First and foremost, Office 365 is considered a ‘Cloud’ technology. So what is ‘Cloud’ anyway?
When you hear about ‘Cloud’ based technologies today; it is most often referring to highly available, geographically redundant server farms. These run your applications, whether it’s an accounting system or your email.
Cloud infrastructure may be more cost effective and reliable because you may not have the expertise and resources to purchase, license and maintain a highly available infrastructure in your building. That being said – there are many things to consider before moving your services to the cloud. Today we’ll focus on Office 365 considerations.
There are many questions regarding licensing that may impact your Office 365 migration. Let’s take a look at some below.
OEM licensing: Have you purchased a copy of Microsoft office with every machine you currently have? OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) is a great way to save money on a one-time purchase of Office, however there is no upgrade path here (for example you get a full copy of Office with the purchase of a new computer for $89).
You have to purchase a newer version of office or a new computer with Office if your user is to upgrade. This may not be a big deal – your users may not have to have the latest and greatest version of office. However, if they create public-facing documents, you may want to be up to date to ensure you can create and open the latest version(s).
All that being said – you don’t necessarily want every user to have the newest version of office. Many legacy applications have Macros and Add-ins for specific versions of Excel and Outlook. You may have to endure with your older Office applications just to ensure you’re backwards compatible. To get the most out of Office 365 – you will want your user(s) to have at least Outlook 2010 or greater.
Another consideration is this – not all Office 365 offerings come with Office desktop software, just Office 365 Premium and Enterprise E3 and above; so be sure to include that into your migration costs.
You may have purchased your last Office licenses with ‘Software Assurance’. This means that you’ve already paid for the privilege to upgrade your office suite (until your software assurance agreement runs out, that is). If this is the case, it may be better to stick with Office 365 Business Essentials or Enterprise E1; so you’re not paying for your installation of Office twice. Be sure to talk to your software vendor and licensing experts before moving forward.
Buying the retail version of Office is the most expensive option. I would be sure that I haven’t spent a great deal of money on retail Office versions before jumping to Office 365 with a package that includes Office for the desktop. You may not need it yet.
Server Licensing (CALs):
Have you recently spent a great deal of money on Exchange server licenses or client access licenses? If your environment is stable; has good up-time and it is redundant and backed up you may choose to delay your Office 365 migration. If your end goal is a stable email environment, it may be hard to justify the expense of migration when you already have a great deal invested into onsite infrastructure. Just be sure you know what your up-time statistics are and you have a full backup and disaster recovery solution in place.
The migration to Office 365 may not be very simple. Migrating may take a considerable amount of planning and execution; as well as post-cutover support. Migration will not be included in the monthly cost of Office 365.
Migration considerations for the user:
- All mailbox content
- Autocomplete entries (i.e., when you start to type an email it will auto-complete).
- Connected archives (you may also need to consider corporate compliance if you are a public company).
- Plug-ins and settings
- Access to multiple mailboxes and permissions
- Shared calendars and access permissions
- Aliases (multiple email addresses on one account).
- Re-connecting mobile devices to the new Office 365 environment
This is part of the migration that you may not hear about. You may have users separated over long distances and time-zones, so be sure to take these items into consideration before cut-over. Applications such as Skykick may be leveraged to assist you with cut-over.
For the Exchange environment:
- Distributions lists
- Administrative email accounts
- Contacts and forwarders
- Currently hosted domains:
- DNS settings & ownership
- If you’re only removing 1 domain from a multi-domain environment, how the existing email users will contact the newly migrated Office 365 users (so you don’t point to the current Exchange environment to try and email them).
- Confirming ownership and registering multiple domains within the Office 365 portal.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when you want to move to Office 365. If you are considering moving to Office 365 or you need assistance with your Office 365 migration, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org