Office 365 Migration guide

Office 365 Migration in Vancouver Using an IT Support Company

Sep 7, 2020


Nervous about email migration?

You’re not alone.

Many business owners are nervous about moving to the cloud. Mind you, this nervousness has nothing to do with the sheer efficiency, enhanced security and ROI they see with a transition to Office 365. In fact, to remain agile and competitive in a tougher-than-ever market, migration to the cloud is now a necessity.

But the daunting thought of having your auto-fill addresses suddenly wiped out, or mysteriously disappearing tasks from your calendar, can often stall users from migrating.

The email system is the single most frequently used piece of software in any office environment, sometimes even edging past proprietary tools used to develop core products/ services. Needless to say, end-users want their customizations to stay exactly the way that they are used to – regardless of where the email system is hosted.

But we compete with a long history of reported IT hassles and migration nightmare stories, you’ve likely heard one or two from your peers. In fact, routine email migrations still continue to result in unacceptably long downtimes; loss of data and customizations, and a lot of head-scratching and frustration both for the end-users and system administrators (if available).

Fortunately, there is an easier way.

How to Migrate to Office 365

Office 365 email migration steps: In this article, we show you exactly how to prepare for an email system migration to Microsoft Office 365.

Step 1: Get an IT provider to understand your unique requirements

Now, you may be wondering why we recommend you to get an IT provider for email migration. After all, couldn’t your in-house IT person or the company that manages your outsourced IT handle the job? Unfortunately, this is generally where things go wrong for companies.

You see, your in-house IT person might be an expert at understanding the IT environment he has built and maintained over years. But to understand how to get the exact same results with Office 365 is an entirely different matter. Use a team who have done this countless times.

IT providers specialize in handling migrations and understand enterprise-specific requirements and the requisite levels of service required. They are trained to collaborate and ensure a completely hassle-free migration experience. This ensures minimal downtime with almost no impact on productivity (and losses). Moreover, IT providers offer service guarantees that ensure that they stay with you before, during and after the migration until end-users are completely satisfied with the migration experience.

Step 2: Know what your end result should look like

The key to a smooth email migration lies in planning ahead.

When people approach us with email migration requests, it’s often stated as a simple transfer – Exchange to Office 365 or Google to Office 365.

What you need to determine, however, are the scope and requirements of your migration needs. This range can vary widely with the cost of migrations varying from $30K to well over $100K. Understanding your exact requirements can help you keep costs down, plan an exact schedule for the duration as well as convey exactly what you want the end result to look like to the technicians handling your email migration. This makes the task that much easier for them and you.

Planning ahead should also ideally include/ address all your concerns about questions on service availability during migration, test migration protocols, data and address book syncing, security, backup, organizational units, active directory, device-specific requirements and more. Well-experienced technicians should be able to provide thorough consultations on the same.

Step 3: Know the type and scope of migration and compile a checklist

The type and scope of migration you have to undertake determines the duration. Check the versions of software you will be migrating from – it matters. The most common office 365 migration requests that we receive include:

– File Share applications to Office 365 and SharePoint

– Upgrading SharePoint versions from 2007, 2010, or 2013

– Exchange (on-premises) to Office 365

– Google Suite to Office 365

Keep in mind that each of these migrations come with their own unique set of challenges. For example, migrating to cloud from on-premises SharePoint can throw up issues with features and speed.

While deciding on the scope of migration, you should check whether you want to include:

  • Transferring documents from a shared file
  • Content from current SharePoint
  • Sites from current SharePoint (including third party applications)
  • Permissions
  • Customizations
  • Forms

While it is possible for migration experts to tweak migration parameters to replicate the exact results you want – it’s very important to be aware of the possible red flags and issues before you conduct the actual migration. Each of the specific elements listed above will need to factor into both scope planning and cost.

Compiling a tech checklist of features and customizations you want prior to the actual migration is useful. The central idea is to take the uncertainties out of the migration process and get the exact results you want to see.

Step 4: Be prepared for contingencies and downtime

Although working with qualified IT or managed services providers nearly guarantees zero downtime, it is always best to plan ahead in case of contingencies. With efficient migrations there shouldn’t be any disruptions to active workflow at all and everything should work as usual – including sending and receiving emails, messaging etc. – even while the migration takes place.

If you are planning to involve your users (and it’s recommended that you do) to help clean up content or decide on most efficient content pathways, you will need to give them time and guidance on where and how to direct the content. Weekends, holidays, or off seasons for some businesses provide a great window to complete your migration with minimal user impact.

Just in case there is any downtime at all and your business needs require you to be available for customers, you should be able to work with the technicians to set up auxiliary systems to maintain workflow and customer servicing.

Step 5: For best results, work with Microsoft certified partners

This one is a no-brainer, really.

Office 365 solutions: If you are migrating to Office 365, there is no one better to guide you than technicians certified by Microsoft. ActiveCo’s Microsoft certified team of technicians receive extensive training and have years of data and email migration experience under their belts. No matter how challenging your enterprise storage and migration requirements are, you will find ActiveCo to be a proactive partner who can intuitively assess your needs and provide the most customized IT solutions at the best possible rates in the market. Our senior technicians are guaranteed to provide you with the most hassle-free and smooth email migration experience.

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