The 7 steps for a successful Office 365 Migration

Once you've decided that Office 365 is right for your organization, it's time to start thinking about the migration process. There's two ways to do this - by "winging it" or by following a proven process. To ensure the success of your Office 365 migration project, you need to make sure you achieve the following objectives:

  • No data is lost during the transition process;
  • No system downtime - your business still needs to operate; and
  • It's done quickly and cost-effectively.

In other words, an Office365 migration that is stress-free! These objectives can be achieved by following these 7 steps:

#1 - Review your current email system

If you're like most people, the primary reason for migrating to Office 365 is because you want to move your email to the cloud. Accordingly, it's important to start by collating the technical details on your current email server and run an audit report that identifies all the active users and groups as well as the size of their email boxes.

#2 - Review your current Microsoft licensing status

Office 365 has number of technical prerequisites that you need to be aware of before you migrate. The main one that catches people out is that Windows XP, Office 2003 and Office 2007 are no longer supported. As well as making sure your operating system and browser will work with Office 365, it's also important to take stock of the versions and licenses of the Microsoft Office software you already have. Like most organisations, you are probably using a mixture of Microsoft Office versions, which is just fine - but it's important to understand what you have currently so that you can make the right decision on which mix of Office 365 plans are best suited for your organization.

#3 - Review your current data storage locations and size

Office 365 offers two main locations for the storing of your data - Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint. To make an informed decision on how best to store your data once you migrate to Office 365, it's essential to review and record the locations and size of your data.

#4 - Decide on the best mix of Office 365 plans

You're now at the point where you have information on your email system, you've got a detailed report on your current Microsoft licensing and you know how much data you must migrate. Congratulations - you're now at the point where you can review the different Office 365 business and enterprise plans and decide which ones are best for your organization. Note that Microsoft now allow Office 365 plans to be mixed and matched which is great news for all businesses large and small. It means you can maximise your existing investment in recent versions of Microsoft Office as well as cater for the different requirements your staff may have, depending on their roles.

#5 - Technical preparation for your Office 365 migration

It's now time to get all your ducks in a row and that means collating all the technical details you will require to conduct a smooth migration. For example, the last thing you want to do is start your Office 365 migration and then find out you don't have the right username and password to update your domain name record. An important part of this step is to update all computer software to the minimum specification and consider whether you want to change the design of your email groups and the way you structure your data.

#6 - Office 365 Changeover

The big day has arrived and it's time to change over to Office 365. This is the critical step, but with the lead-up work all done, you should feel confident that the process will go smoothly. Almost all the email system and data has already been migrated, so the actions at this stage are to change the settings for all staff and to ensure that normal business operations are continuing.

#7 - Perform a post-migration clean-up

With the actual migration complete, there are still many clean-up tasks to perform before the project can be deemed a success. The number and types of tasks will differ for each migration, but a common example is the decommissioning of the existing Exchange software from your server. This not only reclaims disk space, but it will also increase the performance of your server and ensure that your server runs reliably going forward.

Is a DIY Office 365 Migration a good idea?

As you can see these seven steps collectively require considerable knowledge of your existing systems as well as a good understanding of the Office 365 platform. There are a number of third party software tools that can be used to assist in this process – the tricky part is to know which ones are of value.

In addition you need to carefully consider whether it is worth using internal staff to learn and perform a one-off multi-step project. It may well be that the best way to assure your organization of a successful Office 365 migration is to use the services of a Microsoft Partner that has Office 365 certifications and real-world experience in performing Office 365 migrations.

Ready to action your Office 365 Migration?

To find out more on how we can perform your stress-free Office 365 migration quickly and cost-effectively, please contact us now by completing the Office 365 Migration webform.

Or find out more about the best strategy for your migration depending on whether you have Exchange Server 2007 or Exchange Server 2010.