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Migration from KanBo as a SharePoint App to KanBo as Azure Active Directory App

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Why are we doing this?

As Microsoft Teams is skyrocketing, we decided to change the Main Integration Point into Office 365 Architecture from SharePoint to MS Teams. Soon our MS Teams App will be available in the MS Teams Apps Store and in order to ensure the deep level of integration we have been providing to our customers with SharePoint and now we will provide it with MS Teams (that basically includes SharePoint as well as it is part of MS Teams). 

With this migration we are also switching for Office 365 installations from communicating with dedicated product APIs like SharePoint CSOM, Exchange Web Service, etc. to GraphAPI being from now on our Single Point of Communication with the Office 365 ecosystem. Switching to GraphAPI will also ensure continuous development of new KanBo Features and integrations into all sorts of services Microsoft might come up with in the future, most importantly it will ensure that KanBo stays compatible.

What is happening under the hood?

Until now KanBo has been a SharePoint App and it was communicating with SharePoint directly using CSOM and you had to add it to the SharePoint App Catalogue. In the future you will add the KanBo App to your Azure Active Directory as an App and grant it access to certain GraphAPI objects/functions (i.e. SharePoint). 

The second major change is that instead of creating a SharePoint Sub Site in SharePoint for each Board now KanBo will create full flagged Office 365 Groups or attach to existing ones. An Office 365 Group is the underlying object in Azure Active Directory that is being created when you create a Team in MS Teams, a Yammer Group in Yammer, or an Exchange Group. KanBo will use the same underlying object to be able to share its resources with other Apps from the Office 365 family. 

So after migration, each Board in KanBo will be represented in Office 365 through an Office 365 Group that also happens to create a Team Site in SharePoint with a Document Library and another couple of things in the Office 365 environment (Microsoft’s own provisioning system). 

KanBo will automatically attach to the Document Library of the Office 365 Group and all documents that are created in KanBo are now accessible by any App that also uses the same underlying Office 365 Group, meaning that when you work for example in MS Teams then you are working with the same files, not duplicates. During the migration, all files from the SharePoint Sub Site will be copied to the SharePoint Library of the Office 365 Group and all references to cards will be preserved. 

All other things in KanBo stay the same, as comments, labels, cards, lists, etc. since they are all stored in the SQL database and the database is not affected by the migration at all – it stays where it was before.

What will be possible after the migration?

You will be able to create Boards as you did before – they will create a brand new Office 365 Group with the name of the Board and will later be able to be extended by an MS Team, Yammer, or whatever you want. Additionally, you will be able to create Boards and KanBo will provide you the option to attach it to an existing Office 365 Group. 

The KanBo Board Users will be controlled by the underlying Office 365 Group, so adding/removing users to/from it will automatically add/remove users to/from KanBo Board. 

The SharePoint Document Library will be attached as the default Document Source for that Board and you will be able to drag & drop existing files from any channel (if this is an MS Teams Office 365 Group) to any card in that Board. Uploading will place these files into the Root Folder of that SharePoint Library or the Channel if you decide to attach the Board to the channel instead of the whole Team in MS Teams.

During the creation of the Board when you select an Office 365 Group that happens to be an MS Team on top of it, KanBo will recognize it and allow you to choose one of the channels as a point of attachment to the Office 365 infrastructure. If you choose that option during the creation of the Board the users of the board will be automatically synced from MS Team users and the default Document Source for that Board will become the Folder in the SharePoint Document Library that holds all files of the channel. The Board that is attached to a channel can upload or use files only from that channel. It will be technically possible to reattach the Board to other channels, to the whole Team, or even to another Team or Channel (see the last chapter for more information).

You can even attach a new board to a private Channel. This will create a board where only the members of the private channel can access the board and only the documents of the private channel are accessible in the board to be put per drag&drop on cards. Uploading files to cards will result in uploading files into the file corresponding file location of the private channel so again you will be always working on the same files in KanBo as in MS Teams. User changes in the private channel will be reflected in the connected board.

You will also be able to move files between Folders within Document Sources (SharePoint Libraries) and the references in cards will not break. So for example, if you decide to create a Folder and move some files into it from another Folder in the SharePoint Library, the cards let you open the documents regardless of where their new path is now – even between Channel file Folders in MS Teams.

You can create Public Boards in KanBo. Additionally, you can set a joining mode in Public Boards to open for everyone or disabled. You can attach Public Boards in the same way you attach Private Boards to any type of Team in MS Teams: Private Team (that is the default, invitation-only), Public Team (anyone can join), or Org-Wide Team (Everyone in the organization automatically joins). All Users will be synced automatically between KanBo Boards and Teams in MS Teams based on the attachment bidirectionally.

