Who You Gonna Call? Expert-Led vs. User-Led File Migrations

File migrations can be a daunting task, whether you’re an individual moving your personal files into OneDrive or a business transferring vast amounts of data from an on-premises server into SharePoint Online. In this blog, we’ll explore two contrasting approaches to file migrations: user-led and expert-led. While there are benefits to both options, it is critical to understand when you can move forward with a user-led migration and at what point you should reach out to a migration expert.

User-Led File Migrations


In a user-led file migration, individuals or organizations take ownership of the migration process themselves. This approach offers certain advantages:

  1. Cost Savings: By handling the migration in-house, you can save on professional service fees.
  2. Flexibility and Control: You can set your own timelines, prioritize files, and adapt the migration strategy as you go along.
  3. Capacity Building: Taking the lead in the migration process can be a valuable learning experience. It allows individuals or teams to gain knowledge about data management, file structures, and the technical aspects of the migration itself.


However, there are also several significant downsides to consider:

  1. Security risks: User-led migrations may introduce security risks if users are not adequately trained on best practices. Users may inadvertently expose confidential information or fail to properly secure files, leading to potential data breaches or unauthorized access.
  2. Lack of expertise: Users may not possess required technical expertise, such as handling file format conversions, preserving file relationships, or ensuring data integrity. This can result in data corruption, loss of metadata, or other technical issues that may impact the usability and accessibility of the migrated files.
  3. Loss of data or functionality: Without proper guidance and support, users may inadvertently exclude important files during the migration process. This can result in data loss or the loss of essential functionality, particularly if there are dependencies between files.
  4. Lack of central control: With a user-led migration, there may be a lack of central control and oversight over the migration process. This can make it difficult to enforce policies and standards, leading to a decentralized and fragmented file system.
  5. Disruption and productivity impact: User-led migrations can disrupt normal workflow and take users away from their primary tasks, leading to a temporary decrease in productivity until the migration is complete.
  6. Time-consuming: User-led file migrations typically involve manual effort from individual users, which can be time-consuming, especially in organizations with many files and users. User-led migrations can take months or even years to complete. This can lead to issues like having some team members working in your new cloud environment while others are still using your on-premises servers.
  7. Inconsistencies and errors: User-led migrations can lead to inconsistencies and errors in the migration process. Different users may have varying levels of understanding or adherence to migration procedures, resulting in inconsistencies in file organization, naming conventions, and metadata.  
  8. Hiring an expert anyways! You may spend the time and internal resources trying to move through a file migration, just to hire an expert to assist in the end.

Expert-Led File Migrations:


Expert-led file migrations involve hiring professionals or specialized firms with expertise in data migration. In a Regroove-led migration, organizations benefit from our in-depth knowledge of the process, best practices, and the necessary tools to execute a seamless transition. Here are a few key benefits of this approach:

  1. Security and compliance: Experts (like us!) are well-versed in security protocols and compliance requirements. We can implement appropriate security measures during the migration to protect sensitive data and ensure compliance with relevant regulations, reducing the risk of data breaches or unauthorized access.
  2. Technical expertise and problem-solving: We possess the technical knowledge and expertise to handle large-scale and complex migration scenarios. We can address technical challenges, handle file migrations across different systems and platforms, and troubleshoot any issues that arise during the process.
  3. Consistency and adherence to standards: There is better control of file organization, naming conventions, and metadata standards. We can ensure files are migrated consistently and in accordance with best practices.
  4. Data integrity and preservation: We can implement measures to ensure the integrity and preservation of data during the migration process. We can handle file format conversions, manage dependencies between files, and verify data integrity to minimize the risk of data loss or corruption.
  5. Minimal disruption and downtime: Our migrations result in almost zero interruption to your business operations. At Regroove, we migrate all your files on a Friday, so you are ready to start working in your new environment first thing Monday morning.
  6. Efficient and streamlined process: We plan and execute migrations in a systematic and efficient manner. We have the knowledge and tools to automate and accelerate the migration process, reducing the time and effort required compared to a manual user-led approach (and therefore reducing your costs).
  7. Post-migration support: We provide personalized pre- and post-migration support to address any issues or questions that users may have after the migration. They can assist with file access, troubleshooting, and resolving any migration-related concerns, ensuring a smooth transition for users.


When deciding whether to work with a file migration expert, there are some factors to consider:

  1. Cost: The primary constraint for working with file migration experts is cost. We recommend working with an organization (like Regroove) that provides extremely detailed estimates, so you can be confident in knowing exactly what work will be done and what support will be provided.
  2. Third-Party Access: Most file migration experts will require a high level, albeit temporary, access to your internal servers and cloud environments. Any concern around this can be mitigated through an NDA or including protective language in your agreement.


We might be biased ๐Ÿ˜‰ but, unless your file migration is extremely simple, we strongly recommend working with file migration experts like ourselves. We offer extensive experience and familiarity with the Microsoft cloud environment, provide highly customized requirements gathering, governance, and coaching meetings, and deliver ongoing support throughout the entire process. We have also done numerous successful migrations for organizations of all sizes, from all sectors. Reach out using the form below and we would be more than happy to talk more about how we do migrations ๐Ÿ˜Š