Make the Most of Your Move to Office 365

Avoid These Gotchas for a Better Migration Experience

Lane Shelton

While Microsoft Office 365, the cloud version of Microsoft Office has a long way to go before it catches up to its on-premise sibling – 1.2 billion users – it is quickly gathering momentum, having added 6 million new customers in the last 6 months for a grand total of 18.2 million users. Adding a million customers a month is not too shabby. If you’re considering making the move to Office 365, here are a few of the obstacles you need to avoid to ensure a successful migration.

Gotcha #1: The Cloud’s Ready For You, But Are You Ready For The Cloud?

Before you move to the cloud, or add another cloud service, you need to determine what you have – e.g. software, infrastructure, network, policies and procedures, security and governance – and how they will be impacted by moving to a cloud or hybrid Office 365 solution. The larger your organization, the more moving parts that must be understood before you make the decision.

Gotcha #2: Pick The Right Version of Office – Including Support

Microsoft has an Office 365 offering for virtually everyone: Office 365 Business, Business Essentials, Business Premium, ProPlus, Enterprise E1, E3 or E5 – with options for small business, education, government, non-profit, and home. So you need to do your homework and determine what’s the right solution and options that best meet all your needs and requirements.

Gotcha #3: Plan Your Migration And Work Your Plan

Once you’ve decided on what you will migrate to, you need to decide what your business objectives are, what needs to be done to achieve them, and when. Whatever size your organization is, you need a plan before you migrate. Migration options include:

  • Cutover: Moving everything and everyone over in one batch
  • Staged: A more prolonged migration
  • Remote Move: A hybrid or long-term migration
  • IMAP: For messaging systems other than Exchange.

In addition to Microsoft tools, there are a variety of third-party offerings to help smooth the way.

Gotcha #4: Test, Test, Test

Life may be simpler in the cloud, but that doesn’t mean everything will work as expected when expected. So you need to test all your Office 365 functions to ensure they work as expected before you go live.

Microsoft and a multitude of third-party vendors offer a variety of services to make migrating to Office 365 as painless a process as possible. However we are talking Microsoft, the cloud and changes to how everybody works and communicates, so expect complications and problems. If you plan for the worst – keeping the gotchas in mind – your migration just might be smoother than feared.

Lane Shelton is the VP and Principal Consultant for Connection’s Microsoft Center of Excellence. He’s dedicated the last 23 years to helping clients build software investments that are strategic, successful and sustainable. When he’s not plumbing the depths of licensing arcana or creating gigantic-yet-somehow-appealing spreadsheets, Lane enjoys VR and old-school PC gaming.

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