Migrating to Office 365 from other platforms is a major change for many organisations. Because Office 365 is a cloud-based solution, it is relatively easy to deploy on multiple devices. However, the migration process can be time-consuming and complex – and it may even cause system downtime if unforeseen problems arise. In this article, we will discuss the seven key considerations for a successful Office 365 migration that are recommended by Microsoft 365 consulting services experts.
Choose Your Office 365 Migration Strategy
Selecting the appropriate migration strategy is a crucial step before transitioning to Office 365. Microsoft Consulting Services in Australia highlights distinct benefits and considerations associated with each migration type:
- Cutover migration: This method involves moving all of your email and related data to Office 365 at once. It’s a good option for small and medium-sized businesses with a limited number of mailboxes, as it’s relatively straightforward and minimizes the amount of time you need to use two email systems at the same time.
- Staged migration: This method is a phased approach to migrating mailboxes to Office 365. It is ideal for large organizations with intricate email setups, distinct configurations, or custom migration requirements.
- IMAP migration: This method involves relocation of email data from Gmail, IMAP-accessible email systems, or non-Exchange environments to Office 365. Although IMAP migration may not encompass all advanced features or facilitate the migration of specific data types, it provides a simple and effective means to transition to Office 365.
- Hybrid migration: This method is an ideal strategy for organizations that want to keep both on-premises Exchange servers and Office 365 mailboxes while migrating to the cloud. It provides a seamless coexistence between the two environments, allowing users to have mailboxes in both systems and enabling smooth internal and external communication.
Understand Your Current IT Environment
Before transitioning to Office 365, it’s vital to evaluate your current IT environment thoroughly. Engage with a Microsoft consulting services partner for expert assistance in this discovery phase, ensuring a streamlined migration without investing time or resources in unnecessary data and assets.
Start by identifying user accounts, mailboxes, and file storage locations. Make note of client versions, configurations, network settings, intranet site details, and information regarding online meetings and Instant Messaging platforms. Also, factor in applications like CRM or workflows that are currently in use.
Determine the Right Office 365 Licensing Plan
The three primary Office 365 plans for businesses are:
- Business Premium: Includes the standard Microsoft Office applications, OneDrive for cloud storage, Microsoft Exchange for email, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams for communication and collaboration.
- Enterprise E3: Includes everything in Business Premium, plus additional enterprise features such as Microsoft Planner for project management, Skype Meeting Broadcast for live streaming meetings, and Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection for security.
- Enterprise E5: Includes everything in Enterprise E3, plus additional security features such as Microsoft Advanced Data Governance for data compliance and Microsoft Information Protection for data protection.
Create Your Strategic Plan
Once you have a complete picture of your IT environment, you can create your Office 365 migration plan. Here are a few key considerations:
- Select a migration strategy that aligns with your business needs.
- Pinpoint essential personnel, including management and power users, involved in the migration process.
- Evaluate the impact of the migration on business continuity and make necessary adjustments for a seamless transition.
- Review internal skills and resources, and decide on outsourcing needs for a successful migration.
- Account for privacy and compliance requirements, such as Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) Essential 8 or federal regulations, during the planning phase.
Test Your Plan With a Pilot Migration
Don’t skip this step! A pilot migration is a small-scale migration that allows you to test your migration process and tools in a controlled environment. This can help you to identify and resolve any potential problems before you migrate your production data.
Migrate Your Data to Office 365
Once you have tested your migration plan and resolved any issues, you can migrate your production data to Office 365. Consider delaying the deployment of Office 365 for executives and high-touch users until after a successful migration to minimize the impact on business operations in case of unforeseen issues.
Verify and Rectify
After you migrate to Office 365, it is important to validate your migration and remediate any issues. A post-migration checklist can help you to ensure a smooth transition and optimize your experience.
These key considerations can help your organisation effectively harness the advantages of Office 365 while delivering a seamless experience to your users. Tailor the checklist to align with your unique migration and business requirements to achieve a successful transition to Office 365.