First things first, what is the new CGPortal Online?
CGPortal is the Coast Guard’s collection of intranet sites, meaning they are not accessible to anyone outside of the organization. Ultimately, it’s a giant website for the Coast Guard with a collection of sub-sites that consist of organizational unit pages, resources, and more. Historically, it has been a place where units were given sites to publish and share information internally throughout the organization along with storing official records. Up until now, the CGPortal intranet space was located on physical (and now outdated) servers owned by the Coast Guard. This intranet space is moving to the DoD365 SharePoint online environment. Once moved, CGPortal Online will be better, faster, and more accessible along with many other benefits associated with DoD365 in general. To signify the move, the CGPortal is being rebranded in DoD365 as CGPortal Online.
A note on DoD365 Teams and SharePoint Online
SharePoint sites created from within DoD365 Teams are not part of CGPortal Online. DoD365 Teams (along with a SharePoint site created from it) and CGPortal Online are both in the DoD365 SharePoint Online environment. However, CGPortal Online has difference governance and is intended to be the Coast Guard-wide collection of official intranet sites. It’s also meant to be the repository for official records and unit organizational pages where information is meant to be available to everyone within the organization. Think of a unit page where someone can search for a new unit and review welcome aboard info. Also, think message boards or publications.
Teams generated SharePoint sites are a graphical interface of a Team. It’s a great resource to use for making information presentable or visible within a specific Team. However, these sites are not considered part of CGPortal Online. There’s nothing wrong with using it. Just be mindful that if you are seeking to share or store published information and official records, use CGPortal Online.
Here’s the bottom line:
DoD365 Teams (and any corresponding SharePoint site created from it) = Collaboration
SharePoint Online = official unit or organizational site pages
The migration process
To date, roughly 50 site collections have already relocated to CGPortal Online, and about 900 more site collections with 2,000 sub-sites will join them over the course of this year.
Think of it as a complex PCS move – one where construction is still underway as we move into new quarters. The good news is those quarters, once complete, will be worth the effort. It’s an upgrade designed to improve performance, while making the service’s intranet more secure and accessible.
The Coast Guard expects all operational data will be moved to CGPortal Online by December 2022.
Once sites are migrated, expect a modern look and feel with improved performance. The overall structure and site navigation will be similar yet will contain modern templates, features, and personalized tools.
CGPortal Online will be more secure and stable than the current portal. Users will be able to quickly access the new portal through their Coast Guard workstation, DoD365 Online, and eventually from government-approved mobile devices.
While not yet rolled out, the organizational structure will be flattened. Once available, site collections will have the ability to associate with one of five hubs: Atlantic Area, Pacific Area, Mission Support (DCMS), Operations (DCO), and Direct Support.
And before you ask – yes, the search function will work better.
Here are some things you should know as we continue with the migration process.
Guidance for everyday users
- First, remember this is a work in progress. The first iteration – even the new CGPortal Online homepage – is just a starting point that will likely evolve as we get further in the migration process.
- Once a site is migrated from the old environment to the new, it will display a link to the site’s new location in SharePoint Online. You’ll want to update your favorite links and start using the new site from now on. (For convenience, the old site will remain “read-only” until the old portal is decommissioned.)
- If you have an alert set up for page changes on the current portal, you will need to reconfigure them in CG Portal Online.
- OneDrive will remain your personal data storage location.
- DoD365 Teams will continue to be the primary venue to create documents, collaborate with chat, hold meetings, and virtually interact with colleagues.
- CGPortal Online will become the primary storage site for official Coast Guard records.
- Help us customize our new intranet! Please take a moment to re-imagine how portal might look, feel and function. Send any initial recommendations to MyCG@uscg.mil, and please keep an eye out for the feedback form launching soon. We’re committed to building the new portal based on YOUR needs.
Guidance for site owners
If you’re a site owner, you’ve probably been seeing e-mails about the migration since December 2021. This guidance includes verifying site ownership, cleaning up site content, reviewing permissions, and retaining personal identifiable information (PII) before your site can be scheduled to migrate.
The validation process has been going smoothly, with 600 of 900 site collections validated so far. The remaining 300 sites will remain in the old portal for now, to give more time for the migration team to validate and for those site owners to determine if the content is still relevant and worth migrating.
Please note that Coast Guard External Affairs Manual encourages leaders to make content accessible to the public adhering public affairs standards of security, accuracy, propriety or policy. Content hosted on the public Coast Guard website is faster and easier for members to access - particularly while afloat, on detached duty, or outside work hours. Reservists and dependents also appreciate accessible information.
If you have questions, you can visit here (CAC required) for more information on the migration process. Site owners are also encouraged to visit the CG-611 Records Resource Center (CAC required) for policy and guidance on record retention and policy.
If you still have questions and concerns, or need to reschedule your site’s migration date (if you have one), complete the SharePoint Migration Issue Request form (CAC required). Be sure to include the web link to the SharePoint site in question so the team can help you better.
If you have any questions about whether to shift your site’s content to the public web, meaning outside of the DoD365 environment, please consult the Coast Guard External Affairs Manual or e-mail Coast Guard Organizational Communications (CG-0922).
When will a site be migrated?
Less complex site collections are being migrated first, with more complicated sites to follow. Site collections will be migrated in designated migration groups, or "sprints", based on size and complexity to preserve network bandwidth and performance. A group of 50 low-complexity sites have been successfully migrated and another 150 are already underway. Site collection owners for future sprints will receive guidance via email two weeks prior to the start of the migration to ensure readiness. Site owners may request a migration deferral based on operational constraints by completing the SharePoint Migration Issue Request form (CAC required).
Will anything on a site be hard to transfer?
Yes. The following features may break and not migrate successfully:
- Customized pages
- Lists that accepted incoming emails
- Custom forms designed using Microsoft Infopath 2013 and custom workflows created using Designer 2010 and 2013
- Alerts will not be migrated and will need to be recreated on SharePoint.
Commands and site owners can submit questions and concerns about features that will not transfer to the core migration team by completing the SharePoint Migration Issue Request form (CAC required).
Can sites be accessed during migration?
Once a site is in active migration, content on the legacy site will be available in read-only mode. Migration times for each site will vary by size but each migration sprint is expected to take two to four weeks. Once complete, the legacy site will contain a web link to the new location in CG Portal Online. Legacy sites will remain until the old servers are decommissioned in early 2023.
What else do I need to know?
The Migration Team will continue to provide updates throughout the process. The best place to go if you have initial questions or concerns is here (CAC required), where you can review a list of documents on the migration process. Key documents to review include (CAC required):
If you still have questions after reviewing the available documents, contact the Migration Team by completing the SharePoint Migration Issue Request form (CAC required).
Learn more about DoD365 (CAC required).