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With Office 365, your company gains the many b...
7 Best Practices For Migrating To Office 365
There are other workarounds to consider. For e...
4.	 Make Use Of Available Tools
To make your m...
You also have the option to do a full migratio...
About Portal Solutions
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E-Book: 7 Keys To Mastering The Digital Workplace


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The ubiquity of mobile devices, cloud computing and social tools offers organizations a powerful arsenal of technology solutions. But the challenge is pulling them all together into a cohesive user experience that drives productivity, improves employee engagement and helps retain your best employees.

In this e-book we outline tips for getting the most out of the tools available so you can start accelerating your path to the digital workplace.

In this informative new e-book, you’ll learn about:
- Getting your business ready for enterprise social tools
- Overcoming common obstacles when implementing mobile technologies
- Improving and automating workflows
- The importance of providing a great user experience
- Curbing content sprawl with the right governance plan
- Five steps to follow to create a digital workplace

Published in: Technology
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E-Book: 7 Keys To Mastering The Digital Workplace

  2. 2. 2 7 OFFICE 365 MIGRATION BEST PRACTICES WHITE PAPER With Office 365, your company gains the many benefits of cloud computing, along with familiar Microsoft productivity tools. Before getting started with your new productivity suite, you’ll need to transfer your company’s existing content to the cloud and migrate your information to the Office 365 environment. An efficient, smooth migration is no small feat; it takes planning and time. Transferring email in bulk from your on-premises system to the Microsoft- hosted Exchange servers is relatively fast — roughly 10 gigabytes per hour. For SharePoint or file share content, however, the transfer is far slower — an average of one to two gigabytes per hour. When companies embark on an Office 365 migration without calculating how long it will take, they could be in for an unpleasant surprise. A successful migration requires clearly defined objectives and a roadmap of the actions you’ll take and how you’ll accomplish them. You also need a plan for training employees to use the new platform. That’s why it’s important to understand the impact of the Office 365 migration, the training needed and how your company plans to benefit from using this productivity suite. 7 Office 365 Migration Best Practices
  3. 3. 3 7 OFFICE 365 MIGRATION BEST PRACTICES WHITE PAPER 7 Best Practices For Migrating To Office 365 As you start developing a migration plan, seek advice from internal stakeholders as well as trusted technology experts. Here are seven best practices to get you started: 1. Clean Up Your Data Most organizations have large amounts of content and never take the time to clear out the dead wood. Moving to a cloud-based system is a good opportunity to improve performance by cleaning up your data. The migration process allows you to clean up as you go, which offers technical and functional benefits. From a functional perspective, cleaning up your content ensures that you’re migrating relevant, up-to-date content. The migration process allows you to see how much content you have and what’s duplicated. This means you’re able to leave the old content behind and only bring content that’s going to be relevant moving forward. From a technical standpoint, cleaning up data optimizes the speed, accuracy and smoothness of your Office 365 migration. Migrating a company’s data takes a while, especially when you consider all of the email, documents and historical content most organizations have stored in their on-premises systems. The more content you have, the more time it takes to migrate from your on-premises system to the cloud. Cleaning up that data makes the migration smoother and faster. For a smooth technical migration, make sure your current system doesn’t contain corrupted data or documents. It’s also important to understand the technical constraints on what you’re able to migrate. For instance, Office 365 has restrictions on the size of email attachments, so make sure to clean those up early on. When you’re dealing with lots of historical content, you may want to assess particularly large documents and items with long or improper file names. 2. Note Your Bandwidth Capabilities Proper bandwidth planning is critical to the speed and success of the migration, and organizations have many options to consider when moving from an on-premises system to Office 365. But bandwidth is also a constraint that must be considered from the start, as it impacts the strategy and the plan for the migration. When you have limited bandwidth, it slows the speed of your data migration. One option could be to bring on additional bandwidth during the migration. If your company has a fiber- optic network, you could use a bandwidth burst for a certain length of time to ensure enough bandwidth for the migration, increasing the throughput and speed.
  4. 4. 4 7 OFFICE 365 MIGRATION BEST PRACTICES WHITE PAPER There are other workarounds to consider. For example, if you’re migrating an on-premises SharePoint implementation to Office 365 and bandwidth is a limiting factor, you could initially move your content to a cloud-based system that’s geographically close to where your Office 365 is hosted. Essentially, you’re replicating (or temporarily moving) your SharePoint content to Azure, which is hosted in the same data center as Office 365. This may alleviate bandwidth problems. 3. Develop Your User Adoption Plan Developing policies and procedures for the Office 365 solution is one thing, but that vision must be communicated effectively, and include plans for training and user adoption. Extensive and ongoing communication is key to user adoption success. First, develop and refine your information governance strategy, outlining a vision for how you’re going to achieve and maintain your success. Strong communication helps you develop a consensus around how to manage the platform and then provide guidance for how to use it. The best strategy is to use the tool itself to teach users about Office 365, and it’s often good to use the tool you’re going to migrate to as a catalyst. You could use a social pilot site in SharePoint that explains what’s happening in the migration, for example, or use Lync or Online Meeting to teach people about those future capabilities. This approach also ensures that those capabilities of Office 365 are being implemented to solve organizational business needs, not just for their own sake. Training should never really stop, and ideally combines both bottom-up and top-down approaches to user adoption. A bottom-up approach gets the user excited about the new tools through training and communication that explain the platform’s benefits and what’s in it for them. A top-down approach has leaders explain the business case for the new technology and ensures that the executives support the move. It’s a good idea to train these executives early and have them lead by example, talking about the benefits that they’re seeing. Again, a combination of both approaches is ideal.
