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The Definitive Guide to Planning a Successful Office 365 Migration

By: SmallBizClub


Definitive Guide to a Successful Office 365 Migration

Several SMBs have taken the leap to Office 365, and are leveraging the benefits of this suite of collaboration, workflow, and office apps. If your organization is also queuing up for the transformation, it will be smart to spend some time to understand and plan well. Here’s the CIO’s definitive guidebook on planning for a successful Office 365 migration.

Invest Time to Understand Service Packages and Adopt the One in Sync with Long Term IT Plans

Think long and hard about the service plan you need to adopt. Office 365 comes to you in several packages, each distinguished with features relevant to particular segments of users. CIOs would do well to ponder over the cloud transformation journey they have in mind for their organizations. Whereas the option of selecting the lowest priced may be too enticing to ignore, particularly for organizations with less than 25 employees in active need of shared cloud empowered Office apps, the leap ought to be planned better.

  • What will your workforce size be 2 years down the line?
  • How important are premium priced services such as Data Loss Prevention (DLP)?
  • Do you need front end customization?

Answers to such questions help you envisage the migration to Office 365 in a broader context. Of course, it is always possible to scale up, but the right plan choice upfront will mitigate post go-live disruptions and dissonance.

Cleanse all Databases and Servers that will Integrate with Office 365

A vital component of the user experience after Office 365 migration is the seamless access of apps offline as well as online. To enable this, SMBs mostly rely on active directory, which is a repository for storing user credentials, and managing access privileges. Active directory and Office 365 need to be integrated to allow for hassle free access to apps with single sign-in.

However, these access management repositories need to be cleansed before the integration can be executed. Plus, exchange server data for your organization needs to be reviewed and cleaned before the migration, so that post migration user experiences are seamless, swift, and value adding. Remember the age old IT adage: junk in, junk out. You really don’t want to be battling data hygiene issues after your ambitious Office 365 migration plan, right?

Discuss the need to Select Enhancements over Standard Office 365 Functionalities

A major responsibility of the technology officer at any small and medium sized business is to understand the requirements of management tools required as part of the Office 365 migration. Whereas the standard web based management console offered by Office 365 is capable enough to address management needs of SMB IT Admins and managers, growing organizations would ideally want to ponder over using Microsoft’s standard scripting environment called Powershell to leverage advance customization capabilities with Office 365.

For instance, adopting existing folder permissions can be achieved through simple Powershell tweaks. Spend some time to discuss the kinds of features that need Powershell scripting, and talk it out with in-house IT consultants, and vendor consultants, to ensure that your company’s migration to Office 365 proves to be an empowering IT transformation.

Consider the Version Readiness of Operating Systems and Current Office Suites

Office 365 scores over a lot of collaboration tools because of the decent degree of backward compatibility it offers. Apart from bringing to you the power of cloud based Office apps, collaboration, and workflow management tools, Office 365 also ensures compatibility with previous generations of Office suites, as well as old MS operating systems.

Of course, this backward compatibility is limited to a few generations; for instance, Microsoft has announced end of support for Windows XP operating system, which automatically necessitates an OS migration for SMBs that have traditionally stuck to XP. It’s important to understand and acknowledge that organizations pressing the button for Office 365 are essentially forward looking in terms of their IT road map, and hence, moving on to better versions of operating systems and office suites will only help them add to the potential of their Office 365 app infrastructure.

Paul Zaichenko HeadshotAuthor: Paul Zaichenko is the owner and CEO of Computer Answers, a Business IT services and computer repair services provider with 5 locations throughout the capital region. Paul writes for his own blog, about IT, computer repair and iPhone repair and often is featured as expert on IT and security. Computer Answers has been helping businesses in the New York capital region with their IT needs for the last 10 years.

Published: February 24, 2016

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