M/N drive and Documentum migration | Your questions answered

A summary of the questions and answers from an open meeting about the M and N drive and Documentum migration, held in November 2022.

The questions and answers are split into the following sections: 


1.    When does data need to be moved off the M/N drives? How long will we have to prepare?

The project is just starting, and in December we will be going into the discovery and analysis phase. This will last for five months to ensure we fully understand all the data that has to be migrated and can provide all the support necessary to do this. So, it will not be until after May 2023 that we would start to look at moving data, and this will be in a phased way. 
We recommend you do not move any data until we have completed our analysis of the M and N drives.

2.    Can you reassure us we will receive confirmation of the dates and regular reminders? 

Engaging with you will be a major part of the discovery phase. It's important that we understand what data is stored where so that when it is migrated you have secure access to it. During the discovery phase we will be communicating with your regularly through channels such as the All Staff eNewsletter, and running workshops, discussions and interviews. You should hear more about these opportunities in the New Year. 
The phase one will be 5 months. This will take us up to approximately the end of May. At the end of May, we will be looking at the phase two migration.
The communications at that point will be informing you about the migration phases and how it will impact you. You can expect regular communications from now on, and as we get closer to phase two more detailed plans will be shared with everyone.

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3.    What happens to N drive data if the original owner has left?

If the original owner has left, we will look to identify a new owner for the content. We will identify issues like this during the discovery and analysis phase. 

4.    Will research project data on the N drive be transferred to the lead researcher’s OneDrive?

Because it is shared content, it would make more sense for it to reside in SharePoint, but the lead researcher may be identified as the owner. 

5.    If someone leaves, will we be able to access their OneDrive files?

If a new owner for the files is identified, then access can be granted to them. This is the same process as if someone currently left the University and there was a business reason to access files on their M drive. If it is shared content, it should be kept on SharePoint rather than OneDrive.

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6.    Will there be support and training with SharePoint (apart from LinkedIn Learning)?

During the discovery and analysis phase we will be investigating what support and training is required and developing the necessary materials. We will keep you informed as we move through this phase. Training will form part of the migration phase, and we will publicise training and training materials when they are available. 

7.    Any guidance for SES, particularly re student records retention?

The project will engage with the SES leadership and key stakeholders during the discovery phase to understand the landscape as well as gain a view of the usage of the N Drive and the ways of working.  Regarding student records retention, we will be working with the Secretariat around GDPR considerations and will communicate these ahead of migration to the new environment. 

8.    Will there be support on hosting databases?

Yes. We will be conducting extensive engagement during the discovery and analysis phase to help us understand what is required and any issues.

9.    Where we have business-critical systems and processes that are currently on the N drive will the project be offering support in migrating these over to SharePoint? 

Yes, we will be migrating files for you and ensuring you have support throughout the process. 

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Moving files

10.    What do I need to do and what involvement from departments/services will be needed? Will there be clear guidance on what should be stored where? 

The discovery phase will allow us to understand all the data that is currently stored on M and N drives, and in Documentum, so that we can provide clear advice and guidance in later phases of the project.  You do not need to do anything at the moment, and files will be copied over for you in the migration phases. 

11.    I have already copied my M drives over to OneDrive. Will this cause any issues? 

This will not cause any problems, but please think about what the data is used for. Is it just used by you, or does it need to be shared? If it needs to be shared, your OneDrive is not the right place to store it, and it should probably be on SharePoint or Teams. 

12.    If someone has already copied content across from the shared N drive to SharePoint, should they just delete the content from the end drive because it's already on SharePoint?

Ideally you should only keep the ‘live’ copy of your data. So, if you have copied data over to SharePoint and are actively working on that copy you may want to first of all make the other copy read only, then when you are confident it is no longer needed remove it. You want to avoid a situation where some people are working on the SharePoint version and other people are working on the version on the N drive. 

13.    Do the appropriate AD (active directory) permissions go across or do these need to be rebuilt and reassigned?

We will be trying to keep the structure and permissions as close as we can to the version that we are migrating. We want everything to be as familiar as possible after the migration. There may be cases where this is not possible, but we will identify these during the discovery phase and engage with the users to address any issues. 

