Migrate From Network Drives to Microsoft Teams for Better Data Management

Learn how migrating your data to Microsoft Teams can improve your people's effectiveness.
If you think your organization could be using Microsoft Teams better, a good place to start is to see where your data and information is stored today. If most of your data is held in shared drives – networked, or even SharePoint — migrating them to a Teams structure will have an immediate impact on improving data management and data efficiency.

Migrating files into Microsoft Teams is relatively easy and straightforward. But, the process of defining the right spaces to migrate that data into, requires a thoughtful process and approach.

It is not a 1:1 transfer of folders and files from one place to another. Using Microsoft Teams for document management is a completely new way of thinking about your data and knowledge sharing — but one that will absolutely revolutionize the efficiency and functionality of teamwork and collaboration for your organization.

The advanced collaboration and communication tools that Teams provides have made network drives inherently less effective for storing and accessing organizational data. Migrating your data into Teams not only makes it more accessible to the workforce, but it also helps unlock the true potential of Microsoft Teams: data management, collaboration, and communication.

The key to successful data migration to Microsoft Teams

In our experience, successful migrations build on your existing data and processes, and map them to Teams functionalities that optimize both. We spend discovery time building a deep understanding of your organization:

  • Where your data is stored: A data audit is a critical first step. Define where your data is stored and what, if anything can be deleted (duplicates, outdated files, etc.), what can be archived, and what needs to be migrated.
  • Who needs access: Determine who needs access to files. Sometimes this is easy – a department, or project teams. Sometimes, it’s more nuanced. We use a specially designed matrix to help define where things should go, and determine the data structures.
  • What people do with it: Define any workflows needed — for example, approvals, notifications, or other tasks that are triggered by a document or a change. Some of these can be automated easily in Teams.

Next, it’s time to build your strategic plan. This key step defines and maps the tools and functionalities available in Microsoft Teams, to your data needs and processes. This ensures that you are structuring Teams in the best possible way to optimize accessibility, automation, and connectivity for your entire workflow.

This is the work we love to do — defining the spaces, structures, automations, and tools that enable your teams to really get work done.

Why migrating to Microsoft Teams is the right decision

Years of storing data in network and cloud drives means information is probably dispersed and difficult to find. Employees waste countless hours traversing folder structures beneath layers of “final_final_version” and “backup_backup_backup” to find the right files. Sharing and collaborating on documents often means attaching files to email for review and editing, creating duplicate snapshots of documents in various stages of progress — on each recipient’s device! Finding and maintaining up-to-date information this way is highly inefficient, ineffective, and poses potential security risks.

One of the main benefits of Microsoft Teams is the way in which data, conversations, and tools can all be unified into governed structures. This provides teams to ability to consolidate and organize their collaboration and communication experience into a “single-pane-of-glass” that can further be refined with role based permissioning. Migrating from the static folder-based structures of drives to the dynamic structures of Teams, unlocks a whole new level of collaboration, searchability, and secure communication.

Migration for better collaboration

Collaboration is the secret sauce that drives innovation and productivity in any organization. In a team, you can create dedicated channels allowing groups to organize themselves to fit their needs — for example, project phases, department functions, or topics. Each channel corresponds to a folder in the team’s SharePoint document library, where Microsoft Teams stores documents and files. The channel structure provides endless flexibility in how Teams can be organized for different groups — for example events, departments, cases, projects, or clients.

Because Teams incorporates chat, call, and video conference capabilities into each team, document collaboration and communication is seamless. No more endless email threads with copies of outdated documents. It’s easy to quickly review documents, ask questions, share ideas, and get approvals without ever having to leave Teams. With conversations and documents unified in a single, central repository, information can be neatly organized and accessed within the appropriate team channel — and searched — all in the same place.

Find files faster and easier

We’ve all gotten that call or email – someone looking for a document that they “just can’t seem to find,” forcing you to spend precious time sifting through files and folders, trying to find that one report from two years ago. By migrating your data to Teams, you gain access to a more powerful search. Using keywords, Teams can instantly pull up all relevant files, chats, and conversations in a single view.

PRO TIP: Consider extending your search by integrating your SharePoint-based intranet into Teams to get even better results. With more robust filtering and taxonomical categorization, SharePoint can provide the ability to search across multiple teams and sites in a single search query. Ask us how!

Maintain strong data governance and security

We get it – IT needs the data to be safe and protected. But the business needs flexibility to operate and grow. This is where Teams templates can help the most.

Templates provide your organization with guardrails for data governance and security so that everyone follows the same guidelines — while providing operational flexibility to employees to get their work done. You can create templates for different types of projects or workflows, making it easy for employees to adhere to best practices, while keeping IT teams stress-free.

Coupled with Powell Teams (software we’ve found to be the best in supporting companies with Microsoft Teams migration and implementations), you can go a step further in understanding, managing, and controlling governance in Teams. With Powell Teams:

  • IT gains powerful insights into how Microsoft Teams is being used, and the ability to spot potential security threats before they become an issue.
  • IT admins can control Templates down to specific details of governance including approval workflows, access, categorization, naming conventions, minimum number of users/owners, expiration, and even assign automated workflows.
  • Employees gain features that extend taxonomy to improve search and findability of Teams, channels, conversations, and documents.
  • Authorized employees can easily create or submit for approval a team via a templated, wizard-based process, without the need for additional IT resources or opening an IT ticket.

While Microsoft Teams alone is a powerful solution, Powell Teams enables companies to establish and maintain standardized structures and permissions, simplifying the migration process, and ensuring long-term success. Your employees will have the freedom to create and collaborate while staying within the boundaries you’ve set. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Ready to Migrate to Microsoft Teams?

Migrating to Microsoft Teams from network or cloud drives is a smart decision. In addition to streamlining your internal processes, you’re also working to create a culture of transparency and openness. Teams becomes a central hub for knowledge sharing in a safe and secure way, fostering innovation and opportunities for growth.

Imagine the possibilities when files and communication are organized and access is managed seamlessly! Our Discovery and Migration Support services can help your business make sense of how to best structure Microsoft Teams for success, support workflow automation, and improve utilization of your M365 investment.

If you’re ready to make the move, and unlock the power of data management, collaboration, and communication — reach out to us at StitchDX here or click the orange chat button below right.