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Best Practices for Office 365 Migration

Posted by Rajiv Dattani on 5/10/19 12:09 PM


Being the leader of an organization you would always be able to extract the benefits of cloud due to the fact that it extends the benefits of:

  • Data protection
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Scalability and resilience
  • Cost efficiency
  • Anytime, anywhere access to data

But, that is not just what you should feel happy about. Mainly because migration from your existing Lotus notes, Group Wise, or Gmail if done inappropriately can cost you a lot. That is why, when you finally decide to migrate to Office 365 you must comprehend and avoid downtime for end users, IT labor expenses, and even data loss.

To avoid pitfalls and for the smooth transition, you need a schedule, careful execution, tools, and follow best practices for Office 365 migration.

Progressive Approach

As you are aware that Office 365 migration is a demanding process and you must take a step-by-step approach towards its implementation. The best approach would be:

  • Decide on the type of migration method to be used, based on the organizational structure and performance factors.
  • Select the precise license.
  • Prepare your ecosystem for the migration.
  • Appoint the best team.
  • Appraise the migration.

1. Decide on the Type of Migration Method

There are various ways through which you can perform Office 365 migration, and based on that you receive the resulting performance and the challenges. These best practices will guide you in terms of acting on the performance factors for a smooth transition.

  1. IMAP Migration and Performance Factors: Also known as- “Internet Message Access Protocol” migration method uses the exchange admin center and migrates the user’s mailbox from IMAP ecosystem to Office 365 mailboxes.
  2. Cutover Migration: In case you wish to transfer all on-premises mailboxes, entire email organization, mail contacts, distribution groups, and manage user accounts to Office 365 you should use the cutover migration.
  3. Staged Migration: To transfer batches of on-premises mailboxes over a period of a few months you may use Staged migration.
  4. Third-party migration: Various third-parties using unique protocols and approaches to  conduct Office 365 migration.

Factors affecting Office 365 migration using various methods

Once you have decided upon the type of migration method you must consider the factors affecting the Office 365 migration so that appropriate best practices can be executed.

The factors which affect the migration using IMAP/Cutover/Staged/ or Third-Party migration are:

  1. Data extraction source: Usually, during the initiation of data migration extraction of data is initiated. The source point must have adequate resources to deliver ideal migration performance and avoid end-user issues. The best practice for Office 365 migration in such cases is to monitor system performance during a pilot migration test. You may also add hardware resources to reduce the load on the system.

2. Review existing running system: Always initiate the migration during non-business hours when no resource-intensive tasks are working.

3. Throttling: Always verify the throttling policy being deploying for an email system as throttling policy determines the limit of speed and volume of data to be extracted.

2. Select the Precise License

Your organization can primarily be divided into various work-groups or functional groups like- Sales, HR, Finance, IT, and so on. These groups need to be sub-divided into user groups and for all such user groups, you need a license. There are approximately 640 different licensing options. You need to identify the specific needs of the user group and finalize the license accordingly.

3. Ready Your Ecosystem

You must consider this step as the most important as it will decide whether the Office 365 migration is hassle-free or not. You must ensure to build an environment which facilitates the migration. For example, make sure that the on-premises exchange server is working on a correct version of exchange depending on the method of migration to be used.

Usually, there is always some data which required cleaning but was never attended to. You must take the time to clean up your local active directory so that only data required by the user is migrated.

4. Appoint the Best Team

Battles are won by the courage of soldiers; similarly, you must ensure that the deployment and support team in the Office 365 migration is the best. You need a dedicated project sponsor, an experienced project manager, skilled migration team, swift training and support team.

You must take into consideration that the more project sponsors you have, the better you are positioned when it comes to increasing the user adoption rate and facilitate the business performance across the organization.

Likewise, talented PMs and expert migration teams will work hand-in-hand as the project manager works on the task and reduces the issues or complications and the MTs ensure that the migration batches perform error-free. Their streamlined efforts will expedite the Office 365 migration.

5. Appraise the Migration

Once the deployment is successfully done you must appraise the Office 365 migration. The best measure is the use of the adoption rate for determining success. You may also generate the following reports from Office 365 to validate a successful migration.

  • Training needs: Draw a guideline of the user’s knowledge regarding using the Microsoft Suite pre and post migration. Based on these metrics you may decide the training needs of the users and act accordingly.
  • Cost-effectiveness: By generating the adoption rate and comparing it with other reports, especially the financial or accounting reports you can adjudge the cost effectiveness of the migration.
  • Enhanced productivity: Increased productivity will be another critical measure to evaluate successful Office 365 migration. The enhanced adoption rate can be correlated with increased and effective internal and external communication, speedy strategic decision making, reduced time to complete tasks, automated billing, and faster processing of customer orders.

To summarize, a successful Office 365 migration is possible with strategic planning, detailed and exhaustive execution, and taking the feedback after deployment is complete. A user survey before and after the migration can also help you in achieving the same. You can minimize the efforts of this herculean task with professional ease only when you follow the best practices for Office 365 migration!

Topics: Office 365, Cloud Migration, Office 365 Migration

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