Office 365 Migration Tips for a Smooth Transition for Small and Midsize Companies

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Office 365 Migration Tips for a Smooth Transition for Small and Midsize Companies

From taking inventory of your devices and applications to choosing the right pricing plan and managing your server, this guide will provide you with the following Office 365 migration tips.

After all, migrating to Office 365 can be a daunting task for any small or midsize company. Whether it’s to upgrade business tools or as part of a merger, the migration process can present challenges that can negatively impact the business if not done correctly. 

However, with the right planning and guidance, companies can make a safe and accurate transition. Follow these Office 365 migration tips and you will be on the right path.

8 Office 365 Migration Tips for Small and Midsize Companies

To make the migration process smoother, companies should not skimp on preparation and plan for coexistence to minimize the impact on business. They should also implement the ABCs of security and not forget about post-migration management. So keep reading.

  1. Analyze what will be affected by migration: Before starting a Microsoft 365 migration, take inventory of all networked devices and applications that will be affected. This will help you identify which devices may lose functionality during the migration, and give you time to research and implement additional configurations to maintain their functionality in the new environment.

  1. Meet System Requirements: Make sure your versions of Office and Windows meet the Microsoft 365 system requirements.

    It’s important to ensure that your versions of Office and Windows are compatible with Microsoft 365 before starting the migration. While it’s best to use the most recent version of Microsoft 365, if your organization is currently using older versions, it’s still possible to upgrade. However, it’s important to note that older versions may have reduced functionality, which could impact your users.

  2. Verify DNS Compatibility: Make sure to check whether your DNS provider supports SRV records, as this can impact your organization’s ability to email, instant message, and more.

    If your organization is a nonprofit, it’s important to confirm that you qualify for nonprofit pricing before beginning the migration process. Unexpected expenses can be a headache, especially if you thought your licensing was free. Check your eligibility requirements listed on Microsoft’s nonprofit page, or speak with your IT partner.

  3. Consider Business Needs: Before choosing a Microsoft 365 plan, consider your organization’s business needs.

    For instance, if your organization has industry-specific compliance requirements for data security, regulatory reporting, or data recovery, make sure that the plan you choose meets those needs.

  4. Test on-prem Exchange server: Use Microsoft’s Remote Connectivity Analyzer to test whether your on-prem Exchange server will encounter any connectivity issues during the migration process.

    If your server doesn’t pass the test, the Connectivity Analyzer will highlight any problems that need to be fixed before the migration can begin.

  5. Inspect Files Before: Before migrating files, inspect them to ensure that they’re supported by Microsoft 365 and that their filenames don’t contain unsupported characters.

    Failing to account for file permissions can also cost you time and effort when you have to rebuild security policies from scratch after the migration.

  6. Decommission On-Prem Servers: Make sure to verify that any on-prem servers, such as Lync servers, have been properly decommissioned before starting the migration.

    Failure to do so could result in users being unable to connect to new Microsoft 365 features.

  1. Decide Manage Server: Decide ahead of time who will be responsible for administering your Microsoft 365 tenant after the migration is complete.

    If you’re working with an IT partner, they can manage it for you, or you can choose to manage it in-house by taking courses at Microsoft’s Virtual Academy.

Do’s & Don’t’s for a Successful Office 365 Migration

As you may or may not know, migrating to Office 365 and Azure AD can bring a range of benefits to organizations, from improved collaboration and productivity to enhanced security and compliance. 

With feature sets now on par with on-premises counterparts, it’s hard to justify investing in expensive on-prem email, collaboration, and communication capabilities when everything can be obtained through a monthly subscription to Office 365. 

Azure AD also offers compelling features, such as the ability to provide single-sign-on (SSO) to thousands of end-user applications, including non-Microsoft ones like Salesforce, and valuable security features like conditional access policies.

However, migrating to Office 365 is not without its challenges. Proper assessment, inventory, and cleanup of the source environment are necessary, along with efficient migration tracking, ensuring normal user operations throughout the process, and proper management of the target environment after migration. 

Specific challenges include mapping permissions from the source platform to Office 365, dealing with feature restrictions and size limitations, and migrating highly customized SharePoint applications. 

Additionally, native tools have important limitations during each phase of the migration process, with no capability to merge tenants or to migrate from one tenant to another. But with proper planning and execution, organizations can overcome these challenges and experience a successful migration. Simple Office 365 migration tips can go a long way.

That being said, here’s what we recommend you to do and don’t if you’re planning to migrate into Office 365:

  1. Prepare – Planning and preparation are essential for a successful migration to Office 365. An accurate inventory of your source environment is critical, including user accounts, SharePoint content, and email archives. Application inventory should start early and should consider the target platform’s requirements.

    Define your goals and what data and applications you want to host in Office 365, and consider governance, compliance, and technical limitations. Also, clean up your environment and review SharePoint metrics before migration and plan for possible issues and ensure a quick recovery.

    Lastly, estimate how long the migration will take and plan for coexistence requirements and verify that the new environment is working properly before decommissioning the source environment.

  1. Minimize the Business’ Impact – A successful migration should be complete and accurate, ensuring that all required data is moved and users can work effectively in the new environment. It’s important to update user profiles and ensure that SharePoint sites and OneDrive data are migrated completely and accurately.

    To keep users happy, the migration should be completed quickly, with the ability to perform migration jobs in parallel and schedule jobs to run at convenient times.

    Efficient administration and reporting reduce costs and help complete the migration on time, with third-party solutions offering a dashboard for tracking and reporting on migration status.

    Consider getting help from migration experts, either for the complete project or specific pieces, as most IT pros don’t perform migrations frequently.

    Finally, 24/7 support is crucial to address issues that may arise as quickly as possible, minimizing the impact on the business.

  1. Co-Existence Strategy – When migrating from on-premises Exchange to Exchange Online, it’s essential to maintain a seamless user experience. This can be achieved through a co-existence strategy that synchronizes the source and target mailboxes, calendars, address lists, and public folders.

    By flipping a switch, you can easily migrate a particular group of users without affecting others. You’ll also need to synchronize your Active Directory users and groups and migrate your back-end resources, such as file servers, databases, and SharePoint sites.

    Native tools are not sufficient for this task, as they require extensive scripting and offer limited troubleshooting capabilities. Third-party tools that offer strong co-existence capabilities can make the migration process easier and less disruptive for users, reducing the risk of business impact.

  1. Post-migration Management – Post-migration management is a crucial aspect of any migration to the cloud, including Office 365.

    While moving to the cloud eliminates some administrative responsibilities, such as hardware management and platform availability, you and your team are still accountable for day-to-day administration, IT governance, and compliance with internal and external regulations.

    These responsibilities include permissions reporting, privileged account management, compliance auditing, provisioning, backup and recovery, and license management.

    Having the right tools in place before the migration starts is essential to ensure a secure and effective environment from day one.

    Microsoft will be responsible for performance and availability, but you’ll still need to manage and secure your Office 365 environment.

Need Help with IT?

At LayerLogix, we pride ourselves on offering pain-free IT Support and Services. From Networking to Cyber Security, we have solutions to support your business. 

Let us manage and maintain your IT, so you can focus on your core business. For a consultation, call us today at (713) 571-2390.