office 365 – SharePoint Online. “After connecting with AvePoint at a Microsoft event, we learned about DocAve,” Maker said. “AvePoint offered us a path from file shares to SharePoint Online that was much more reliable and faster than Office 365 out-of-the-box functionality.”

Armed with AvePoint’s Discovery Tool, Stella Maris’ IT team was able to perform pre-scans of file shares and identify potential issues that could have delayed the migration process. “The Discovery Tool helped us work with school departments and teaching staff to resolve issues – such as file names with invalid characters – that could have caused problems during migration,” Maker said.

As it began to carry out migration jobs, the school was impressed by DocAve’s ability to migrate content granularly and incrementally. “The migration process was a great experience with very little down time for end users, as we migrated department by department with the help of DocAve,” said Maker. “We performed a full migration initially, directed users to the new systems, carried out incremental migrations to bring over any additional content, and then ultimately locked down the file shares once the migrations were complete. This process ultimately allowed our end users to start using the new environment and accessing their content quickly.”

As Stella Maris worked on the migration to Office 365 – SharePoint Online, the IT team also migrated the Administration and Finance departments’ files shares to on-premises SharePoint 2013, which it implemented due to the need to ensure immediate access to files and comply with regulations around sensitive data. “DocAve saved us lots of time with both migrations,” Maker said. “Based on our initial experience, DocAve helped us migrate to the new systems in half the time out-of-the-box tools would have required.”

Once on Office 365, the school was able to rely on AvePoint Online Services (AOS) to simplify management and protection of the new system. Requiring no installation or agents, AvePoint Online Services is the industry’s first and only 100 percent Azure-based Software-as-as-Service (SaaS) platform for Office 365. “AvePoint Online Services helps us manage Office 365 in a way that is easy to use and more thorough than native functionality,” Maker said. “It gives both IT and our users more confidence in Office 365.”

This increased level of confidence was especially important when it came to protecting critical content in SharePoint Online. With AOS, the school was able to run both full and incremental backups on a scheduled basis as well as quickly restore lost or deleted content down to the item level – as opposed to native capabilities, which can only restore at the site level. “If our users lose files in SharePoint Online, we can trust AOS to help us easily recover them with minimal disruption,” Maker said. “That’s key for a school like ours with a small IT team.”

The Bottom Line

Through its new hybrid SharePoint environment, Stella Maris College is able to provide users across campus with a more modern and productive collaboration experience as well as much easier access to their content. As the school looks to implement additional features of Office 365 such as Exchange Online for email and SharePoint Online workflows, the organisation will continue to rely on AvePoint and its 24/7 technical support resources. “AvePoint’s support team has been very thorough, knowledgeable, and helpful since our initial product implementation,” Maker said.

About Stella Maris College

Stella Maris College, Manly, Australia, is a Catholic secondary college for girls in the Good Samaritan Benedictine tradition.

Stella Maris College