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IT Service Status
IT Service Status

IT Project: Box Transition

Project Status

September 1, 2022: Northwestern’s use of Box as a storage and collaboration solution ended on August 31, 2022, and the project is complete. Northwestern IT thanks the University community for their patience as data migrated from Box to OneDrive and SharePoint. 

Project Background

Northwestern Box is a cloud-based file sharing solution that has been centrally provided by the University since 2014. As the result of a recent shift in pricing at Box and as a substantial cost-saving strategy, Northwestern plans to migrate its data outside of Box to Microsoft OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams by the conclusion of the Box annual contract on August 31, 2022.

Through contracts the University has in place with Microsoft, Northwestern students, faculty, staff have access to a broad range of Microsoft Office 365 applications and add-ins.

Goals and Objectives

  • Develop comprehensive strategies to manage University data.
  • Gain in-depth analysis of the Box file structures, sharing, and standard user practices to provide a guided approach to data storage across the University in the new environment.
  • Apply right-sized solution(s)—OneDrive, SharePoint, and others—and manage the University’s active and inactive users and their data in the appropriate systems.
  • Provide an adequate replacement for SAFER. This application interacts with Box to offer a more secure process for managing permissions to folders that contain sensitive data.
  • Provide comprehensive training and support documentation to assist the University community in making the transition.
  • Ensure that all files are migrated from Box by August 31, 2022.


The project was achieved in a phased approach from June 2020 through August 2022.

Discovery: June – August 2020

Northwestern IT partners with Weinberg College, Kellogg School of Management, Feinberg School of Medicine, and other key stakeholders, to:

  • gather security requirements (SAFER)
  • investigate and decide on an integration tool
  • determine a path for data migration from Box to Microsoft OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams, including a custom migration path to the Research Storage Data Service (RDSS) and FSMRESFiLES for key data owners with large file shares.

During this phase, the appropriate governance committees and working groups necessary to steer the completion of the deliverables are established. Project documentation, including a communications plan, is developed.

Preliminary Building: September 2020—February 2021 

Configuration requirements are identified, and testing is conducted in a sandbox environment. Custom migrations for large data files begin. Documentation is created based on testing outcomes. Project documentation, including a communications plan, is finalized.

Pilot and Stakeholder Feedback: March—November 2021

Pilot group migrations, training materials vetted, survey feedback gathered. School migration schedule developed with input from Migration Leaders and Technology Leaders. Offer users a window for data clean-up.

Deployment: November 2021—June 2022

Conduct data migration to Microsoft solution and allow “read-only” files in Box. Training documentation distributed to the user community through various communications channels. Offer users a window for data clean-up.

Completion: June—August 2022

The transition of Box files is complete. Northwestern IT reserves this time to ensure that all Box content has been successfully migrated before Box is retired on August 31, 2022.


Project phases and target dates.


Target Date


Discovery June—August 2021 Complete
Building September 2020—February 2021 Complete
Pilot and Feedback March—November 2021 Complete
Deployment November 2021—June 2022 Complete
Completion June—August 2022 Complete

Project Oversight

Project roles.

Project Role


Project Sponsor

David Carr
Associate Vice President, Cyberinfrastructure, Northwestern IT

Project Manager

James Montague
Northwestern IT

Leadership Team Member

Betsy Faxon
Northwestern IT

Curtis Hanawalt
Director, IT Customer Support, Feinberg School of Medicine

David Carr
Associate Vice President, Cyberinfrastructure, Northwestern IT

Joseph Kurtin
Northwestern IT

Mike Satut
Senior Director of Information Technology, Weinberg College

Scott Pitts
Associate Vice President, Cyberinfrastructure, Northwestern IT

Steve Christensen
Associate Director, IT Communications, Northwestern IT

Working Group Lead

Blake Wehlage
Northwestern IT

James Montague
Northwestern IT

Stuart Nelsen
Northwestern IT


Christine Ganjani
Northwestern IT