Office 365: What You Need to Know Before You Migrate
Ask any of the tech people at our Florida office and they’ll tell you that the same thing. Office 365 (O365) is an IT solution that makes an impact. But you know that already. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be about migrating to it. And why not. O365 offers benefits hard to ignore. In addition to pumping up productivity, Office 365 reduces complexity, boosts collaboration, increases flexibility, and cuts costs. It also eliminates the need to update older versions of key software solutions.
Office 365 is a top productivity product no matter how you slice it. “Office 365 is Microsoft’s fastest-growing commercial product ever and is now the number one deployed application in the enterprise,” says Rob Marvin, an assistant editor at PC Magazine in an article on its website. “Microsoft earlier this year announced that Office 365 now has nearly 50 million active business users per month. And, according to Microsoft’s latest earnings report, Office 365 continues to be the company’s most profitable business and productivity product.”
Office 365 Migration isn’t Simple
But migrating to Office 365 isn’t simple. It has its share of challenges that all clients face. Simple IT solutions exist that can help you beat these challenges, but not all in-house IT people know about them or have the expertise or experience to execute them. That’s why many companies often turn to knowledgeable outside consultants, like the technicians at our Miami office, for help completing an Office 365 migration.
Savvy companies dig deep to find out what to expect before undertaking migrating to this IT solution. Below are several things you should be aware of before you decide to migrate to Office 365:
- Choosing a plan is complicated — The first step in migrating to Office 365 is to decide on a plan. You’ll also have to decide what options you want. But with so many plans and options available, choosing a plan with the right options can be confusing. Fortunately, Microsoft provides a services page that can help you choose a plan with the right options. If you’re not comfortable choosing a plan yourself, outside consultants like the technicians at our Florida offices can often help you choose a plan and the options that work for you.
- Comparing O365 with on-premises version is a must — Once you decide on your plan, compare it to your on-premises version, if you have one. Make sure you know exactly what it is you’re getting and what it is you’re losing by migrating to the O365. That eliminates any big surprises after the transition. But even if you choose an option that doesn’t meet your specific needs, you can change your plan and move users over without a lot of problems.
- Expect bumps in the road when transferring content — If your organization is like many organization, you’re probably not starting from the beginning. That means you’ll have to transfer content. Expect some bumps in the road. Also, you probably won’t want to copy everything from one solution to the other. Instead, take your time to reorganize and eliminate old content. The goal: Figure out exactly what it is you want to keep first, then migrate it. Doing so can save you a lot of time and money, and many sleepless nights.
- Email addresses must be changed — When you migrate to O365, user accounts will have a default email address that ends with onmicrosoft.com. Of course, you can change this to your domain name, but simply accepting email for your domain name won’t work. Your outbound messages will still use the onmicrosoft.com domain name until you make some configuration changes.
- Users may not be able to connect with mobile devices — While you may be able to bring your email boxes online quickly, the logistics of doing so can wreak havoc with connecting to mobile devices. That means you’ll have to figure out how to re-connect once you’ve reached this phase of migration.
- DNS issues may crop up — When adding a domain to Office 365, you get a list of DNS entries automatically. You’ll need to make these entries before the domain functions properly. While making many some of these entries is straightforward, others aren’t. For example, Microsoft Lync requires some service records to be created first.
These are just some of the issues you could encounter when migrating to Office 365. Also, expect to lose a bit of control of some things, such as patch management, software upgrades, and other admin tasks. Loss of some control comes with the migration.
Office 365 Migration Tools Can Help
In addition to the issues above, you’ll also face challenges once the migration is complete, especially when it comes to security. Fortunately, tools exist that can help you overcome these obstacles. Descriptions of three of the most helpful are below:
- Code Two Office 365 Migration — This tool makes it easy to transfer your on-premises Exchange mailboxes to Office 365. Code Two works with Exchange 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. It also helps move mailboxes over from Google Apps for Business and individual mailboxes from Gmail accounts to O365.
- Mimecast Services for Office 365 — While O365 has its strengths, it can’t provide the security protection, data loss avoidance, and up-time assurance provided by your on-premise email system. That’s where this IT solution comes in. It provides a suite of integrated services that provide email risk mitigation for Office 365.
- Office 365 Application Training — As with any new software, lack of training can prevent users from taking advantage of all the benefits of O365. This IT solution enables IT admin people and consultants, like the Office 365 technicians at our Florida offices, to create a library of task-based videos to help users learn new features at their own pace.
Other tools that can help with the migration include Migration Wiz (data migration), User Activation (onboarding), 365 Command (gathering and analyzing data and reporting), and ENow Software’s Mailscape (monitoring and reporting tool).
Migrating to Office 365 Is a Challenge
Office 365 offers too many benefits not to at least consider using it, including increasing productivity at your company. But migrating to Office 365 Is a challenge. There’s no doubt about it. Some companies can do it themselves using their in-house IT people. Others can’t. So review the pros and cons of migrating to Office 365 before making the decision to move.
If you decide to migrate to this IT solution, take the time to learn as much about the migration process before as you can before doing anything. If you decide it’s too much to migrate yourself, don’t rule out bringing in outside consultants—like the technicians at our Florida offices. Their experience and expertise can simplify your migration and keep it from becoming a costly nightmare.