The Basics of Office 365 Migration

Basics of Office 365 Migration

The Basics of Office 365 Migration

By Adam Levithan | March 03, 2017

So your organization has decided to migrate to Office 365 and you’ve been tasked with not only moving content, but with making the most of your organization’s investment. Moving across collaboration platforms is nothing new, but an Office 365 migration brings additional pressures and challenges that do differ from conventional migration activities.

Whether this is your first or latest migration to a new content collaboration platform, Metalogix approaches Office 365 Migration with four basic steps to make migrating your content to Office 365 as smooth as possible while ensuring value in your organization’s investment. In addition to the following four steps, we (and 1000s of your peers) recommend using an automated Office 365 migration tool to make the move much faster and easier than trying to migrate using scripting or other manual methods.

Plan Your Office 365 Migration

Let’s start with the most important step of your migration journey. Planning will undoubtedly take the most amount of work and time to complete. The good news is that any gains made in this phase only multiply that success later on. Sadly, that same arithmetic can also be applied to any issues you don’t resolve, so don’t rush here.

So where do you start? Determining your organization’s expectations early on is an easy way to set goal posts in the journey. Here are some questions that will help you determine the right migration strategy:

  • Will you move all your content to Office 365’s content repositories?
  • What is your current content collaboration platform?
  • Will you be migrating files to Office 365 that weren’t in SharePoint?
  • Will you migrate content to Office 365 from Dropbox, Box, Google Drives or other cloud storage services?
  • Is there content that is no longer needed?
  • Are there groups or apps that are no longer needed, deprecated or simply dated?

By answering these types of questions early in the process, your migration team will decrease their work in the long run with less surprises and less risk. While you can usually answer these questions on your own, this is where an Office 365 migration tool can help take your planning to the next level. Such tools provide a comprehensive overview of your current environment, its challenges, potential roadblocks, and can aid with creating better information architectures based on actual user usage. They can also reduce the time required for completing that analysis.

Move to Office 365

Powered by your answers from the planning phase, you will know if you’re going to keep the same site structure you currently have, or change sites, add metadata and transform your environment to take advantage of Office 365 features. Next, you have the decision of how to roll out Office 365 to your users and how to technically migrate your content. Looking at the human side first, you can either plan to have a one-time cutover of all content for your entire migration, or work your way through department by department. Technology wise, you can decide to move manually, decide to have individual departments move content into their sections simultaneously, or have a centralized team perform all of the Office 365 migration jobs.

It’s no secret that using an Office 365 migration tool allows you to more easily respond to changes within your organization by changing where content is stored, or by taking advantage of adding tags and metadata to content for it to be more usable.

Report on Your Office 365 Migration

The reporting phase is where your team sets up the guidelines for how users can and should behave within your Office 365 environment. Whether those settings are a group level (say, marketing or finance) or an individual (CEO versus consultant), you need to develop reporting rules that will meet your organizational expectations on daily basis as well as the potential for external audits. Having an Office 365 reporting tool can simplify the process of reporting on what users are doing for your internal reports as well as offer data for when audits are requested.

Manage Your Office 365 Environment

Since no content collaboration environment runs without users, the manage phase of any Office 365 migration is crucial to ensuring that people are collaborating and increasing their productivity. Despite being in the cloud, your team still needs to perform day to day Office 365 management. Setting up a repeatable onboarding process ensures that all users receive the same basic level of access.

Yet, your team might also have additional onboarding processes that they set up for ensuring that new team members have the right access to the any Office 365 Groups that their respective teams might be actively using. This is also where reporting can help teams identify the most active users and what they’re doing and help you develop teaching sessions to better educate users on using Office 365 effectively.

Essentials for Office 365

Office 365 gives teams the power to create, control and secure their content. Migration teams that follow our four basic steps for their Office 365 migration not only simplify their projects, but significantly increase their migration success.  

While there are several point solutions in the marketplace to help organizations move, manage, secure and report on their Office 365 environment, Essentials for Office 365 is a purpose-built solution that assists teams with planning, migrating, reporting and managing their Office 365 environment within a single interface with a single license. Take Essentials for a spin with a free 15-day trial to learn how it will help you better control your Office 365 environment.


Adam Levithan

Adam is a Director of Product Management at Metalogix and a Microsoft MVP advocating for collaboration by connecting business needs with the right technology. Prior to Metalogix, Adam was a Practice Lead for Office 365 in a cutting edge Microsoft Consulting firm where he was responsible for moving customers to the cloud, designing and implementing information architecture (SharePoint Farm and content) and increasing user adoption. Adam is an ongoing member of the SharePoint Saturday DC coordinating committee and active speaker at various events.

Written By: Adam Levithan

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