14.    Will you provide higher level support for areas of the business to help shape how they approach things like naming conventions and file structures, etc, so that things don't get moved that aren't needed or shouldn't be kept for GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) reasons and so on?

Yes, we will have a steer on GDPR issues from the University Secretariat and will be developing guidance that we will share with you. 

15.    What happens if someone doesn't want to migrate their N drive as it currently is, but wants to use this as an opportunity to archive and refresh the structure and split it into smaller SharePoint areas? Will you be able to offer help with that?

You may opt to use this opportunity to reorganise data before migration but delivery pressures will place limits on the time available for this.  Tidying up N drive directories will be the responsibility of the relevant drive/directory owners.

16.    Should we tidy up our files and file structures before the migration? 

Yes, it would make sense to use this as an opportunity to reorganize data before migrating. 

17.    Will information still sit within organizational units such as faculties and services to ensure sustainability?

Yes. The plan is to migrate data using the same structure as is on the M or N drives when it is migrated. There may be some changes, for example there is a limit to the number of characters you can have in the file path, but the discovery phase will identify these so we can discuss options with you. 

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18.    What will happen to key Access/ODBC connections that are still required for crucial business and are currently hosted on M/N drives?

The discovery and analysis phase will give us a much better understanding of those interactions and the technical team will be working with our third-party supplier to understand those ODBC connections and how they interact. We can then look at how we can transfer them and minimise any impact. To ensure they are assessed, please reach out the project team represented by Robert Mitchel (R.Mitchell@leeds.ac.uk) to register your M/N hosted applications.

19.    How will spreadsheets with links be migrated? 

The discovery and analysis phase will help us understand this. We will work with you to understand which spreadsheets have links and how we can best migrate them. It will take time to understand all the impacts and we will work with you to minimise any issues. To ensure they are assessed, please reach out the project team represented by Robert Mitchel (R.Mitchell@leeds.ac.uk) to register your M/N hosted spreadsheets.

20.    We have several processes which automatically create / read / write files on the N drive. Will we be able to do something similar in SharePoint?  

We will be looking at this during the discovery and analysis phase to identify which process are involved, who owns them and how we can work with you to mitigate any impacts. To ensure they are assessed, please reach out the project team represented by Robert Mitchel (R.Mitchell@leeds.ac.uk) to register your scipts/apps that read/write to M/N hosted directories or files.

21.    Can we 'mount' a SharePoint location using a virtual drive letter to enable easy storage and location of files in a tree-like structure?

We do not recommend this. Although it is technically possible, Microsoft strongly recommend against it. 
There is a OneDrive client that makes files available locally and gives you something that looks very similar to mounting a drive. There is a similar thing for SharePoint. 

22.    What about edge cases, for example where we are relying on m/n for assessment processes or using macros? Will they create issues?

We will be conducting extensive engagement during the discovery and analysis phase to help us understand and mitigate and issues. To ensure they are assessed, please reach out the project team represented by Robert Mitchel (R.Mitchell@leeds.ac.uk) to register your macros or assessment processes that use M/N hosted directories or files.

23.    We have a business-critical access database linked to SQL tables. I've heard that they won't work on OneDrive or SharePoint. Is that correct?

You can store databases in OneDrive or SharePoint, but you would need to download them to work on them locally. 
We will need to investigate your requirements during the discovery and analysis phase to develop a solution or alternative. To ensure they are assessed, please reach out the project team represented by Robert Mitchel (R.Mitchell@leeds.ac.uk) to register your M/N hosted applications.

24.    Will you provide support for people who use Argos as a reporting function, because at the moment it saves everything in the shared drive?

Yes, we will be looking at your requirements in the discovery and analysis phase and identifying any issues to discuss with you. To ensure they are assessed, please reach out the project team represented by Robert Mitchel (R.Mitchell@leeds.ac.uk) to register your M/N hosted applications.

25.    Software versions (eg Office) in SharePoint seem different to those on the N drive, with a different user experience. Will this change that? 

