By Janice Uwujaren
Effectively introducing SharePoint 2013 to an existing SharePoint 2010 environment can present many challenges and obstacles such as the potential need to upgrade or buy new hardware, operating systems, and databases. Performing a readiness review by analyzing your current SharePoint 2010 implementation is vital to a successful SharePoint 2013 upgrade. When properly conducted, a readiness review will help you:
Prepare for Upgrade
Preparedness is essential to a successful upgrade from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013. Analyzing your current environment is a step toward ensuring preparedness. Being prepared can prevent a lot of the frustration, unpredictability, and surprise inherent to upgrading to a new SharePoint platform. Performing an analysis will ready you to make sound decisions during the SharePoint 2013 implementation process, get a complete and accurate picture of your current environment, identify areas for improvement, and mitigate potential risks. Arming yourself with as much information about the current state of your environment will streamline your conversion to SharePoint 2013.
Optimize the Decision Making Process
You will have many decisions to make as part of the upgrade process. A focused and deliberate analysis of your current environment will greatly enhance your ability to make clear strategic decisions that will work for your enterprise. For example, you can determine if your environment is currently using features that are deprecated or unsupported in SharePoint 2013. Doing so will give you the chance to plan how to handle such features in your SharePoint 2013 implementation. If you are not virtualizing in your current environment, you can use information from your analysis to weigh the pros and cons of virtualization as part of the upgrade process. Your analysis can identify the upgrade resources that will work best for your organization and business objectives.
Develop a Complete and Accurate Picture
To determine the best upgrade resources and plan effectively for your upgrade, it is important to have a complete and accurate picture of your current SharePoint deployment. Beware of presuming that you have a solid picture of your environment and that an analysis is a waste of time. There are patches, customizations, and user activities that are constantly changing the configuration of your environment. Furthermore, knowing your environment shortly before you upgrade will provide a good baseline to work from as you transition to SharePoint 2013.
While taking an in-depth look at your environment, it is an optimal time to improve the efficiency of your current implementation. You can examine performance issues, problem areas, hidden errors, poorly configured assets, and the setup of your current environment. To guarantee that your SharePoint implementation scales appropriately to exceed future business objectives, you can consider improving hardware, environmental structure, supporting infrastructure and content databases. Once you have identified areas for improvement, you can follow through with worthwhile modifications that will optimize the performance and efficiency of your SharePoint 2013 implementation.
Manage Potential Risks
Transitioning to SharePoint 2013 has the potential to cause significant downtime, disruptions, and delays for an enterprise because of the different areas of impact. If you know your risks, you can take necessary steps in advance to avoid them. Analyzing your current environment is a great technique for raising your awareness of any possible events, obstacles, or issues that may produce undesirable results during the upgrade process to SharePoint 2013. Doing so will provide useful historical information that will allow you to develop mitigation strategies to minimize or eliminate those risks.
The next three articles in this four-part series will delve into best upgrade practices, defining your upgrade strategy, and preparing for a trial upgrade.