Hi. I'm Mike Weaver. I'm a technologist that focuses on merger acquisition and divestitures with a lot of work in Office 365 tenant-to-tenant migrations. Let's talk about my top planning tips for tenant-to-tenant migrations.
The first tip is very early on, you need to make a decision if you're going to do a cutover migration, or a phased migration, or batch migration. This is one of the key aspects of planning your project. I used to be a big fan of cutover migrations. However, as time has gone on and these tenants have gotten larger and more and more complex, many firms are unable to do a cutover migration.
It's important to understand the impacts of doing either decision that you make, as putting all the efforts into the cutover can sometimes allow you to minimize disruption and cross-team collaboration. However, there's a lot of risk associated with that. On the other aspect, when you plan a batch migration, it cuts down your risk, but you have to be very careful about how you plan your batches. Again, this is going to be a decision that's going project-by-project.
The second aspect is you're going to need some tooling, particularly some of the workloads that don't support native options. When you look at tools, there are some free tools that are available that are in preview and a variety of paid tools that have different features. You're going to need to look at the total cost of ownership of these tools. This includes whether it's going to be a SaaS platform, if you're going to host it yourself, what it's going to take to operate these tools if it is one tool that does multiple workloads versus a bunch of little tools pushed together to make your solution work.
All these are going to have different costs and payoff. Sometimes it's best to use one solution, one third party solution that brings it all together. Other projects, that may not be the case. But many do find it very difficult when doing the planning to understand the total cost of ownership in their tooling.
The third tip is to understand your staffing needs for your project. When we think about a merger acquisition, and divestiture, and a tenant-to-tenant migration, there's so much more going on than just the Office 365 migration. When we look at all the other initiatives that are going on, it can be difficult to make staffing decisions on who's going to work on the migration project versus the other projects that might be going on.
You may need to bring in consultants to help augment your staff in different areas. So understanding what those needs are going to be, who's going to work on what, and what makes sense as well as goals for the organization and the people working all has to come into play when you're doing your planning. Set reasonable expectations on the time that it's going to take and what people can accomplish with the time that they have.
If you're doing multiple projects, the fourth tip is having a program, not a project plan. If you're doing multiple projects or they're large or complex, there is a lot of people, and processes, and help that needs to come in to make this work, especially with multiple projects going at once. You have to coordinate so many aspects of the organization, communications, the technology limitations, what people are using, reorganization, in some cases-- everything going at once. You don't want to plan with just a technical project plan when you really need a full change management program. When you see this happening in your planning, you want to ensure that this is part of it.
And finally, don't undervalue the importance of end user interviews. I like to sit on help desk a couple of times a year, do end user interviews wherever I can. When I'm doing data analytics for a project, when I see something really interesting, I try to take a minute, meet up with that person, understand what they're doing, and ensure that it becomes part of the plan. And I encourage everyone as part of their tenant-to-tenant planning, when they see something interesting or just sitting down with a variety of people, to ensure that you've handled the most important aspects in your planning. Follow these tips and more for a successful Office 365 tenant-to-tenant migration project.