It’s Moving Day – 4 Steps to a Painless Office 365 Migration

After a few months of planning, completing a pre-migration assessment (Read blog post, "Office 365 Migration Ahead? Don't Pass Go Without Comprehensive Pre-Migration Assessment,”) and cleaning house on Active Directory (Read blog post, “Your 2017 Priority - Optimize AD for Office 365,”), the time has finally come to flip the switch on Office 365.

The over-simplification of the migration is meant in jest, of course, as even the best planned, well intended major IT platform move is challenging. For many organizations, a Microsoft Office 365 deployment represents an initial cloud deployment as well. While use of cloud services within the enterprise are increasingly common, cloud security still gives executives and even your end users some reservations.

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Speaking of end users, by now everyone impacted by the migration should have been informed. But that won’t stop the barrage of questions. Get ready for countless versions of the same ask: “When will my e-mail be up and running…” The short answer is that post migration email access on Office 365 Exchange should be immediate. Unlike migrating from a messaging system from another vendor (Groupwise, Lotus Notes, etc.), for end users at companies that are already on a Microsoft platform, the user experience will be essentially identical. Put users’ minds at ease by outlining and communicating the migration timeline, incidentally the first step in the physical migration.

Office 365 Migration in 4 Steps

  1. Establish and Communicate a Timeline for User Migration: Identify the “who” and “when” for migration, paying close attention to Active Directory delegation relationships to migrate linked users at the same time.
  2. Establish Co-Existence: With Active Directory optimized for a hybrid environment, you can “turn on” both the on premise directory (source) and Office 365 directory (target) to ensure users on the both source and target can communicate and collaborate.
  3. Migrate: It’s time to sync. First move user accounts to Azure Active Directory, followed by email and calendars.
  4. Enable Access to Applications: Configure application settings for each user based on a pre-determined directory of which applications each user needs.

While the physical migration of data and user accounts seems simple enough, it’s better to anticipate some hiccups then be caught off guard. In an upcoming blog post, I’ll review some security and compliance considerations to keep in mind during migration.

In the meantime, get more tips and best practices for a pain-free migration in our latest eBook, “Surviving Migration to Office 365."

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