Waterleidingmaatschappij Drenthe Synchronizes Content across Microsoft SharePoint Farms and Ensures No Data Loss with DocAve

Success Highlights

Synchronized 115 gigabytes of content across SharePoint farms, ensuring no downtime for end users during migration
Easily copied content across SharePoint farms without the need for Powershell scripts
Simplified full-fidelity content reorganization within SharePoint with graphical mapping interface and wizard
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Waterleidingmaatschappij Drenthe

Customer Location Assen, Netherlands

Industry Energy/Utilities

Platform SharePoint 2010

Critical Needs

Allow end users to continue working in legacy environment while IT deploys new environmentSelectively migrate content from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013Simplify content management within SharePoint

The Challenge

Waterleidingmaatschappij Drenthe’s IT department works as a shared services center for not only its employees, but two other organizations in northern Netherlands – Waterbedrijf Groningen and WLN. With the important task of water distribution to households in Drenthe and Groningen, project teams rely on SharePoint to manage their development projects. Specifically, they use project portals to plan new distribution networks, construction of new pumping stations, and other internal process and support projects. As the IT team prepared to migrate to SharePoint 2013, administrators looked for a way to gain more control over its systems than offered by native SharePoint.

While management of SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010 environments were mostly maintained by external consultants, IT admins chose to conduct their own migration to SharePoint 2013 – putting themselves in the driver’s seat. “By doing our own migration, we were making sure our new environment supported our needs,” said Jan Anne Bijker, Technical Application Manager and ICT Developer at WMD. “It also provided an opportunity to increase our internal SharePoint knowledge.”

However, the IT team needed a solution that would allow them to build a new environment while allowing its 560 users to continue working in its legacy environment. Putting business processes run in SharePoint – such as support ticket registration and resolution – on hold was not an option. “We used quite a lot of PowerShell code to move and reorganize sites and libraries,” Bijker said. “It did the job, but required lots of preparation and double checking. We had to be very careful about the scripts we ran on our production environment, so it wasn’t ideal.”

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It would have been impossible to accomplish a zero-downtime migration without DocAve’s replication capabilities.
Jan Anne Bijker
Technical Application Manager and ICT Developer, WMD

The AvePoint Solution

To address its content management and migration needs, WMD implemented DocAve Software, AvePoint’s fully integrated platform for SharePoint management. “We looked at multiple available options, but DocAve provided the functionality that gave us the control we were looking for,” Bijker said. “The modules are tightly integrated, and we can manage them all from one place.”

Before migrating to SharePoint 2013, WMD wanted the opportunity to review legacy data to ensure it was still relevant. As stakeholders reviewed content, DocAve gave the IT team flexibility to selectively copy and migrate sites and libraries to the new environment. With DocAve’s intuitive graphical mapping interface, IT can easily structure its new deployment so it’s optimized for users’ needs. “DocAve Content Manager gives us confidence to modify our environment without the fear of losing data,” Bijker said. “We didn’t want to do a one-to-one migration. Instead, we selected only the data we wanted to bring to SharePoint 2013.”

With DocAve’s content management capabilities, IT can also move data around within SharePoint. This is especially helpful as employees adopt the new environment. If a department needs to modify site structure, IT can step in and quickly make the changes. “We have the ability to reorganize libraries whenever we want without using PowerShell code, and we can also copy content from production to our test environment to keep it up to date,” Bijker said. “It’s much easier than using PowerShell code or SharePoint’s native interface. I prefer using DocAve because the wizard offers much more guidance than PowerShell.”

A major requirement during migration was to ensure business users experienced zero downtime during the project. The answer? DocAve Replicator. DocAve’s ability to synchronize content across SharePoint farms meant engineers continued to process work orders, and customer service representatives kept registering support tickets – without fear of losing any work. “We store a lot of customer and support information in SharePoint,” Bijker said. “As information was added in SharePoint 2010, we synchronized it to SharePoint 2013. This gave us flexibility to figure out how we wanted to build our SharePoint 2013 interface as we went along. If we didn’t have DocAve to support us during migration, that would have meant a lot of downtime and work on weekends. It would have been impossible to accomplish a zero-downtime migration without DocAve’s replication capabilities.”

The Road Ahead

Because of DocAve, WMD’s IT department is empowered to manage its SharePoint environment without relying on outside IT services. DocAve’s content management capabilities allowed IT to selectively copy and reorganize SharePoint content throughout its migration project – something that previously took up lots of time due to the need to write PowerShell code. WMD also benefited from DocAve’s replication capabilities, which allowed the organization to sync content between environments. End users could continue to work on business-critical operations in the legacy system while IT worked to deploy its new environment – which meant zero downtime throughout the entire migration. “We used to lean on other IT companies to solve our issues,” Bijker said. “The main benefit of DocAve is that we can now manage SharePoint ourselves. As we migrated to SharePoint 2013, DocAve was instrumental in allowing us to keep our important business process going because we maintained a connection to SharePoint 2010, which was still in production.”

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