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4 Reasons Office 365 Migrations Are Difficult

If your company hasn’t already migrated from an on-premise platform to cloud-based Office 365, you might be wondering if it’s something you should consider in 2020. Or it may already be in the budget for the coming year. If that’s the case, you’re certainly in good company; as of April 2019, more than 500,000 companies in the U.S. alone had already migrated to Office 365. In fact, the 2019 Office Migration survey by TechValidate and Zscaler found that 70% of all Fortune 500 companies now use Office 365.

That’s a hearty endorsement, but what does it mean for your small business? Migrating to Office 365 is often done to provide a more productive, collaborative work environment, and it also can make your company more competitive by improving both speed and efficiency. It also reduces the complexity of your IT environment and decreases the costs needed to maintain and upgrade applications. But for all its benefits, you also need to understand its challenges.

As you consider migrating to Office 365, you’ll want to understand the scope of the migration, what it involves, how much time it will take and what it will cost. It’s essential to have a complete plan built out well in advance, complete with estimates of what will be accomplished each week and month. Migrations can take two to three months for a small or mid-size organization, and can take several months for a larger enterprise. Without a good Office 365 migration plan, you might find it taking longer and costing more than you originally planned.

Challenges to an Office 365 Migration

One of the first rules of migrating to Office 365 is the same as the first rule of horror movies: Don’t go in there alone. Having a knowledgeable expert who can plan and execute your migration is critical to its success. Whether you’re doing this migration in-house or have help from an outside vendor, you need to determine the type of migration you’re going to do, decide what existing data will be kept and what can be destroyed and, finally, prioritize every bit of information for migration.

Sometimes, despite careful planning, the migration doesn’t go as quickly or smoothly as planned. There are some common culprits that repeatedly surface as obstacles to a seamless migration. When problems arise, often it is the result of one of these four problems:

No. 1: Lack of Experience with Hybrid Environments

If you’re migrating all of your information and employees to the cloud, the process will be pretty straightforward and should run smoothly. However, if you want to create a hybrid environment and retain some of your assets on-premise while moving other aspects of it to Office 365, you could run into some challenges.

This scenario would make sense for you if you have several workers who are located remotely, such as sales associates, who will benefit from having the kind of instant access to information afforded by the cloud. But, at the same time, you may have a staff of employees who work in-house at a desk and can easily share information among themselves. Your migration must take both of these environments into account and create a hybrid environment that ensures all workers’ needs are met. Having an expert leading your migration who understands the unique challenges of a hybrid environment can save mistakes and hiccups that will cost you time and, potentially, money down the road.

No. 2: Overcoming Low Bandwidth

As with everything else online, the amount of time it takes to get from Point A to Point B depends on your bandwidth. It’s not uncommon for smaller organizations to have limited bandwidth, which can result in a longer migration process.

Microsoft recommends that before migrating to Office 365, you estimate the bandwidth you will need and then run tests to verify that you have an adequate amount for deployment. If you have a slow network, it will be important to understand and implement best practices for using Office 365 in such an environment.

Having the appropriate amount of bandwidth will be instrumental not only during the migration, but for ongoing usage as well. According to the 2019 Office Migration survey, about 63% of companies say their Office 365 collaboration and productivity are lessened by network performance problems. Make sure you have the proper bandwidth to take full advantage of what Office 365 has to offer.

No. 3: Moving Large Amounts of Data

Similar to the problem of limited bandwidth, the need to move large amounts of data can slow down the migration process. Knowing how to work around this will help expedite the process. For example, Office 365 has migration tools that can help you migrate from a variety of configurations in a way that works best for you.

No. 4: Understanding Retention Policies in Office 365

As you migrate from an on-premise environment to the cloud-based Office 365, you have to make sure that you have the proper retention policies in place and are meeting your organization’s governance requirements.

Being able to manage your information in a way that complies with all of your industry regulations and internal policies must be top of mind, and it also will reduce the risk of a security breach or lawsuit caused by lost or leaked data.

Before beginning a migration, it’s important to understand the Retention and Unified Retention labels in Office 365’s Security and Compliance portal. If you don’t take time to understand and implement them before starting your migration, you could find yourself falling out of compliance but not realizing until it is too late.

Taking the Pain Out of Office 365 Migrations

There are many ways to ensure that your Office 365 migration runs smoothly and on schedule. It’s a complex, multiphase process that takes careful planning to make sure that it’s executed properly — and it isn’t something that can be left to chance.

Learn more about how Aventis Systems can help you avoid some of the common challenges seen during an Office 365 migration and keep your company’s migration running on time and on budget.

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