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SharePoint Blog

November 24
SharePoint to Sitecore: Migrate or Integrate?

​Earlier this year Microsoft confirmed that it is no longer offering public website features on its SharePoint Online and Office 365 platforms. Most VAR’s saw the writing on the wall in 2013 when Microsoft silently stopped releasing additional features supporting Web Content Management (WCM).  Since that time, ISV (Independent Software Vendor) Sitecore continued to invest and focus on WCM – and now in late 2015 there is a noticeable gap between WCM features in SharePoint and Sitecore.  Today – several Microsoft blogs now suggest that customers look to third party tools like Sitecore for a pure WCM solution.  Protiviti agrees.  For enterprise level WCM solutions, Sitecore is the clear leader in the space.

Sitecore is not just a WCMS (WCM system), but a complete Customer Experience Platform with digital marketing features that help companies to do more than having their message published on the web. It establishes a conversational channel with site visitors with dynamic content personalized based on various different parameters. Sitecore is the top leader solution on its field listed in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report and the tool of choice of many corporations with high traffic demand websites and large amount of content.

Migrating to Sitecore

A migration of a SharePoint public facing site to Sitecore is a task that requires correct analysis, planning and execution. In the analysis phase it is important to understand what are the different content types and components involved in the solution, what are the integration points in place and how they interact with external systems, what is the infrastructure required to support the solution, what is the volume of relevant content to be migrated, does everything need to be migrated or just a portion of your existing site? Which content or content types can be optimized to make use of Sitecore’s digital marketing features? Collecting all this information and performing the necessary discussions of requirements and analysis prior to planning the migration is important to ensure nothing is missed and the migration will fulfill what is required for a full benefit from Sitecore advanced features.

In the planning and technical design phase the team of analysts will work to define the appropriate mapping of content from SharePoint to a designed Sitecore’s content tree that will host the content, define the strategy for remapping internal links, consider the volume and requirements for media items migration (files, documents, images, videos), and the technical considerations for presentation and integration components to be developed and configured in Sitecore.

The execution portion involves preparing the required infrastructure and environments with all required external system connections opened to communicate with Sitecore, having what will be the base skeleton website developed and content tree in Sitecore created and properly tested, execution of the data migration steps defined in the planning phase with as much automation as possible, user acceptance testing on top of the migrated website and any necessary manual fine tuning on the content.  The administrator will also need to allow for some time to adjust to the contrast between the SharePoint interface and the Sitecore 8 metro-style interface, as seen below.

eduardo migrate image.jpg

Integrate with Sitecore

​Sitecore offers a complete and flexible SharePoint integration framework. It works with on-premises and online solutions and the following SharePoint versions:

SharePoint Server 2010, 2013

SharePoint Foundation 2010, 2013

SharePoint Online

Integration can be done at page level, item level or customized through the use of the framework’s API. In the item level integration for example you can use the framework’s wizard to:

Create Sitecore content items bound to SharePoint list items.

Create field mappings, configure options such as bidirectional integration, and schedule BLOB transfers.

Integrate items in real time or set an interval between updates.

The API offer advanced features allowing your development team to better customize presentation components and also work with custom SharePoint list types. 

As you can see below, using the SharePoint Integration Framework within Sitecore, SharePoint lists and other content types can be easily added to a Sitecore page.

eduardo integrate image.jpg

Whether you want to move all your content from SharePoint to Sitecore or just integrate your Sitecore site with content coming from your SharePoint instance will depend on what is the nature of your current content in SharePoint and if this content is being shared with other SharePoint solutions such as your Corporate Intranet or any LOB (line of business) applications you may have.

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