Piloting Office 365? How Do You Determine Who the Right Users Are?

It never ceases to amaze me how some folks fail to plan. A great boss of mine drilled it into my head from a very young age that a failure to plan is a plan to fail. If you're considering a move to Office 365 for your enterprise email platform, you likely have been asked to conduct some sort of pilot to test out the service. Here's where the planning (and thus the opportunity to fail) first begins. Let me give you an example of how a real customer addressed this problem.


"Tim's" manager has asked him to test out Office 365 to determine if it is a good fit for the organization. Tim has seen the beta and is familiar with it, and is ready to have some of his users leverage the service as well. But, Tim wants to be cautious and limit the number of users, balancing the need to learn about the solution while minimizing the risk in case something doesn't work as planned. This is going to be high visibility, so the margin of error is very small. Tim thinks he wants to leverage a group of 50 users who are not heavy users of email, but just enough to get real feedback. He needed to answer three primary questions:


1) How will he go about finding who those 50 users are?

2) How does he determine what the right daily email volume is?

3) How will he migrate the users, or migrate them back if Office 365 is not a good fit for those users or the company?


To answer these questions, there's help. You don't have to rely on scripts or natve reporting tools. There are a bevy of free tools to help you decide if Office 365 is even the right platform for you. To assess email volumes and subscription usage, you can utilize Quest MessageStats. It provides you the data you need to to quickly identify good candidates for Office 365 based on their email usage and validate which subscriptions are active or inactive. And finally, tools like Migrator for Cloud Email will help you be flexible in migrating users as needed.


Anything with "cloud" attached to it is going to be highly visible. Plan effectively or face the consequences!