You can create unlimited numbers of boards for a single Team in MS Teams, for a channel or private channel. All files and users will be shared amongst all Boards connected to the same file locations (document sources).

For now, as long as the KanBo Teams App is not available you can add Boards, Board Collections, and Cards to Team Channels as Tabs using the Website Tab type in MS Teams just by copying and pasting the URL from KanBo.

What are the breaking changes after migration inside of KanBo?

There are two things that you should keep in mind.

First are the Board Visitors. Until now if you had access to the board as a Visitor you were able only to view everything in the board, follow anything in the board, access Documents in Read Only, and comment on cards. After the migration everything stays the same but, the Board Visitor is disabled by default and must be explicitly enabled in Board Settings. Then you can add any user to Visitors of users from your entire Office 365 tenant (internal users as well as guests if they have a KanBo License). These visitors in the board will not have access to the MS Teams environment – only to the information in the KanBo Board except Documents as they are now being guarded by the Office 365 Group that does not support Visitors, only Owners and Members. KanBo Board Visitors will not be able to access any files but they will be able to comment on cards. They will see the Filenames but they will have no access to these files.

The second thing are the Public Boards. Please be careful because now when you have External Users (i.e. Guests invited by MS Teams) as part of your Office 365 tenant then these users will have access to your Public Boards if they have a valid KanBo License. For now, we are not planning to solve it because it is a very difficult change to exclude externals from accessing Public Boards as KanBo does not have any limits to the number of users who can have access to a Public Board on contrary to MS Teams that have a hard limit of 5000. If you do not want to provide your organization the option of Public Boards, then you can disable Public Boards for your entire organization and no new Public Boards can be created. 

If you happen to have already Public Boards any you do want to disable them now because of the issue with external users then you will need to manually set the existing Public Boards back to private before disabling it for your entire organization.

How can you prepare for the migration?

We have developed a fully sophisticated migration toolset that will not only allow migrating things from the current SharePoint App to the Azure App environment but also will have you covered when you need to restructure (re-attach) your KanBo Board/MS Teams structure in future in case your hierarchies should change. All that will be possible without losing a single card/document relation nor any information.

There are several paths on how to bring your existing Boards into the new architecture. You can choose for each Board how you want to migrate it.

Here are your options focussing on how the users will be managed in the future for your Boards after migration:
  1. Migrate a Board like it is. It will create a new Office 365 Group and fill its Groups with Board Owners and Board Members, respectively. It will ignore Visitors.
  2. Attach a Board to an existing Office 365 Group regardless if it has an MS Team or not. It will merge the Board Users with the Office 365 Group Users at the corresponding Permission levels, Team Owners with Board Owners and Team Members with Board Members. Board Visitors will be ignored. By the end, you have a union of users from both worlds.
  3. Attach a Board to an existing Office 365 Group that is an MS Team to a specific channel. It will do the same as merge the Board Users with the Office 365 Group Users at the corresponding Permission levels, Team Owners with Board Owners, and Team Members with Board Members. Board Visitors will be ignored. By the end, you have a union of users from both worlds. Additionally: Only the documents of that channel will be available to the Board –please find more details in the next section about Documents.
Merging Documents:

Now the most difficult part of the migration – Merging Documents. In order to understand this section, we strongly recommend that you read and understand the following article.

During the Migration, the Board and its Document Sources stay intact incl. the setting in which Document Source is the default one. So after the migration, you will have the same number of Document Sources as before pointing to file locations where you will find your files in the same hierarchy as before migration and all cards will preserve the relations to their documents.

What needs to be specified is what shall happen to the files inside of Document Sources connected to Boards. There are two possibilities, either the files will be copied into a new location preserving the hierarchy of the Document Source and the migration tools will repoint the references between cards and documents or the files will stay where they are and the migration tools will just repoint the references to documents inside of cards.

Here are your supported document scenarios:

    1) There is only the default Document Source for that Board – KanBoDoc Library. It is the Document Library that was created during the Board Creation (most Boards have this setting).

    a) If you are creating a brand-new Office 365 Group during the migration for the Board then all files of KanBoDoc will be copied into the newly created SharePoint Library for the Office 365 Group. That new Library will become the Default Document Source.

    b) If you are attaching the Board to an existing Office 365 Group, then all files of KanBoDoc will be copied into the existing SharePoint Library of the Office 365 Group at the root level. All file name conflicts will be resolved by adding numbers to the end of filenames that are being copied into the new location – the card will not lose references and new file names will be visible in cards. The existing SharePoint Library of the Office 365 Group will become the Default Document Source.

    c) If you are attaching the Board to an existing Office 365 Group to a specific channel, then everything works like in (1b) except that the files are copied to the Folder holding the channel’s files and that Folder will be registered as the Default Document Source for that Board.

