Transition to Office 365 to boost productivity

A move to Office 365 will make your organization more productive if you include these areas in the planning stages.


A transition to Office 365 is disruptive to a business for good and bad reasons. A successful migration enhances productivity, whereas a troublesome migration causes pain for end users and potentially even leads to lost revenue for a business.

Office 365 comprises a number of integrated platforms: Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Skype for Business Online, Office Pro Plus and Yammer. You should consume all — or at least most — of these services to make the investment worthwhile, and that’s not a simple switch.

Most organizations start with Exchange Online and migrate email to the cloud first. This is often done in conjunction with a rollout of the new Office Pro Plus client. By starting the migration with this core business system moving to the cloud, the business sees an early ROI often with minimal interruption to users.

When creating your adoption plan for the transition to Office 365, be sure senior executives understand and support the overarching goal. Users also need to be in the loop. Aim for a series of workshops, all-company meetings and regular, friendly communication. If there are desk visits or a small degree of disruption, informed users will be more accommodating.

A successful migration requires a thorough understanding of the current environment. With Office 365, this process means gathering information about the number of employees at each site, where specific departments are located within the organization, network links between sites, and existing firewall and supporting proxy server infrastructure.

Identity forms the core of the relationship between the source environment and Office 365. Azure Active Directory, Office 365’s underlying identity service, will have a copy of on-premises Active Directory accounts. Carefully examine information about security requirements, such as if multi-factor authentication is needed for external access to email.

The User Principal Name (UPN), or the Windows 2000 Account Name in Active Directory, is usually copied to Office 365 and instituted as the login ID. Alternate Login ID is not typically suitable for email migrations. Therefore, you will need to update UPNs to use a valid Internet-routable domain name system suffix. The most appropriate option is usually to make the UPN match the email address.

Catalog which objects you want to sync — this decision should be made based on the organizational unit and the total sync count. Use Microsoft’s IdFix tool to identify any errors within the synching data. The tool is provided in the Office 365 portal.

Read the rest of my article, including migration planning and how to decide on the best approach, over on SearchExchange