If your business hasn’t migrated to Microsoft 365 yet then you’re missing out. The cloud-based platform has significant benefits for business, from always making sure you’re working on the latest versions of applications like Word and Excel, to offering additional tools like Skype for Business and OneDrive. Plus, it’s accessible anywhere, anytime, on any device.
However, we understand the hesitancy for those businesses waiting until the kinks have been ironed out. There have been numerous obstacles to face and overcome for those migrating to Office 365 (or even moving to a hybrid model), and they’ve provided a headache or two for early adopters.
Thankfully, these issues can all be avoided (or at least mitigated) with a little preparation ahead of time. So, if you’re thinking about migrating, here are the most common difficulties you’ll come across—and how to make sure they won’t affect you.
Difficulty exporting and importing legacy data
Legacy data has proven to be a big thorn in the side of Office 365 migrations. Finding a way to export it is a tough ask, as most on-premises archive solutions don’t work with Office 365—the stubs break (and users can no longer access the emails) once the mailbox has been moved to the cloud.
Yes, there are ways around this, but you’ll be facing ridiculously time-consuming export speeds, not to mention issues around rehydration of the data.
And that’s all before you even consider the difficulties of uploading this data into Office 365, the biggest of which is that there are limits of 400GB a day with Exchange Web Services (if your broadband or fibre speeds don’t slow you down first). Meaning you could be there for a very long time if you have a lot of legacy data to be ingested.
This is certainly an issue that needs a lot of thought beforehand, to scope out the viable approaches for your particular set-up. Don’t be afraid to speak to a third-party provider with Office 365 migration experience who can advise on the best course of action to take, as you want to ensure the fastest migration with the least disruption to your business.
A lack of knowledge around hybrid migration prerequisites
Depending on your needs, you might have decided that a hybrid solution is best. This means combining an existing on-premises Exchange with Office 365 accounts. Sounds easy, right?
Well, yes. Except when you realise that you might not be able to connect the two without the proper prerequisites in place.
A hybrid Office 365 migration can be configured with Exchange versions 2007 – 2013. But for the 2007 and 2010 versions, the Hybrid Configuration wizard needs at least one Exchange 2013 Client Access and Mailbox server.
You can work around this by running the two roles on the same server, but if your business doesn’t have the 2013 version in place, you’ll have to update the environment before the migration can take place. If in doubt, again a third-party provider can help you put in place the right prerequisites.
Not getting the support plan you need for going hybrid
This is mainly for the smaller businesses, especially those thinking about going the hybrid route. The Office 365 support plans are all different, and, crucially, the Home and Small Business versions don’t offer Azure Active Directory synchronisation. Which means they don’t support hybrid migrations.
So, if that’s the route you’re going, make sure you pick a plan that supports Azure AD sync—which means choosing either Enterprise, Academic, Midsize or Government.
The cost of add-ons
We’ve created a culture of tailored software packages, where you get a basic platform for your money and then you have to pay out more for all those extras that you want or need. Office 365 is no different. There is so much on offer here, and yet certain features will undoubtedly cost you additional money you might not have factored into the budget.
It’s essential to check what your plan offers upfront. Do your homework on the purchase services option through the Office 365 dashboard to identify if there are any services that your business will need—and then work these figures into the cost so there are no unpleasant surprises later on.
Finding a partner to help with Office 365 migration
These are some of the common issues that crop up with Office 365 migration, but even though we’ve offered some tips—and there are plenty of bloggers giving advice out there—there are still many other technical issues that you and your team will face.
Finding a third-party IT provider to partner up with can ensure a hassle-free migration that keeps the business running while providing you with the optimum Office 365 solution.
All experienced providers should be able to offer you:
- Full or part project management, depending on your budget
- Business continuity during the migration process
- Help with finding a plan tailored specifically for your business
- Post-migration support for any issues that arise in the weeks and months that follow
- Extensive training for your IT team and Office 365 users
Want to know more about how to ensure a smooth, hassle-free Office 365 migration? Get in touch today and we’ll be happy to help.