Home > Articles, Blogs, Techie Tips > Step-by-Step Office 365 Planning

Step-by-Step Office 365 Planning

Whether you’re moving to a new home, a new office or just cleaning your desk, the same question seems to come up time after time: Do I still need this?

It’s not much different when you are changing your IT architecture. As companies migrate to the cloud, knowing what content and data they need to keep and what can go becomes an important decision. You don’t want to get rid of something you’re going to need, but you also don’t want to move content that you no longer require.

With so much content in today’s business world, deciding what should stay and what should go can be tricky indeed. If you are migrating your content to Office 365, it’s particularly important that you take time to plan what needs to be done and what content is going to be migrated.

Making sure you’re fully ready to make the migration and that you are able to make it as simple and seamless as possible is crucial to a smooth transition, so here’s a step-by-step guide to help streamline the process and avoid costly missteps.

Step 1: Make Your Plan

Knowing what you’re in for will inform what you need to do. Whether you are making this move with help from an outside vendor or are doing it in-house, you’ll need to fully identify the scope of the project, decide what content is being migrated to Office 365 and what will remain on-premise — and understand what content and data might not migrate well.

It’s also important to decide, as part of your plan, what type of migration is right for you. It could be a hybrid migration, which combines cloud and on-premise options; a cutover migration, which copies all of the users’ data into Office 365; or a staged migration, which combines some of the coexistence options of a cloud migration with existing on-premise solutions, but stops short of being a true hybrid.

One option for completing the migration is to do a third-party migration, in which a service provider such as Aventis Systems uses customized tools to complete the migration to Office 365.

Step 2: Clean House

You’ll want to review your existing data and eliminate any outdated data or accounts that don’t need to be moved. This is also the time to look at how workflows and processes will be affected and to review the compliance settings that will be used with Office 365.

You’ll also want to look at your storage options. Once you have migrated to Office 365, you’ll probably be using SharePoint and/or OneDrive for Business, but you want to understand what these options mean and know how to best organize and store that information in its new location. Think of it like moving to a new house; it’s a lot easier to unpack and stay organized if you sorted your items and placed them in the right boxes as you were preparing to move.

Step 3: Analyze Your Information

You’ve determined which data and content is migrating; now you’ll want to prioritize it for migration. Some content will require few to no changes before migrating, and that can be prioritized to migrate as is. Other content will need to be customized in order to improve its functional quality and enhance its ease of adoption after migration, so it should be reviewed with stakeholders to understand what needs to be done.

During this phase, you’ll restructure folders, consolidate or reorganize data and make any necessary changes to security.

Certain content, such as that with higher technical complexity and functional quality, will need to be rewritten to satisfy Office 365 guidelines and to meet end-user requirements. Rewriting it on PowerApps and Flow can help pave the way to an easier transition to Office 365 and make for a better experience for end users.

The other option you’ll have is to retire the information. If content is rarely used, or if it is of little importance or relevance, it makes more sense to retire the information than to migrate it. It’s up to you to decide whether that information is important enough to archive or if you can part with it permanently.

Step 4: Create a Communication Plan

Letting all users know what to expect before, during and after the migration is also beneficial to the overall success of the migration. It helps avoid confusion and cuts down on certain questions being asked repeatedly by different individuals and departments. Anticipating the concerns and questions that users will have and addressing them beforehand will help make all parties feel more relaxed and comfortable throughout the process.

Your plan should include the scheduled date of the migration, as well as details on who to contact if they have additional questions or if problems and concerns arise.

Step 5: Begin Migration

Migration is neither a simple process nor a single step, so it should include detailed steps that will allow you to validate the security and integrity of your data. You will have to use data mapping from the source to the target to ensure that the access is configured properly and that you’ll be able to locate it post-migration.

Conducting a trial migration will ensure tool compatibility and is also necessary for testing migration speed. The tools will provide security and access validation that make sure existing and requested access levels are migrated.

Once the migration is complete, you’ll want to be able to provide end users with support and training. End users will want to make sure that they have the same access. (For applications that have been rewritten, they may need further instruction.) Providing training and having a support team throughout this transition period is instrumental to a satisfying end-user experience and ensures better adoption overall.

A well-planned migration is as important as having content properly optimized for the process. Finding the right partner to help you migrate your content to Office 365 can expedite the process and make sure it runs more smoothly for everyone.

If you are considering migrating your SMB to Office 365, Aventis Systems can help. Visit us online at aventissystems.com or contact us at 1-855-AVENTIS to discuss the how we can help your business successfully migrate to Office 365.