    2) There are 2 or more Document Sources, but the default is still the KanBoDoc that was created during the Board Creation.

    a)If you are creating a brand-new Office 365 Group during the migration for the Board then all files of KanBoDoc will be copied into the newly created SharePoint Library for the Office 365 Group. That new Library will become the Default Document Source. All files of all other Document Sources stay where they are. The Document Sources will be listed as before migration in the Board Document Sources List.

    b) If you are attaching the Board to an existing Office 365 Group, then all files of KanBoDoc will be copied into the existing SharePoint Library of the Office 365 Group at the root level. All file name conflicts will be resolved by adding numbers to the end of filenames that are being copied into the new location – the card will not lose references and new file names will be visible in cards. That existing SharePoint Library of the Office 365 Group will become the Default Document Source. All files of all other Document Sources stay where they are. The Document Sources will be listed as before migration in the Board Document Sources List.

    Exception: If there already exists a document source that points to the target o365 group's shared docs, we will use that one instead. The other document source will be detached from that board to keep the Document Sources List clean.

    c) If you are attaching the Board to an existing Office 365 Group to a specific channel, then everything works like in 2b except that the files are copied to the Folder holding the channel’s files and that Folder will be registered as the Default Document Source for that Board.

    Exception: If there already exists a document source that points to the target o365 group's shared docs folder, we will use that one instead. The other document source will be detached from that board to keep the Document Sources List clean.

    3. There are 2 or more Document Sources, and the default is NOT the KanBoDoc that was created during the Board Creation.


    a) If you are creating a brand-new Office 365 Group during the migration for the Board then all files of KanBoDoc will be copied into the newly created SharePoint Library for the Office 365 Group. That new Library will be registered as a Document Source and will be added to that Board as an additional Default Document Source. All files of all other Document Sources stay where they are. The Document Sources will be listed as before migration in the Board Document Sources List. The default will stay with the same Document Source as before migration.

    b) If you are attaching the Board to an existing Office 365 Group, then all files of KanBoDoc will be copied into the existing SharePoint Library of the Office 365 Group at the root level. All file name conflicts will be resolved by adding numbers to the end of filenames that are being copied into the new location – the card will not lose references and new file names will be visible in cards. That existing SharePoint Library of the Office 365 Group will be registered as a Document Source and will be attached to the Board. All files of all other Document Sources stay where they are. The Document Sources will be listed as before migration in the Board Document Sources List. The default will stay with the same Document Source as before migration.

    Exception: If there already exists a document source that points to the target o365 group's shared docs folder, we will use that one instead. The other document source will be detached from that board to keep the Document Sources List clean.

    c) If you are attaching the Board to an existing Office 365 Group to a specific channel, then everything works like in 3b except that the files are copied to the Folder holding the channel’s files and that Folder will be registered as the Default Document Source for that Board.

    Exception: If there already exists a document source that points to the target o365 group's shared docs folder, we will use that one instead. The other document source will be detached from that board to keep the Document Sources List clean.

    4) There is 1 or more Document Sources, and the KanBoDoc that was created during the Board Creation is detached (it is not being listed in the Board Document Sources List)

    If you want the files from KanBoDoc (the SharePoint Library that was created upon Board creation) reattach it as Document source to create scenarios 2 or 3. Otherwise, the KanBoDoc and its files will be ignored (not copied). If you have attached any files to cards from KanBoDoc you will see the file names on cards after migration and below there will be a red message: “no access”. You can detach these files manually.


Please keep in mind that during the migration no files or boards are being deleted – only copied if needed. If you miss something you will always find it in the old file locations in the subsites.

There is a special functionality in the Migration Toolset to unregister all unused Document Sources in bulk if you want to keep your Document Sources Lists clean.

The migration tools do not support attaching existing boards to private channels during migration.

To prepare for the migration, you need to specify for each board how will it be migrated (3 options) and what should happen to each Document Source of that Board (3 Options). We recommend using MS Excel to prepare an exact plan, basically what will be migrated to where and what shall happen to the documents.

technically you attach channels to the board.

You should delete the old KanBo .app file from SharePoint from the old Site Collections where KanBo has been installed. You should also delete it from the SharePoint App Catalog. Thanks to these actions, the old "events" of documents will be unregistered from SharePoint. You can even delete the entire old Site Collection after the migration.


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