As businesses across the globe asked employees to relocate to home offices in 2020, one of the most common business software productivity suites, Microsoft Office 365 (renamed Microsoft 365 in 2020), simplified the process of allowing employees to securely access their applications from any device, anywhere. Now as a growing number of companies prepare to make homeworking a permanent arrangement beyond the pandemic, many more may be migrating to O365.
Whether you are migrating to 0365 from an on-prem environment, moving from a legacy 0365 tenant or consolidating because of company mergers and acquisitions, there is a lot to think about with many interdependent and moving parts. To help you, on this page we’ve put together the benefits of O365, the migration pitfalls you should avoid, and hints and tips that will help to take the risk (and headaches) out of your enterprise 0365 migration.
There are many benefits for companies who adopt Office 365 including:
As employees become ever more distributed, moving to O365 allows them to access their applications and data wherever they are and from any device. Data is also protected against disasters, which could wipe out on-prem equipment.
By moving to the cloud, you can reduce CAPEX as well as OPEX in terms of purchasing, maintaining, powering, and cooling on-prem equipment.
You could also potentially benefit from reduced licensing costs as the move to O365 could involve transitioning away from volume licensing agreements with Microsoft to the O365 cloud-licensed version of MS Office.
While many businesses are concerned about security when moving to the cloud, 0365 has key security features built-in, such as automatic encryption.
The process of adding users to the system is simplified with the purchase of licenses that cover multiple employees.
By adopting O365 you can free up the time of members of your IT infrastructure project team to focus on more strategic tasks.
Before you begin any enterprise O365 migration you should be aware the pitfalls:
Of course, you want everyone to have the same level of access to mailboxes or apps such as SharePoint or OneDrive that they had prior to the move. But it can be easy to create access issues if you don’t have all the information available:
If you haven’t cleaned up your data – particularly around the Active Directory metadata – you are going to cause frustration and perhaps failure when it comes to preparing for the migration. There are a number of tools that can help to validate the environment, such as Microsoft IdFix.
As previously mentioned, you are going to see CAPEX and OPEX reductions as a result of reducing the amount of hardware you maintain and run, but, completed manually, O365 projects can take a lot of time and any errors can lead to project failure and more costs.
One additional point to note is that if you are utilizing the ‘Enterprise’ licensing on O365 – this will include the licensing of your locally installed Office suite of applications – so if you do retain your volume license agreement you could be paying twice!
You need to have a clear picture of your current environment, mapping all the interdependencies between users, calendars, mailboxes and all other files you are moving before you execute your program.
But, run manually, by the time you have collated and cleaned your data, changes to the business will mean your information is already out of date – which inevitably will lead to issues and errors further down the line.
Get a clear picture of migration scope:
Aggregate your information into a single view
Pull in information from your Exchange environments, Active Directory domains, spreadsheets, human resources systems and more, including understanding the size, settings and permissions of each mailbox in existing Exchange, SharePoint, File server or O365 environments.
You’re going to need a clear picture of which user has access to which folder, calendar and mailbox, so you need to work out file links and file server permissions, mailbox sharing, access permissions, delegates and more. It’s going to be a long process, but you’ll need to find a way to map all of these interdependencies so that you can recreate in the new O365 environment and not break access.
Understand how the migration will impact logins to single sign on (SSO) and web applications
Have a complete set of data for each user’s login protocols for all their resources and use that data to update login protocols or set up new ones.
Given that you are pulling data in from various sources, it’s likely there will be inconsistencies, gaps and errors that you need to clean up:
Leverage dependencies to plan your migration:
Work out how you need to migrate and in what order, using your source data to create a rollout schedule:
Work out what you don’t want:
If there are any elements of migrating to O365 that you don’t want to implement – such as Teams or OneDrive – you need to plan for these by implementing Active Directory Group Policy controls and test these before your rollout.
Define communications and validation plans:
Identify readiness for migration:
Leverage your source data and keep adding to it as the project progresses to compile reports on readiness for migration, success and failure and compliance reports.
The migration method you use will depend on your current environment. Your choices include:
This method can be used for any version of Exchange but is required if your on-prem Exchange is MS Exchange Server 2003. A cutover migration can be completed over a number of days. You can migrate a maximum 2,000 mailboxes to O365 using this method, but Microsoft recommends a limit of 150.
You can migrate all your organization’s mailboxes to O365 using a staged migration, migrating batches of on-prem mailboxes over the course of a few weeks or months.
This allows you to migrate to O365 while keeping an on-prem server and providing the seamless look and feel of a single Exchange organization between Exchange organizations on-prem and in O365. This can serve as an intermediate stage to moving over to 0365.
This method allows for migration from non-exchange platforms such as from Gmail, and is generally done in the “cutover” style, mentioned above.
Let’s face it, keeping track of data in spreadsheets is a risky business. Anything entered incorrectly or missed altogether can cause issues down the line. And if you want to keep your data current, you are going to have to spend a lot of time going back to your data sources to correct and update information.
ReadyWorks automates more than 50% of manual tasks by connecting to and orchestrating all your tools, systems and databases to:
Leading space technology and intelligence company, Maxar, used ReadyWorks for its O365 deployment and post-merger IT consolidation. ReadyWorks provided a cohesive view of data across all organizations and systems and automatically identified and migrated mailbox delegates. See how ReadyWorks task automation reduced projection completion time by 25%. →
“ReadyWorks was critical to our O365 migration planning process. Having an accurate view of users and their delegates in one location saved us months of labor and significantly reduced our program costs.”