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Office 365: Operation Migration
 

Office 365: Operation Migration

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As Microsoft Practice Leads at Softchoice (one of the world’s leading managed service providers) Tim McKellips and Mack Ratcliffe have led SaaS implementation initiatives for hundreds of companies. ...

As Microsoft Practice Leads at Softchoice (one of the world’s leading managed service providers) Tim McKellips and Mack Ratcliffe have led SaaS implementation initiatives for hundreds of companies. They share six valuable lessons they've learned along the way.

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    Office 365: Operation Migration Office 365: Operation Migration Document Transcript

    • Operation Migration Six lessons learned from migrating 20,000+ Microsoft® Office 365™ mailboxes A conversation with Tim McKellips and Mack Ratcliffe of Softchoice.
    • Connect with us today 1.800.268.7638 | www.softchoice.com | @softchoice 2 Software as a Service (SaaS) has revolutionized enterprise IT, changing the way companies manage and deliver applications, as well as enhancing end-user productivity by providing new ways of consuming data and enabling collaboration across multiple devices from virtually any place, any time. With the introduction of Microsoft Office 365, many companies are taking the opportunity to address their larger SaaS strategy, which introduces new business process and technology challenges. As Microsoft Practice Leads at Softchoice (one of the world’s leading managed service providers) Tim McKellips and Mack Ratcliffe have led SaaS implementation initiatives for hundreds of companies, and have learned six valuable lessons along the way. Operation Migration | Introduction
    • Connect with us today 1.800.268.7638 | www.softchoice.com | @softchoice 3 &Tim McKellips Twitter: @Mckellip LinkedIn: Tim McKellips Tim McKellips has spent his entire 16-year IT career in the Microsoft technology and professional services arena, starting as an Exchange 5.5 and Windows NT consultant, then serving as the director of a Microsoft practice in Central and Eastern US before coming to Softchoice in 2007. Tim leads the Technical Services team at Softchoice, defining strategy and methodology for complex Professional Services solutions—with a focus as the Microsoft Practice Lead for North America. Tim relishes living the stereotype of a gadget and technology enthusiast. For fun, he and his family are slowly renovating their century old cottage in northern Wisconsin. Mack Ratcliffe Twitter: @mack_ratcliffe LinkedIn: Mack Ratcliffe As a Services Practice at Softchoice, Mack Rackcliffe is responsible for setting the technical strategy for Softchoice’s SaaS business and developing managed services for Microsoft Office 365 and Azure platforms. Over the course of his 15-year career, Mack has worked in a variety of sales and technology focused roles. He has provided application support for custom B2C and B2B ecommerce platforms, served as a Senior Systems Engineer responsible for designing and managing Microsoft and VMware infrastructure. When Mack first joined Softchoice he worked as a Senior Microsoft Solutions Architect. Mack loves travelling, surfing in Southern California and holds a Master’s of Science in Information Systems. About Tim and Mack.
    • Connect with us today 1.800.268.7638 | www.softchoice.com | @softchoice 4 Migrating from on-premise infrastructure to cloud-based infrastructure is a significant undertaking, due in part to more substantive integration of cloud and mobile technologies into companies’ key business processes and systems than ever before. Gone are the days where we could spend most of our time building in a server room and cutting planning time short. The old carpentry maxim “plan twice and cut once” has never been more important than in these complex cloud-based systems. And once we understand and meet the technical business requirements, there are other considerations. Yes, with these requirements identified, now we need to understand any necessary regulatory or compliance issues that must be considered along the way. When key systems are moved outside an organization’s firewall into a SaaS model, customers often overlook the differences and unique requirements of designing Authentication versus Authorization or Access. Providing Single Sign-On (SSO) for end users and developing a company-wide identity-management solution that accounts for both current and future SaaS or IaaS initiatives is absolutely crucial to putting a winning technology solution in place. 1 Careful planning is the key to success. Planning Must Be a Priority. Lesson 1 Tim Mack
    • Connect with us today 1.800.268.7638 | www.softchoice.com | @softchoice 5 Right. A foundational aspect of a network is making sure that only the right people have access to the right resources, and that you have the ability to audit, report, and re-certify the access permissions over time. When you only focus on Authentication (i.e. you are who you say you are) without thinking about Authorization (i.e. what you have access to), you miss the point. It’s like this: you might have a valid driver’s license, but that doesn’t mean you get to drive my car! The Authorization issue is key. And it’s important to think about this in the context of future SaaS implementations. By design, SaaS applications are very easy for users to acquire and use. All of a sudden your users’ lives are easier, but those same application’s could be causing compliance issues or exposing important company data. It’s crucial that the IT team spends time planning how to manage and extend their organization’s identity management strategy into those applications. It’s no longer just about Office 365—it needs to be about your SaaS strategy for the next three to five years. These aren’t new concepts for IT management, but they’re the details that can be overlooked if companies don’t do proper planning. It really comes down to this: we have to be more diligent as we trust the cloud more and more. For many customers Office 365 is just the first of many ‘sanctioned’ SaaS applications, so it’s a good time to establish security and governance best practices for the dozens of other cloud-based applications that are already in your environment or coming soon. In our experience, Office 365 is often the compelling event that pushes organization to establish a longer-term SaaS management strategy, as well as a great end-user experience through things like SSO. “ ” It really comes down to this: we have to be more diligent as we trust the cloud more and more. Tim Mack Tim Operation Migration | Lesson 1: Planning Must Be a Priority.