  5. 5. 5 7 OFFICE 365 MIGRATION BEST PRACTICES WHITE PAPER 4. Make Use Of Available Tools To make your migration easier, take advantage of the variety of tools and applications now available. These tend to fall within three categories: assessment, migration and monitoring tools. Assessment tools evaluate your current computing environment in terms of email, documents and SharePoint content. Using these tools gives you valuable insight into current activities, the amount of content you’re storing (and its complexity) and what resources are available. Next, you have the migration tools. Microsoft provides some migration capabilities, such as directly transferring your on-premises Exchange content to Office 365, but no automated tools for migrating Microsoft files or SharePoint content. Third-party migration tools would be a good choice for your on-premises file-based and SharePoint content, and some provide a greater degree of granularity for migrating email. Last are the monitoring tools. Every cloud platform experiences issues or downtime on occasion. When moving to Office 365, monitoring tools ensure your internal support teams and end users are aware of the platform’s uptime and availability. These monitoring tools also help your support teams understand how people are using the new Office 365 suite, both during the migration and after. For instance, it might be helpful to know how much use you’re getting from SharePoint or Yammer, how much email people have been sending or how much spam is getting through. 5. Choose The Best Migration Type For Your Organization There are two main ways to migrate your system and solutions into Office 365: a cutover migration or a stage (or phase) migration. In a cutover migration, you move everything to Office 365, then cutover to the new system. The advantages of this approach are that everyone goes live with the new system at the same time, minimizing the confusion of trying to work across the old and new platforms. This only works for small organizations and those with small amounts of content. The other option is a stage or phase migration, in which content is migrated in blocks over time. You might start with certain email users or certain SharePoint content. After transferring this data, you go live with some of the users and some of the content.
  6. 6. 6 7 OFFICE 365 MIGRATION BEST PRACTICES WHITE PAPER You also have the option to do a full migration of users and then bring in the data incrementally. The advantage of this approach is that it takes less stress, bandwidth and time than a cutover migration. Combining these approaches is often a good alternative: Stage the migration but use cutover in certain phases, getting the best of both options. When choosing the best approach, there are several factors to consider. Some are technical constraints, such as the size of your content: The more you have, the more difficult it would be to use a cutover migration. Your user adoption challenges are another factor. Think about how many users you’ll need to train and their geographic locations: Are you training a group of people in one office, or in multiple languages in offices all over the world? What are your current capabilities for training and supporting new users? Considering all of these factors helps you make a good decision about the best approach for your Office 365 migration. 6. Create A Checklist As you would with any project, start by creating a set of high-level priorities and objectives. In other words, what are you trying to accomplish with the Office 365 migration, and what’s the criteria you’ll use to determine success? Next, create the first draft of a comprehensive, step-by-step plan that gets you from your current state to the desired future state. Continue refining this plan into phases and milestones. Many organizations run into trouble when these migration plans only address the technical aspects, and leave out aspects that are critical to the project’s success, such as training, user adoption, testing and contingency planning. That’s why your plan should be comprehensive, with clearly defined phases and milestones that mark your progress and a process for addressing the inevitable issues and technical hurdles that arise.
  7. 7. 7 7 OFFICE 365 MIGRATION BEST PRACTICES WHITE PAPER About Portal Solutions Portal Solutions is a leading technology consulting firm that plans, designs and deploys effective digital workplaces that help organizations increase employee engagement and productivity and improve overall customer experience. Connecting people, data and information, Portal Solutions uses the Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint platforms to help employees share what they know and find information they need — anywhere, anytime and on any device. Founded in 2003, Portal Solutions is a privately-held company headquartered in Rockville, Md., with a regional office in Woburn, Mass. Want to learn more about how moving to a cloud-based productivity suite could help your organization cut costs and become more efficient? Visit the Portal Solutions digital workplace blog for more expertise on Office 365 migrations and implementing SharePoint Online. 7. Document Your Strategy And Decisions Content migration involves making lots of decisions, and that strategic process should be documented. For example, if you decide to clean up your content or only migrate a subset of what you have available, make sure to document the criteria used to reduce the amount of content that was migrated. This documentation should give people a clear understanding of what was moved and why, such as compliance or record retention reasons. Your documentation should focus on strategy, training and implementation decisions. Down the road, people may have questions about why you configured Office 365 in a certain way or chose one mode of authentication over another, and this documentation helps everyone understand the decisions that were made. When you’re moving to Office 365, you don’t need documentation that helps you understand the technical process for future upgrades. Since you’re moving to a platform that’s constantly updated, you’re not going to have to upgrade it down the road. A Final Word When it comes to migrating your content and systems to the cloud, you can’t overstate the importance of planning. The seven best practices outlined above are a good start, but by no means are they an exhaustive list of everything that you need to do for a successful Office 365 migration. In addition to your company’s internal expertise, it’s always a good idea to seek out help from Office 365 experts, research your options online and ask trusted sources in your business community. Having a second set of eyes to review what you’re planning is invaluable — you never know what you could be missing.