Migrating would be a no-brainer if faster cost-effective technology and upgrades didn’t have painful side-effects. Planning, employee anxiety and fear-of-the-new usually make the IT manger’s job much more difficult.
Let’s face it, which IT manager hasn’t been tempted to pull out the popcorn as soon as whispers of email migration start spreading across the company. You know you’re gonna be sitting there listening to hours of nail-biting concerns and endless reasons why it’s important you don’t lose ANY emails!
Email is probably the trickiest to migrate. It is certainly the most stress-inducing process across any company. Everyone suddenly feels like they’re going to be disconnected from the outside world or lose a big prospect if just one email is missed in transition. Of course this could be true for some businesses but for most it’s simply not the case. So how can you reassure everyone that the migration will be seamless?
Outsource your Microsoft 365 migration to a bigger team
If you (and your boss) know that your team is going to be very stretched during migration to Microsoft 365, you may want to reassure everyone by lining up additional resources supplied by your licence supplier. You can buy the licences and additional migration support at one go.
Migrate all your emails at once to Microsoft 365
Unless you manage thousands of email accounts, this should be doable. Of course the more emails you have to migrate, the more time it will require. Be careful however although on the service this might look as the best and fastest option, even a small company can find itself in position where it cannot cope. Sometimes the size of mailboxes can pose a significant challenge and take longer than expected. It helps to have additional resources available and also to set expectations properly internally. The timing has to be worked out too. Make sure that you choose a migration date that give you a bit of contingency time should anything go wrong. Ideally do it when the company is closed and if not possible choose quieter times of day. You may opt for IMAP migration however this might be safer for email but will not synchronise your calendars, contacts lists etc. so make choices depending on how intensive and critical the use of these elements has been in the past.
Hybrid Migration. 365 and Microsoft Exchange Server
This option allows you to run Microsoft 365 alongside on-server emails. If you’re using an on-site exchange server you could opt to temporarily run both and migrate in chunks. It will result in an easier migration from a timing perspective, however it results in a much more complex set-up and requires efficient management. It does however allow you more time to check and test everything making a company-wide disaster scenario less likely.
No matter which migration type you opt for make sure that you create documentation to assure you that the whole company is on board. People provide the stress but also the solution in such situations. Make sure your migration plan is clear to all.