My thoughts on the technical aspects of manuall migration of an Access or other legacy forms application

Divide the migration to 3 different parts:

  1. The governance & Process flow
  2. The content- migrating the data
  3. The interface

Governance, planning and process flow

First of all decide what is going to be migrated and create a migration map and a document containing all the information.

Before any migration to the cloud I would like to refer you to the following article: Five pitfalls to avoid when migrating to the cloud

The most important one is: do not forget the what? who? and why business users are going to use it.

The simple understanding of who access what? which users are going to use this application and how? have a basic process flow and well defined personas for your application. If it is big enough, user stories will be needed as well.

After reviewing those topics you would be able to figure out the SharePoint solution architecture vs the existing one in Access. The how will be cleared, should you use several lists? how about groups? sites? PowerApps? maybe several pages just for the view and some custom made buttons?

2. Migrating the data –

    1. Create the data repositories – the lists, you can export the Access data by tables to Excel.
    2. SharePoint, unlike Access, is not a relational Data Base, that means that the data should be not normalized and hierarchy’s are not going to work the same unless a custom solution is applied.
    3. The easiest way is using the quick edit mode on a pre-created tables – yes that means basically rebuilding the Access solution

3. Migrating the interface

Prepare the solution – the data is going to reside in SharePoint lists? the access is going to be through list forms? another 3rd party solution? What is the user interface going to look like?

I would recommend to use Power Apps in order to achieve the forms look and feel and enjoy the benefits of the flow for any business rules you have mapped in the first part. The Power Apps can be connected to several data sources, hence creating the illusion of a relational DB after all. A very important tip, make all your editing in Power Apps desktop application. The online version is a bit, sneaky ;-).

Also on Quora

Security Groups in SharePoint What happens when someone leaves?

SharePoint 2013 doesn’t have dynamic security groups. It is based on the AD groups already in the organization. The users cannot be created in SharePoint only existing users in the organization can be added. The same happens in Office 365, you need to add the user for the entire organization either as a guest (free account), contact or organizational user.

This is from the Office 365 main menu and not internally to SharePoint

The users are added in this screen according to the different groups:

Now, the users can be added into specific groups or sites in SharePoint or any other Office 365 application. If a user deleted from here, and no longer exist as a user in the organization, he will disappear from the sites and groups preventing be ghost users in a SharePoint site. (At least according to what I have seen, I am sure there are some exceptions perhaps someone can comment?)

So What happens on premise? SharePoint 2013? Someone leaves the organization and than what?

Back in Share Point 2010 and before the so called “Ghost users” were very common phenomena especially when cutting the sites permissions from the main site which was easily done but extremely hard to govern.

There are 3rd party tools, based usually on Power-Shell commands that creates the dynamic groups ability in SharePoint. Those solutions are sometimes necessary when the organizational AD is poorly managed, the 2 teams (SharePoint and Active Directory) don’t have the best internal communication between them or the governance policy was defined separately. In smaller organizations, sometimes a delete Power-Shell function is used when someone leaves brutally deleting all the permissions by site collection. Not dynamic or efficient but works and leaves no tails of orphaned users. Remove-SPUser . Same can be applied for adding one.

The other way is to use the AZUE AD dynamic groups, which is very efficient for hybrid SP solutions (partially in the cloud and partially on premise). You still need to manage the users in AD and the groups.