Organizations can tell horror stories about failed cloud migrations. In worst case scenarios, users come to the office on Monday morning, only to find email inaccessible. Unexpected complications can result in delays or lost data. However, with careful planning, migrations can run smoothly. These Microsoft 365 migration tips will set you on the right path.

Start with Robust Discovery

The first stage of a successful migration involves a thorough discovery process. Begin by locating and cataloging data, from mailboxes to documents. For GroupWise migrations, this will also include personal archives. Understanding the amount and types of data to be migrated will prove critical.

In the process of data discovery, make note of any unusual situations that may require special handling. This could include individual users with large inboxes, documents with numerous versions or particularly sensitive data.

Discovery involves more than data, however. You will also need to note access controls, business processes, the number of users, distribution groups and so forth. Make sure to account for all applications and devices that will be affected by the migration process.

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Reduce ROT Before Microsoft 365 Migration

Like any moving process, migration offers an opportunity to remove junk, rather than simply moving it to the new location. Look for redundant, obsolete and trivial (ROT) data in the old system. Determine what data you can safely delete and what data needs to move to an archive. Moving only relevant data to the new system will save time, money, and headaches.

Address Regulatory Compliance

When analyzing the data and how to move it, keep in mind any regulatory concerns. For example, regulations may require the organization to retain certain types of data for five to seven years. Properly classifying data will help ensure regulatory compliance and allow for automation moving forward.

Additionally, make sure to only move data to the cloud that can safely live in the cloud. Microsoft 365 makes external sharing significantly easier for users. Consequently, before migrating sensitive data to Microsoft 365, be sure to implement sufficient controls to protect data from improper access.

Focus on Communication

Migrating to Microsoft 365 involves significant changes for end users. While a smooth migration process will minimize interruptions to daily work, users will likely experience times when certain services or data prove temporarily unavailable. In addition, they will encounter both opportunities and challenges with the new system.

When users know what to expect during the migration process, they will adopt the system more readily. Because employees communicate in different ways, use multiple approaches. For instance, send regular update emails to let employees know how the migration is progressing. At the same time, conduct mini town hall meetings to gather feedback about processes.

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Finish the Job: Critical Post-Migration Tasks

The migration process does not end with data transfer. Technical post-migration tasks will include some cleanup behind the scenes. Additionally, IT personnel will need to tweak settings to ensure a smoothly running and secure system. Consultants with extensive Microsoft experience can assist organizations with system configuration to achieve optimum performance.

Another critical post-migration task involves presenting ongoing end-user training. Effective training engages the user with interactive examples and role-specific instruction. It also combines repeated formal training with visual reminders throughout the workday.

Careful Planning Makes the Difference for Smooth Microsoft 365 Migration

With proper planning and effective, frequent communication, your Microsoft 365 migration can run smoothly. Spend the time up front to conduct a thorough discovery process, eliminate ROT and account for any regulatory concerns. Then be sure to train users effectively to ensure your organization gets full value from the new system.

By enlisting the help of Microsoft 365 migration professionals, you can ensure a successful migration. The consultants at Messaging Architects have completed hundreds of Microsoft 365 migrations. With deep experience in Microsoft systems and an understanding of the challenges inherent in the migration process, we bring the expertise you need.

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