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IT Tips & Tricks

Top Tips for a Box to SharePoint Online Migration

Published 16 April 2024

Are you ready to make the switch from Box™ to SharePoint® Online? Are you champing at the bit for all the tools that the Microsoft 365® ecosystem has to offer? While this change may require careful planning, our collection of tips will help ensure a smooth transition — and we like smooth — while maximizing the benefits of the SharePoint cloud suite for your business.

Important Similarities and Differences That Can Impact a Data Migration

If you’re migrating from Box, it’s probably a given that you’re familiar with how Box functions and is structured. But are you equally familiar with SharePoint?

Being aware of the key differences and similarities can help you achieve a migration with minimal downtime and data loss, which means fewer support tickets for you to deal with and a reduced chance of the boss stalking around the IT department giving you the evil eye.

Although Box and SharePoint are different, there are also similarities. And there’s comfort in the familiar, so you may find these
similarities reassuring.

If you’re migrating from Box, it’s probably a given that you’re familiar with how Box functions and is structured. But are you equally familiar with SharePoint?

Being aware of the key differences and similarities can help you achieve a migration with minimal downtime and data loss, which means fewer support tickets for you to deal with and a reduced chance of the boss stalking around the IT department giving you the evil eye.

Although Box and SharePoint are different, there are also similarities. And there’s comfort in the familiar, so you may find these similarities reassuring.

Similarities:

  1. Hierarchical Structure: Both Box and SharePoint Online use a hierarchical structure to organize data, with folders (Box) or document libraries (SharePoint Online) serving as containers for files and other content.
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Is your data functioning as it should? Yes? Success! No? Uh-oh.

  1. File Management: Both platforms allow users to upload, share, collaborate on, and manage files and documents within their respective structures.
  2. Access Controls: Both Box and SharePoint Online offer access controls to manage who can access, view, edit, and share content, although the granularity and customization options may vary between the
    two platforms.
  3. Metadata: Both platforms support metadata to provide additional context and information about files and other content, enhancing search, organization, and categorization capabilities.
  4. Versioning: Both Box and SharePoint Online maintain version history for files, allowing users to track changes and revert to previous versions if needed, ensuring data integrity and compliance.
  1. File Management: Both platforms allow users to upload, share, collaborate on, and manage files and documents within their respective structures.
  2. Access Controls: Both Box and SharePoint Online offer access controls to manage who can access, view, edit, and share content, although the granularity and customization options may vary between the two platforms.
  3. Metadata: Both platforms support metadata to provide additional context and information about files and other content, enhancing search, organization, and categorization capabilities.
  4. Versioning: Both Box and SharePoint Online maintain version history for files, allowing users to track changes and revert to previous versions if needed, ensuring data integrity and compliance.

While their shared similarities in hierarchical structure, file management capabilities, access controls, metadata support and versioning functionality may be familiar, there are distinct differences in their focus, terminology, customization, integration and permissions model.

Differences:

1. Primary Focus:

Box: Box is primarily focused on file storage, sharing, and collaboration, with a straightforward hierarchical structure based on folders and files.

SharePoint Online: SharePoint Online is a broader platform for content management, collaboration and intranet capabilities, offering a more diverse range of features beyond file storage, such as lists, pages, and integration with other Microsoft® services.

A successful migration goes beyond simply transferring files or
data dumping.

2. Terminology:

Box: Box uses terminology like folders, files, and shared links to organize and
manage data.

SharePoint Online: SharePoint Online uses terminology like sites, document libraries, lists, and pages to structure and manage content.

Box: Box uses terminology like folders, files, and shared links to organize and manage data.

SharePoint Online: SharePoint Online uses terminology like sites, document libraries, lists, and pages to structure and manage content.

3. Integration:

Box: While Box integrates with various third-party applications, its integration options may not be as extensive as SharePoint Online's integration with the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem.

SharePoint Online: SharePoint Online integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft 365 services such as Teams®, OneDrive™, Outlook® and Office® applications, providing a more unified experience within the
Microsoft ecosystem.

Box: While Box integrates with various third-party applications, its integration options may not be as extensive as SharePoint Online's integration with the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem.

