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How to set up Microsoft Office 365 – Hints and tips for a successful migration

Posted August 22, 2017
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When migrating to the platform, it’s important to plan carefully because poor migration decisions often can’t be reversed. Check our helpful hints to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

By Chad Gowrea, Director - Solutions and Strategy

Office 365 is Microsoft’s industry-leading cloud-based collaboration and productivity tool. When migrating to the platform, it’s important to plan carefully, because poor migration decisions often can’t be reversed. We see these mistakes all the time, so we thought we would put together a few helpful hints and tips that we recommended you keep in mind to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

1. Conduct preliminary research

Traditional Microsoft Office applications operate differently under the cloud-based system as there are new features, interfaces and functionality. You should carefully research Office 365 in advance to understand how the platform works and know what to expect during and after your migration. The experts at Bremmar can help you evaluate how your daily business operations might need to adapt following the transition.

2. Make a detailed checklist

We’ve noticed many organisations are so focused on the technical aspects of their migration that they forget to create a detailed checklist that covers other essential elements, such as educating users and gathering feedback. Begin by drafting a plan that identifies the main stages of the migration, and refine the plan until you’ve covered all relevant details. These factors should be at the top of the list:

  1. Expected downtime during migration
  2. User adoption
  3. User training

3. Gather important information

Clearly, document all the information you’ll need for the migration. Some vital details include the names and contact details of users to be migrated, which applications you’re going to use, the domain name for your business, and where your domain is registered. The Microsoft Office Help & Training website can provide you with a detailed list of all technical information you need to gather and also offers a Migration Wizard to help you through the process. The website, is a helpful tool in understanding the process and what to prepare, however, we highly recommend assistance from an IT service provider to minimise downtime or quickly fix any unexpected issues saving your business time and money.

4. Verify your system requirements

Outdated devices, operating systems, browsers, or poor Internet access may cause unexpected delays or problems with the migration. Office 365 works best with the latest hardware and software, as well as a fast Internet connection. Checking your system requirements beforehand will save you a lot of trouble later. The easiest and more accurate way is to have your IT service provider doing all the checks for you or, again, digging into the Microsoft Office Help & Training website.

5. Plan your data storage

Office 365 offers cloud storage for your business, allowing you to upload your files to OneDrive. You can move files with a maximum file size of 15GB and can store up to 30 million items in a OneDrive library. However, you can get OneDrive client sync issues after 100,000 items, so we recommend to keep under 100,000. File names can only be 400 characters long, and no invalid characters and names will be accepted.

If you have a large number of files to upload, consider using a migration tool or engaging a specialist like Bremmar to assist.

6. Select a migration approach

Office 365 supports three types of migration plans. The first is a cutover migration, where all mailboxes and users are cut over at once. The second is a staged migration, where users and mailboxes are migrated in batches.

The final approach (and the one recommended by Bremmar) is a hybrid migration, which allows you to run Office 365 and local Exchange servers simultaneously. We don’t want to get too technical here and the right type of migration for your business will depend on your IT environment and requirements. Not sure which approach to take? We can help with expert advice and assistance.

7. Verify email settings

If you are migrating to Office 365 without any assistance from technical consultants, make sure you configure your email properly. Email systems use a DNS record called an MX record to figure out where to deliver emails. To ensure a seamless cutover, point your organisation’s MX record to Office 365 so new messages are sent directly to Office 365 mailboxes. You’ll need to sync accounts between Office 365 and your active directory domain using the Azure Active Directory Synchronization tool. If you configure your email sync incorrectly it could result in your mail being flagged as spam by the recipient.

8. Perform comprehensive testing

It’s essential to fully test your new platform to ensure everything functions as expected. Useful tests include migrating a subset of data, checking various applications, and sending and receiving emails. The more testing you conduct, the less chance you’ll run into problems after the transition.

Office 365 guide what you need to know!

For more hints, tips and guidance on planning your Office 365 migration, call Bremmar today on 1300-991-351 or email help@bremmar.com.au.

By Chad Gowrea, Director - Solutions and Strategy

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