Whether you’re migrating your entire operation to the cloud or require a hybrid IT solution, you need a seamless transition and improved user experience to realize the full benefits of Office 365 for your business.
While planning can feel tedious, a thorough Office 365 migration plan minimizes the risk of deployment failures and sets you up for migration success.
Follow these five steps to create an effective Office 365 migration plan.
To start, you need to know what you’re working with.
The discovery and assessment phase ensures you don’t waste time or money migrating data and IT assets you don’t need. One Gartner study found that 80 percent of its client’s data was redundant during a deployment.
After confirming the data you’re migrating is actively being used, you’ll want to assess your IT environment:
The discovery assessment should include:
Pro tip: You can also use Microsoft’s readiness check. It’s an automated tool that gives you a readiness assessment report, detailed software and hardware information and advice to speed up the Office 365 migration planning process.
You’ll also want to decide which improvements you plan to make. How will you improve the user experience (e.g., go mobile or implement Skype for Business?) Which new features do you want to take advantage of? How will they fit into your business?
Developing an Office 365 training and communication plan will also ensure users are technologically equipped, well-informed and ready to make the switch.
Once you have a full picture of your IT environment, it’s time to create your Office 365 migration plan.
Here are a few questions to address:
Don’t skip this step. By testing before migrating, you can avoid downtime due to issues with bandwidth, servers, certificates and more.
Conduct a pilot migration by migrating only a small amount of data and verifying the results. You will be able to test permissions and access, capture and address any errors, document the findings and gather statistics on your migration. Tweak your plan based on your learnings from this pilot migration.
After working out any kinks in the testing phase, you are now ready to complete your Office 365 migration.
If you’re not working with a third-party, you may want to look into migration software to support your internal team efforts. Consider delaying deployment for executives and high-touch users to minimize the potential business impact if something were to go wrong.
Finally, assess the migration.
Gather feedback from users to learn what is working well and what isn’t. Address any problems that may need fixing after the migration. You will need to communicate to the end users how to customize preferences and verify their information is intact.
The post-migration follow up is crucial. Migrating data to the cloud without implementing the processes and tools to support Office 365 will drive up costs and complicate support in the future.
Many businesses take on Office 365 migrations without a comprehensive plan or the expertise to successfully execute the migration.
If you don’t have the time or resources to successfully migrate to Office 365, give Helixstorm a call. We can help you with all your technology needs, including Office 365 migrations, IT consulting and ongoing IT support.
Think of us as your IT department, just in a different building. Call today for your free consultation.