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Microsoft Office 365 Migration: Getting it Right

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Microsoft Office 365 Migration: Getting it Right


Getting your head around Microsoft Office 365 before initiating a migration can be a tedious and time-consuming task for anyone. However, it’s necessary if you want to do the process right – and with as few mistakes as possible. In this guide, we’ll take you through the key aspects of the migration process, and hopefully we’ll save you the headache, too.

Let’s start with the basics: Microsoft Office 365 is a line of quality subscription services offered by mega-conglomerate Microsoft. The Office 365 suite consists of a variety of products, all of which can be accessed through an online portal. The suite offers familiar services, such as:

  • Outlook: This includes Outlook Mail, Outlook Calendar, and Outlook Tasks.
  • Software-as-a-service: This cloud-based software includes Exchange Server, Skype for Business, and SharePoint.
  • Office applications: Word, Excel and PowerPoint. I reckon these products are familiar to most IT users.

According to Microsoft, Office 365 is an integrated experience of collaborative apps and services. And it’s momentum cannot be ignored – Commando 365, which is running with Windows Azure, is now managing more than 1 million inboxes worldwide.

So, how can you ensure a swift and painless migration to Office 365? Well, I have three words for you, my friend – planning, planning and planning.


Key Decisions for Your Office 365 Migration


I hate to make you nervous, but please remember this: when starting the migration process, it’s important to get your decisions right the first time – some of these cannot be reversed further down the road. In other words, you must take your time and weigh your options carefully before you get started.

The first decision you must make, during the pre-deployment stage of your migration, is to decide which subscription to purchase. If you’re not sure which Microsoft subscription to go for, you can start a trial to see how the system aligns with your requirements. Additionally, we recommend reviewing the various Office 365 security features and see whether they meet your company standards. This part is crucial, especially if you want to keep sensitive information and customer data as safe as possible (And who wouldn’t these days?).

When you’ve decided on which Microsoft Office subscription to purchase, we recommend that you take the following steps:


·         From the Microsoft Partner of your company, employ a sign-up link  

·         Decide which Microsoft domain name to use. Make sure to choose wisely because this will be your SharePoint site URL’s basis and therefore cannot be changed.

·         Make sure to select the right pricing/subscription plan for your organisation. Aside from the pricing, we recommend that you also consider its flexibility and security.

·         Consider your branding in the decision-making process

·         Keep in mind that moving your Microsoft URL brand to a different plan will not be easy

·         Purchase all the licenses you require

·         Consider combining Office 365 and Windows Intune



After purchasing your subscription, you must choose your preferred method of signing on. Generally, there are four main options available:


·         DirSync with passwords

·         Office 365 sign-on

·         ADFS/SSO with Exchange Federation

·         ADFS/Single sign-on


Your third step will be to gather all the necessary information to complete the pre-deployment process. This can include collecting the domain names of your company, gathering up user and administrator data, the distribution and security groups, company resource information, public and external contracts, email accounts, phone/voicemail interactions, company internet speeds, compliance archive requirements, and other pertinent data.


This sounds like quite a lot, but these types of data are necessary to bring with you through the migration. Once you’ve collected all the necessary company data, the next step will be to clearly define your migration plan and schedule. For this stage, you must


·         Validate your custom domain

·         Schedule software deployment

·         Plan your considerations for pilot and Exchange Federation


The fifth step in the pre-deployment process will be to actually organise your accounts – and remember that your organisational ID will be the login for Office 365.



Single Office 365 Tenant vs Multiple Tenants?


Choosing between single Office 365 tenant and multiple tenants is one of your more important decisions during the Microsoft Office 365 migration.

Some companies may have no choice but to use multiple tenants, as a single Office 365 tenant may not be enough. If you’re thinking of using more than one Office 365 tenant, you should carefully consider the limitations and the technical requirements that come with using multiple tenants first.

With Microsoft Office 365, DirSync (which is more popularly known as the Windows Azure Active Directory Sync tool) traditionally has one Active Directory for every Office 365 tenant. This results in companies having to choose a region for every single tenant even if their users are distributed globally.

However, some of the more recent DirSync updates have effectively eliminated a few of the restrictions and limitations of tenants. It is now possible for an Active Directory to fully synchronize with multitudes of Office 365 tenants, across multiple geographic regions. However, we do recommend that you check if you qualify for this before settling for an option.



Office 365 Migration: The Easy Way


Do you think all of the above is way too complicated and time-consuming? That’s understandable.

Luckily, there is an even easier way to do your Office 365 Migration: working with a high-quality service provider. In order to benefit from Office 365, we recommend choosing a service provider with an extensive knowledge of the Microsoft Office suite and the migration process itself.

Before initiating the migration, your managed service provider should analyse your current IT structure and ensure that a migration is actually doable. In addition to handling the entirety of the migration, your ITMS provider can also help you with the following:

  • Choosing the best subscription plan for your business
  • Setting up your Office 365 contract
  • Offer Office 365 training and post-migration support


Take the Next Steps with SAS


Office 365 can bring plenty of advantages to your organisation. But are you still unsure of how to get your migration project underway?

Software Advisory Service can help you find the right managed services partner for you. Our service is unbiased and completely non-chargeable. Simply fill in the form to your right, and one of our experts will be in touch with you shortly. Let’s get your migration started!


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