Steps For a Successful Office365 Migration

Thursday, July 9, 2015

“The significant waves made by Office 365 are difficult to ignore, and its myriad benefits and application upgrades put pressure on IT departments. Maybe you’re wondering if it’s time for your organization to make the leap.” The well respected industry online journal Tech Target recently made this statement. With promises of cost savings, risk reduction, technical agility and easier management, it’s easy to see why companies are moving to Office365.

Whilst moving to Office365 provides numerous benefits, it’s a major undertaking and needs careful thought and planning. The transition from an established infrastructure to a cloud environment requires the right people with the right skills and a well-documented process to ensure that it’s not disruptive to your business.

Steps for a successful Office365 Migration

Decide which plan is right

Office 365 is subscription based, which means that you pay a monthly fee to use it. There are different subscription tiers, all with different costs, applications and services so it’s important to look at the options and decide which one fits your organisation the best. By choosing the right plan you can keep your spending to a minimum whilst improving your productivity. Choose a plan that supports what you need now and moving forward for the next twelve months. One of the benefits of moving to the cloud is that it allows you to scale up or down as needed so you don’t need to purchase a plan for long term future requirements. However, whilst you can change plans you want to avoid doing so during your transition

Determine the system requirements

It’s important to understand what you need to have for a smooth transition in terms of operating systems, browsers, devices and internet access.  In order for Office 365 to work efficiently you should have the latest or immediately previous versions of browsers, operating systems, Office clients and apps, as well as a good internet connection. Old versions will work but can result in unscheduled downtime and poor user experience leading to unhappy and unproductive staff.

Consider your migration options

There are three main options for migrating to Office365 and you need to consider which option works best for your organisation. The choices cover:

Hybrid Migration
This involves moving some or most of the on-premise capabilities to Office 365, but retaining some capabilities on-premise.  Migrating this way is complex but is ideally suited for large organisations that require an extended coexistence period.

Cutover Migration
The entire organisation is switched in a single operation. On the day of the move, every client must be visited and reconfigured, and all users must be provided a new password with which to access Office 365. Cutover works with Exchange 2003 to 2013. Works best if you have fewer than 2000 mailboxes.

Staged Migration
This option reduces the likelihood of disruption and is a good choice if you're running Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007, and there are more than 2,000 mailboxes. The idea is to move a small percentage at a time – for example move just 10 percent of user accounts to start with. You can see how it works and how the users adapt and then use this information to make future migrations faster and smoother.

Evaluate third party tools

Office 365 offers a broad set of widely applicable, general-purpose tools and capabilities, but it is not a complete solution. Third-party tools and services can be added to Office 365 to make the migration process easier and some to consider are:

  • Metalogix Cloud Acceleration Suite for Office 365
  • Dell Migration Manager for Exchange
  • Binary Tree E2E Complete

Although some of these are on the more expensive side, they could be worth considering if your organisation is performing a large-scale migration.

Ensure you communicate

Keeping staff informed of what’s going to happen, how they will be impacted and what is required of them is a critical step in a smooth transition. Open the communication channels early and keep in regular contact so that everybody is working together to make the transition a success.

Let’s not beat around the bush. Migrating to Office 365 is a significant undertaking for any size organisation and, to be successful, relies on careful preparation, sound technical knowledge and a well-executed project plan.


Advantage Technology Solutions can undertake a comprehensive assessment of your business, determine the right Office365 solution and work with you to migrate existing data and workloads. If you’re interested to know more please call 1 300 780 730 .