Migrating to Office 365 comes with several benefits. However, when migrating to the cloud, there are some common mistakes you should avoid. Your organization may already have a list of current software and legacy hardware along with multiple users and departments that need access to it and a centralized SharePoint. Collecting data from multiple platforms for an Office 365 migration won’t be a simple plug-and-play operation. Here’s some advice to overcome common struggles with Office 365 migrations:
1. Don’t leave the entire migration up to your IT team
Many organizations leave hardware and software updates for their IT department to handle. While IT should handle all the installation and technical aspects, any changes should be relayed to the workforce. The IT team should not be in charge of creating and carrying out the migration strategy. Each department should make recommendations with suggestions and requirements for methods that could be implemented during the migration. A major migration such as this affects the entire organization, and each department may have slightly different requirements, which should be included in the planning phase.
2. Understand the reason behind the migration
Before planning a migration to Office 365, make sure to have specific goals in mind. These goals will serve toward a business case for justifying the migration. Office 365 offers several tools that may not be applicable to your organization. Make sure to review everything Office 365 has to offer and how the various applications mirror your current requirements. SharePoint Server 2016 is about to be released, which may provide additional features that could add to your business case for the migration.
3. Have a strong content strategy
A migration is more than simply moving all your files to the Cloud. A migration will provide much needed opportunities to rearrange and improve your environment. Legacy files could be stored in a separate area for later use, which could open up a window to cut down on old files that are rarely used. This could streamline your overall migration and help clean up the entire environment. Each department and team can start thinking of how they can utilize Office 365 to their advantage and start using areas of SharePoint in a new way. For example, reoccurring meetings with slides that need to be updated could be saved in a library within SharePoint. Instead of sending out the slide deck or link to the slide deck every week, the slides can be updated within SharePoint quickly and easily.
4. Do a couple of complete audits
Before migrating or even planning to migrate to Office 365 it’s a good idea to perform a full audit to have a solid idea of your environment. These audits provide the opportunity to discover what libraries need to be cleaned up, what could be created that could better utilize SharePoint, and update permissions, mailbox rules, and policies. You can use the audit results to build a separate inventory of requirements heading into an Office 365 migration. This inventory can be created to remove and rebuild the environment before the migration begins.
5. Don’t mistake an Office 365 migration with a SharePoint migration
Migrating a single application (though large) such as SharePoint is one thing. However, migrating an entire environment is another. Office 365 has multiple applications, and each must be migrated individually. When migrating your mail to Office 365, you will have to migrate the mailboxes separately from your files. Calendars do not follow mailboxes, so those have to be migrated separately as well. Before migrating, make sure to build the path to migration in the inventory you created. This will make for a smoother migration instead of discovering things you’ve missed, forgotten, or didn’t think about until the point of migration.
6. Set a proper schedule for the migration
An Office 365 migration won’t happen overnight. Unforeseeable issues may arise when the time comes to the migrate. Even though you may have performed all the audits, created an inventory, and laid out a plan, there may be some issues you may not have thought of. Since every organization is different, settings, policies, permissions, etc., need to be configured correctly. Therefore, it is important to set aside times when the network must be taken down for the migration. Expect to have some bottlenecks and other network slow-down issues along the way. If possible, plan to perform the migration during downtime.
7. Train your workforce
One of the most important things to remember about planning a migration to Office 365 is to deploy proper training. Set up multiple meetings and training schedules to explain the changes that will occur during and after migration. There are a lot of differences between previous SharePoint versions and Office 365. The interfaces are slightly different, so it is important to train your users on the differences and how they can access their files. To get the most ROI on the migration, train department heads to show them how they can get the most functionality of the new features and tools they’ll be able to put to use.