    • Connect with us today 1.800.268.7638 | www.softchoice.com | @softchoice 6 2Do No Harm. Lesson 2 Consider the impacts on existing systems and future SaaS implementations. Tim Mack To ensure a successful migration, smart companies need to first understand what the solution can and can’t do before determining its feasibility. This includes understanding the potential impacts on existing systems and business processes. So, before adopting an appropriate cloud strategy, always consider the organization’s short and long-term strategic goals around messaging, unified communications, and collaboration. When migrating from Exchange to Office 365, for example, it’s critical for companies to fully understand the intricacies of how various systems and applications interface with email beyond just employee communications. Application and system interaction with a messaging platform is often vitally important for an organization to consider in determining the most appropriate future state architecture and migration plan. And as we mentioned earlier, there may be additional requirements around authentication, identity, and security that impact existing systems, and companies may need to consider additional SaaS management infrastructure to support these new requirements. The challenge with SaaS is that it’s really fast and easy to get things up and running—but you need to understand the ramifications of what you’ve let loose in the world.
    • Connect with us today 1.800.268.7638 | www.softchoice.com | @softchoice 7 Sure, and it’s different for every company. The only consistent thing about any two Office 365 migrations is that everyone ends up on Office 365. Where they start is completely unique, like a fingerprint. Differences come into play with what type of business it is, what their current systems are, how the company interacts with customers, the business requirements around uptime, things like that. A fertilizer company and a ticket reseller use email completely differently. We’ve never had two customers that are similar enough to reuse the same exact steps, though we do use our well-tested methodologies, which are critical to success. It’s important to remember that the individual business commitment is what drives the architecture you need to build and deploy. Minutes of downtime for one kind of company would be catastrophic, and would require an entirely different architecture than might be required by a company that is less reliant on email. You need to work backwards to meet your SLA requirements. A fast food restaurant and a catering company both need kitchens, but they’re open different hours, serve different customers and have different needs entirely. What we’ve found in working with so many different customer environments is that there’s often opportunity to think creatively about schedules and budgets when you consider the entire application ecosystem. We had a customer who wanted to migrate to Office 365, but couldn’t justify the spend. We helped them look at their environment and we identified another application that would become redundant if they migrated, so they were able to free up budget dollars without losing key network functionality. Tim Tim Mack “ ” The challenge with SaaS is that it’s really fast and easy to get things up and running— but you need to understand the ramifications of what you’ve let loose in the world. Operation Migration | Lesson 2: Do No Harm.
    • Connect with us today 1.800.268.7638 | www.softchoice.com | @softchoice 8 Migrating a system of any kind introduces complexities into the entire environment. Even with careful planning, a major implementation project is usually more challenging than it might appear in the documentation and project plans. It’s impossible to test every possible scenario and real-world use case thoroughly. Here’s an example we came across recently; there’s a messaging protocol used by many different applications (MAPI), and Microsoft no longer supports server-to-server MAPI with Office 365. Companies that are migrating from earlier versions of Exchange will need to consider any application that uses email, from scheduling to ERP or whatever systems they rely on every day, and make sure they have a plan for messaging with these applications. The good thing is that Microsoft has always been open to collaboration. Office 365 works well with a wide range of third-party systems to fill in the gaps around your specific business needs. But you need to work with people who really understand both what problems you’re trying to solve and what other applications can help you get there. This is part of the solution we offer through the Softchoice Cloud. 3Nothing Exists in a Vacuum. Lesson 3 Cloud-based technologies bring some specific new challenges and opportunities. Mack Tim
    • Connect with us today 1.800.268.7638 | www.softchoice.com | @softchoice 9 Mack Tim Understanding the ecosystem of SaaS applications can be especially important to address some of the net new challenges that arise when you move from on-premise to the cloud. One issue that comes up frequently for our clients is the question of data encryption at rest. Office 365 encrypts data in transport, but doesn’t encrypt data at rest on the disk. This isn’t an issue for everyone, but for companies with this specific compliance requirement, it can be a showstopper. In this case, we’d recommend a third-party solution like CipherCloud, who we partner with, to add this functionality. With the shift to the cloud, IT management responsibilities evolve from the traditional realm of overseeing machines to managing larger business processes. This introduces significant new responsibilities in the areas which security, authentication and identity, access control, and application workflow, can be enormously challenging for teams who had previously focused mostly on server performance and uptime. We see a lot of challenges around data residency, data privacy, regulatory, and compliance issues. 4Moving from On-Premise to the Cloud Brings New Challenges. Lesson 4 Acknowledge the net new challenges that occur during cloud migration.