SharePoint Online: SharePoint Online integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft 365 services such as Teams®, OneDrive™, Outlook® and Office® applications, providing a more unified experience within the Microsoft ecosystem.

4. Customization:

Box: Box offers customization options such as metadata, access controls, and collaboration features, but its customization capabilities may be more limited compared to SharePoint Online.

SharePoint Online: SharePoint Online provides extensive customization options through features like metadata, custom lists, pages, workflows and web parts, allowing for tailored solutions to meet specific
business needs.

Box: Box offers customization options such as metadata, access controls, and collaboration features, but its customization capabilities may be more limited compared to SharePoint Online.

SharePoint Online: SharePoint Online provides extensive customization options through features like metadata, custom lists, pages, workflows and web parts, allowing for tailored solutions to meet specific business needs.

5. Permissions Model:

Box: Box offers granular access controls at the folder and file level, but its permissions model may be simpler compared to SharePoint Online’s more robust permissions management capabilities.

SharePoint Online: SharePoint Online provides highly granular permissions management, allowing administrators to control access at the site, library, list, folder and item level, with support for security groups, permission inheritance and fine-grained permission levels.

Strategic User and Data Mapping
in SharePoint

If you’re new to SharePoint, we’ll briefly address sites and site collections. If you’re already familiar with these, skip ahead to the
next section.

SharePoint offers two different types of sites.

If you’re new to SharePoint, we’ll briefly address sites and site collections. If you’re already familiar with these, skip ahead to the next section.

SharePoint offers two different types of sites.

Did you know that you can replicate the user collaboration structure from Box within Microsoft 365?

That’s a bit different from a Communication Site.

Communication Sites: Per Microsoft, “When you want to ‘broadcast’ a message, tell a story, share content for viewing (but not editing) to a large audience or the entire organization, or showcase services or people, you want a Communication Site. In a Communication Site, there will most often be a small number of content authors and a much larger number of content readers or consumers. Think about your corporate intranet. Even if you have collaborative parts of the intranet, the primary purpose of your intranet is to communicate a story such as corporate news or showcase services and information such as your benefits and policies. Your intranet sites are examples of Communication Sites.”

Now that we’ve clarified sites, we should also address site collections. As the name implies, a site collection is a collection of sites that consists of one top-level site, with several other sites below it. For example, let’s say we’re talking about the Marketing Department. Maybe their top-level site contains data such as an outline of their annual strategy, key goals and milestones. This will most likely be a Communication Site. Below that could be dozens of sites containing data on various campaigns, clients, vendors, budgets and so forth. Most of these will be Team Sites where Marketing team members can work and collaborate. All combined, this is the Marketing Department’s site collection.

Want to ensure a smooth transition from Box to SharePoint Online and unlock the full potential of the Microsoft 365 landscape?

For example, creating sites such as Management, Product Development, Marketing, Finance, Sales, and Operations makes it easy to separate users and data and migrate everything to its relevant site.

Here’s a recommended approach:

  • Create Departmental Sites: Establish SharePoint Online sites structured around departments such as Management, Product Development, Operations, Sales, Marketing and so on. This facilitates user and data separation for targeted departmental migration to the relevant sites you’ve set up.
  • User Mapping with CSV (Comma-Separated Values): If using a CSV-based migration tool, map users with the path of the relevant SharePoint Online Sites.
  • Validation is Key: Ensure the user mapping list is reviewed and validated by your IT department’s migration team — or your migration service provider — to avoid errors.
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Data mapping helps you see the big picture and ensures that data is accurately and efficiently transferred from one system or environment to another.

How to Preserve Functionality

Protecting your links is the smarter, more modern and efficient way to reduce downtime and data loss due to broken links — ensuring the uninterrupted availability of your organization’s linked data.

By migrating these features, you can replicate the user collaboration structure from Box within Microsoft 365. Furthermore, collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and Calendar™ further enhance
these features.

By migrating these features, you can replicate the user collaboration structure from Box within Microsoft 365. Furthermore, collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and Calendar™ further enhance these features.

Invest in Training and Management

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Training helps ensure cooperative, happy end-users. Don’t skimp on it.

Migration Protection