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IT Project: Box Transition

Project Status

June 2021: Northwestern IT has created a website to provide students, faculty, and staff with information for what to expect and the steps to take before, during, and after the move to Microsoft's file-sharing applications OneDrive and SharePoint. Box Migration Overview

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


The project will be 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—August 2021

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

Deployment: September 2021—March 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: April—August 2022

The transition of Box files is complete. “Read-only” files in Box available to the user community until August 1, 2022. Box is retired on August 31, 2022, and data is no longer available. 


The target dates on the following timeline are subject to change as the project progresses.


Target Date


Discovery June—August 2021 Ongoing
Building September 2020—February 2021 In progress
Pilot March—August 2021 In progress
Deployment October 2021—March 2022
Completion April—August 2022

Project Oversight

Project Role


Project Sponsor

David Carr
Associate Vice President, Cyberinfrastructure, Northwestern IT

Project Manager

Jon Ford
Northwestern IT

Leadership Team Member

Mike Satut
Senior Director of Information Technology, Weinberg College

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

James Rich
Director, IT Program Management & Enterprise Architecture, Kellogg School of Management

Scott Pitts
Associate Vice President, Cyberinfrastructure, Northwestern IT

Steve Christensen
Associate Director, IT Communications, Northwestern IT

Stuart Nelsen
Northwestern IT

Betsy Faxon
Northwestern IT

Working Group Lead

Jon Ford
Northwestern IT

Stuart Nelsen
Northwestern IT

Last Updated: 29 June 2021

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