    • Connect with us today 1.800.268.7638 | www.softchoice.com | @softchoice 10 Here’s another example: many companies have a regulatory requirement to save a copy of every email that comes in and goes out of the organization. The traditional way to do this is with a practice called, “journaling.” This saves a copy of every message to a separate mailbox, which in some cases gets archived, sometimes not. You can’t do this in Office 365 because there’s a 50GB limit on the mailbox size. That particular mailbox would get filled up instantly. So customers who don’t want to manage this on-premise—and can’t journal into Office 365—are forced to figure out alternatives. This is one of the reasons why we’ve partnered with Mimecast. Mimecast is a leader in security and archiving—and is a solution we offer through Softchoice Cloud. Mack “ ” IT management responsibilities evolve from the traditional realm of overseeing machines to managing larger business processes. Operation Migration | Lesson 4: Moving from On-Premise to the Cloud Brings New Challenges.
    • Connect with us today 1.800.268.7638 | www.softchoice.com | @softchoice 11 5Mind the Gap. Lesson 5 The people we work with are generally very smart IT executives. They have a sophisticated understanding of both the current state and future state of their enterprise environment. What can be more challenging, however, even for the smartest folks, is understanding exactly what is needed to support the organization as it moves between these two states. This gap state can be a real challenge. Companies who can plan appropriately for this period are better positioned to encourage adoption of—and compliance with—new business and technology processes. We worked with a customer who migrated thousands of employees from Exchange to Office 365. Because of their own internal support requirements, they opted to migrate one department at a time. Although they prepared appropriately for email to function during the transition, they assumed it would be acceptable for interdepartmental scheduling to be unavailable during the brief transition as each department came on board. They found out the hard way from angry users that this was not acceptable. And for most of these kinds of situations, there are tools we can recommend for managing uptime and system availability during a migration. There are ways to get creative about this, and to make sure users feel supported. It’s all about working together to make a sustainable migration plan. Tim Mack Tim Ensure a smooth transition period between your current and future states.
    • Connect with us today 1.800.268.7638 | www.softchoice.com | @softchoice 12 6Planning for Day 2 and Beyond is the Key to Success. Lesson 6 Plan for post-launch insights, support, and success. Mack Tim We also make sure to remind clients that once the excitement of a successful launch day is past, that’s when the real work begins. Changes in business and technical processes will require additional help desk and training support for end users. There will be new usage and storage quotas to track. In addition to new ongoing licensing and user management procedures. Companies may no longer need to purchase additional servers to run on-premise software, but will continue to need investment and oversight in maximizing Internet capacity—and managing network edge devices. Another thing to keep in mind is that migration is a great opportunity for business intelligence. We encourage companies to use the data that Office 365 and other SaaS applications provide to gain actionable insights on usage and trends across their environment. This kind of thing can be a big win for IT management within the rest of the organization—by not only understanding the creation of data, but how that information is consumed as well.
    • Connect with us today 1.800.268.7638 | www.softchoice.com | @softchoice 13 Implementing Office 365 and other SaaS applications can be challenging. Mack, Tim, and the other experts at Softchoice have migrated tens of thousands of customer mailboxes to Office 365, and offer some valuable takeaways for companies considering migration: Operation Migration | Overview Careful planning is the key to success. Consider the impacts on existing systems and future SaaS implementations. Cloud-based technologies bring some specific new challenges and opportunities. Acknowledge the net new challenges that occur during cloud migration. Ensure a smooth transition period between your current and future states. Plan for post-launch insights, support, and success. Lesson 1 Lesson 4 Lesson 2 Lesson 5 Lesson 3 Lesson 6
    • Connect with us today 1.800.268.7638 | www.softchoice.com | @softchoice 14 About Softchoice. With over 40 locations across the U.S. and Canada, Softchoice is one of North America’s largest providers of IT solutions and services. The company’s holistic approach to technology includes solution design, implementation, and managed services. Through unique offerings like Softchoice Cloud, and deep expertise in Microsoft Office 365, Softchoice makes it easy for organizations to source, implement, and manage the right cloud solutions for their business. ©2014 Softchoice. All rights reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Other guides in this series: »How to choose a Microsoft Office 365™ Migration Partner : Moving to the Cloud without Risking Productivity, Collaboration or Security »The Essential Guide to Licensing Microsoft Office 365™ in the Cloud