The version of Office you are using doesn’t depend on whether you are accessing it from SharePoint or a shared drive. However, when you open a file from SharePoint you may be opening it in the web version of Office rather than the version installed on your computer. You can still choose to open it using the installed version of Office rather than the web version.

26.    SAP GUI 770 does not recognize files in OneDrive. Will this change?

This is something we will look at during the discovery and analysis phase. There is ongoing work to upgrade SAP, and the newer version may tie in more closely with OneDrive and SharePoint, but this is something we will look in to.

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OneDrive and SharePoint

28.    Files shared on OneDrive have an expiry date on the link. Is that still the case?

There is an expiry date on anonymous sharing links which allow anyone with the link to access the files. This is for security reasons to stop information being accidentally shared. This expiry time does not apply to links used to share documents with specific people or people only within the University. Find out more about sharing links. 
We will be reviewing all the admin settings as part of this project. 

29.    Are there any restrictions on SharePoint for working cross domain or cross organizations?

Having content on SharePoint allows you manage permissions more easily than on the N drive, and you can share with people outside the University. If the other organisation also uses Microsoft 365, they will be able to access using their normal login details. If they don’t use Microsoft 365, they will just have an extra email to verify their identity. 
If you were working with a particular external company, you could also request a Team site to be created and allow external access to it. This works better and is more secure than, for example, sharing files over email. 

30.    I found syncing between the OneDrive online and the client is problematic. Do you think this will improve?

As part of the Windows Refresh project, we are ensuring everyone has an up-to-date version of Windows, and will therefore have the latest OneDrive client, and will receive future updates, which should help.

31.    I can see two instances of OneDrive on my computer, one called Personal and one University of Leeds, but the contents of them are identical. Is that normal?

Originally an older OneDrive client was rolled out. We have since published a new version, and encouraged people to use that, so it may be that you have both versions, and are essentially synching the same data to both clients. Please log a request with the IT Service Desk to get one version removed.

32.    When should I use OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams? 

You should use OneDrive for your own personal documents. If you are sharing documents or collaborating with other people, you should use SharePoint or Teams. Find out more about when to use OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams

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General project questions

33.    The N drive, whilst not perfect, is based on a relatively open system of files and folders, which many companies could provide. Does it really make sense to move all our data into a proprietary system with on-going costs forever?

There are also ongoing costs associated with providing on premise storage, and the overall cost, including the cost of all the storage and management will be less using this solution. Moving to OneDrive and SharePoint provides a number of benefits and has been identified as meeting the longer-term strategic needs of the University. Benefits include: 

  • Increased storage capacity
  • Being able to easily restore data
  • Better security
  • Integration with other Microsoft products
  • Easier management of sharing permissions
  • Real time collaboration
  • Evergreen platform automatically updated and maintained by supplier

34.    Is M drive more secure than OneDrive, and if so, how does this affect the migration?

No, it is more secure to use OneDrive and SharePoint. The on-premises drives (M and N) are as secure as we can make them, but by using OneDrive and SharePoint we are handing security over to Microsoft. This improves security and has been shown to reduce security incidents. 

35.    How will the discovery phase work? How will you find out about the exceptions that you need?

The initial approach is going to be engaging with the Faculty Operations Directors and similar people in services. We also will be working with the IT Business Relationship Managers to identify areas and individuals we need to work with. We will also have wider communications to all University staff so they are aware of the work and know who to contact, and will be running workshops, discussion sessions and interviews. 
We will be documenting the exceptions and challenges so they can be analysed in preparation for the next phase. To ensure they are assessed, please reach out the project team represented by Robert Mitchel (R.Mitchell@leeds.ac.uk) to register any applications, scripts or macros that you are aware of that use M/N hosted directories or files.

36.    For this discovery phase, you'll be working through faculties and services and Business Relationship Managers, and you’ll be running discovery sessions. Will you be sending out individual invites to people or will it be through their area?

We will be talking to key stakeholders and asking them to identify members of their teams that will be able to support us with this, so the primary focus will be running the discovery phase through your areas. However, where we identify any issues, we will be picking this up with individual users.

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