Important Factors to Consider During an Office 365 Implementation Planning Phase

Office 365 Implementation Meeting

Ultimately, one of the biggest decisions a company can go through is based around what platform they use for all their business functions and what best fits their needs. Microsoft Office 365 is one of the best suites of services out on the market right now. However, when thinking about switching, there are some factors that every business should think about and plan ahead of time. 

Make Sure to Inform Your Entire Team  

If you’re migrating from an existing business environment, notify all your users and anyone involved in the process of the potential migration to Office 365. If you’re just starting fresh, ensure the whole team understands what is going to happen.

 You can do this in the form of a kickoff meeting with important personnel that can relay the information back to their team or with your whole team, depending on your organizational size. The kickoff meeting is also a good opportunity to take into consideration their needs and wish list for the new business environment.

Know Your Current IT Infrastructure  

Review your current IT environment to understand exactly what solutions have been implemented by your company previously. Check if your on-premise environment meets the requirements for an Office 365 setup.  

Some areas you may want to consider checking are:  

  • Servers and components  
  • Network Architecture and DNS  
  • Authentication 
  • Mail Routing  
  • Hardware and Software 

Microsoft provides tools, such as the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit, that can perform readiness checks for you to show you what requirements you have met and what issues could arise during deployment. 

Develop an Implementation Agenda 

With any implementations, you will need to develop an agenda with current solution shortcomings, defined goals, potential timeline, necessary resources, etc. You should also contemplate  whether you want to perform the migration all at once or transition your current business environment in parts.  

Decide on a Mailbox Migration Strategy  

Audit your current mailbox system and evaluate if you need to purchase any third-party migration toolsets. To do so, you should identify the size of mailboxes and the number of items you’ll need within them to help gain a better scope of how much space and network bandwidth you will need to perform the migration to Office 365.  

Define Your Email Coexistence Strategy  

Email coexistence allows a connection to be established between on-premises environment and Exchange Online. It is one of the main selling features for Office 365 for many of its customers. However, to utilize email coexistence, you must have an Exchange server environment set up. For companies that do decide to migrate in segments, this would be ideal.  

Identify Any Other Business-Related Content that must be Migrated

Identify any other content that you would like to migrate to Office 365 including files, folders, office templates, etc. It is important to note that upgrading office clients could lead to file format changes and may encounter issues when trying to launch built-in macros.  

Learn About the Options Available for User Identity and Account Provisioning  

There are a wide variety of options available to add employees to the service and manage user accounts. Two common options offered by Microsoft are the Office 365 Admin Portal or Azure Portal. For more information on how to add and manage users on the Office 365 Admin Portal, check out this article.  

Test Your Network Bandwidth and Choose Mobile Platforms  

You will want to know your network bandwidth as it is crucial to determine your migration velocity. Additionally, you should plan for any changes that are required for mobile platforms used by your company as well. The Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync allows employees to sync their devices with their Exchange Online mailboxes. 

Communication Strategy  

As mentioned briefly previously, communication is perhaps one of the most important steps, which is informing your end-users about the changes. You will want to schedule notifications to inform your users about when they need to start working with Office 365. Some companies schedule trainings to provide employees with clear instructions on how to switch them over to the new cloud environment.  

There are several factors to consider during the planning phase of your Office 365 implementation. However, KTL Solutions has a team of experts that can assist you in your Office 365 migration journey. Whether it’s auditing your current IT infrastructure, developing an implementation agenda, creating a mailbox migration strategy, identifying necessary business content, or more, we have a team of experienced consultants ready to advise you.