8 Tips for a Successful Microsoft Office 365 Migration

Implementing new solutions at your organization can be rewarding yet daunting. With any major infrastructure or platform change, the process can also be a bit stressful for your IT staff and end users alike. Once you’ve done your research on the best cloud productivity suite for your business needs and have made the decision that Microsoft’s Office 365 is the your cloud suite of choice, following best practices for a successful migration can alleviate some of these concerns.  Here are a few IT considerations to keep in mind as you roll out a Microsoft Office 365 migration within your organization.

1) Minimize Concurrent Rollouts

A good rule of thumb is to minimize the number of rollouts occurring at any given time, and instead plan to roll out each major deployment separately.  For example, your Skype rollout and your mailbox cutover do not have to be performed on the same day.  Next, determine the critical path for mailbox migration.  If a deployment for something like an Office suite upgrade is not in the critical path, then you can defer the upgrade until after mail migration is complete.

2) Strategize Bandwidth Usage

A hybrid exchange deployment facilitates the pre-staging or syncing of 95% of mail data ahead of your cutover.  This syncing process could slow the network depending on the available bandwidth.  It is important to understand that if a new Outlook profile has to be created in a new workstation for users after migration, then the OST file will be recreated, using up bandwidth.  Additionally, depending on the migration method and if the OST’s do need to be recreated then mail items will be downloaded to the workstation.  If this is the case, your network might slow down depending on the number of users requiring the recreation of these OST files.

3) Prepare Your Help Desk Team

We recommend planning for a 10-15% increase in call volume the day after migration.  Your Help Desk team should be migrated early on in the schedule so that they can develop an understanding of the platform in advance and feel prepared to answer new user questions.

4) Train & Empower Users

Gaining user adoption to new technology is a key to success.  You can aid and speed user adoption through well-planned training delivered before, during, and after the technology migration.  It also helps to internally advertise the changes to end users through community messages and forums before the process begins to help users grow comfortable with the change.  If you have the resources to create and internally distribute 10-minute tips and tricks videos for each of the Office 365 products during implementation, that can also be quite effective in empowering adoption.  

5) Stagger Messaging Records Management (MRM) Retention Policy Implementation

To avoid confusion or missing mail items, we recommend that you avoid rolling out MRM retention policy on the same day of mailbox cutover.  Not doing so can lead to users worrying that mail items are missing from their inbox when these items might in fact be in the archive folder due to retention policies.

6) Conduct Pilot Testing

To ensure successful pilot testing, be sure to include representatives from various departments to get a good understanding of their collective experience in the new platform.  This group should have the time and the flexibility to work around any potential issues that might occur during the testing period, so don’t include high touch users in this pilot group.

7) Speed Up Initial Logins

Instructions for logging into Outlook from mobile phones should be published in advance.  Server and first time login information, if any, can be provided to department heads to be forwarded along to their teams.

8) Delay Executive Migration

We recommend waiting to migrate executives and high-touch users toward the end of your migration schedule.  This will allow you time to work out any kinks you may discover earlier in the process before impacting business critical operations.  It is also a wise move to make some members of your Help Desk team exclusively available to this group as they migrate and execute initial logins.

Working with a solutions partner like SADA Services can provide guidance in making the process smoother, while also aiding your change management processes. Learn more about Office 365 and SADA’s services here:


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