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Microsoft created Office 365 in an effort to improve workplace collaboration and productivity and businesses have been clamoring to implement it. As with any new platform migration though, this process doesn’t just happen with the click of a button and there are a lot of different factors to consider. Taking the time to ensure a proper migration is critical, because once a decision is made, it often cannot be reversed.

Here are some helpful tips to ensure a stress free and relatively simple migration to Office 365.

Do the Necessary Research

We know that researching Office 365 can be overwhelming in the beginning because there is so much information available. That being said, it is critical to know how everything is going to work, and what can be expected before, during and after the migration.

Knowing that Office 365 is very different in terms of interface, functionality, and features from the traditional office suite, is important to make sure you can plan for the changes your organization will face.

Make a List

This is a big one. Make sure that you have a comprehensive checklist for the whole migration process. This checklist should be more than just the technical aspects and focus on other critical aspects to migration such as:

  • Informing users of the migration
  • Gathering adoption feedback
  • Staff training

Start by drafting a step-by-step plan that clearly defines the different stages of the migration process, and continuously refine the process until all your bases are covered.

Check Email Settings

To ensure a seamless transition you will need to synchronize your accounts between your active directory domain and Office 365. This process is completed using Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory Synchronization tool.

Along with this you will need to point the company’s mail exchange record to Office 365 so new emails will be sent directly to the 365 mailboxes.

Not doing this can result in your company’s emails being flagged as spam, which can seriously affect your business.

Pick the Migration Path that Works for You

Every company’s migration plan looks different, and it’s critical to make sure that your plan meets the individual needs of your business. There are three categories that the migration can be divided into.

  • Cutover migration – this migration process consists of the single provisioning and transfer of up to 2,000 mailboxes, users, mail groups and contacts over to Microsoft Office 365
  • Staged migration – Staged migration is useful when you don’t want to migrate all your resources at one time. This allows mailboxes to be moved over in small batches over a longer period of time
  • Hybrid migration – This type of migration is perfect for moving more than 2,000 mailboxes as well as running local exchange servers and Office 365 at the same time

Test Every Phase

Once you’ve broken the migration into different manageable stages, you should develop testing procedures for each individual phases. These processes involve:

  • Migrating small amounts of data
  • Sending and receiving email
  • Application trials

The testing process is vital to make sure all aspects of the migration were successful and everything is working as expected. The more components you test before the complete migration occurs the less chance there is of an issue after the migration is complete.

IT Freedom is a Microsoft cloud solution provider, so please contact us if you’re thinking of making the move and have any questions!