When organizations are contemplating an Office 365 migration, there are many questions that must be answered. Is Office 365 right for my organization? What will it cost to migrate to Office 365? How long will it take to complete the migration?
There is no easy answer to the question of how long it takes to migrate to Microsoft’s Office 365, because organizations face a number of variables that could dictate time frames, including:
- The size of the organization
- The amount of data/emails that needs to be migrated
- The type of infrastructure
- The platform that the migration is coming from
- Security requirements and concerns
- Regulatory compliance needs
Problems that can add to the time frame
Unlike a fresh implementation, when you migrate to Office 365 from Exchange or even another email platform, you are dealing with issues that have compounded over the life of the product. For example, if your existing environment has corrupted emails and data, your migration is going to have problems. Another common issue that can add time to your migration is stability issues in the current mail system. Either issue will require you to either fix the problems before the migration or account for them and repair any issues once everything is in Office 365. Either option will add time to the process. How much time depends on the severity of these issues.
Another problem that can cause your migration project to drag on comes from misconfigurations in the infrastructure, particularly in your security technologies and solutions. When things are misconfigured, they can corrupt Exchange Web Services, causing you to spend time on these issues in order to get your mail services working.
Getting the right people on the job
Of course, the number-one variable that will influence the amount of time it takes to migrate to Office 365 is the team responsible for making everything happen. This type of project is not an easy one, and it helps to have a skilled and experienced team overseeing the migration. Consider the fact that a successful migration to Office 365 involves knowledge of the following:
- Strategic planning (licensing, bandwidth, etc.)
- Federation with the cloud
- SSO (Active Directory Federation Services)
- GAL synchronization to the cloud (ILM)
- Secured mail transport
Not only does your team need to understand how to perform these tasks, but it helps to have experienced professionals on the team who have done this before. As with any technology project, the unexpected can happen and often does. People who have had to migrate to Office 365 in the past know the pitfalls and can help you navigate through any issues that you may encounter. This alone will help reduce the time it takes to migrate to Office 365, because time will not be wasted while people look for a solution, your team has a better chance of avoiding problems, and when problems do arise, your team will know the solution.
The cloud is often sold as the quick and easy way to manage data and services. While there are several benefits to moving your email services to Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud offering, it is a major project and can take more time than necessary if things aren’t done right. For most businesses, any email downtime is unacceptable. Make sure when you migrate to Office 365, you don’t bring down your mail services. Put the reins in the hands of experienced professionals to help you ensure your migration is a success.