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Why Office 365 Is Not a Do-It-Yourself Move

By the DynaSis Team

With fewer than eight percent of companies (of all sizes) adopting Office 365 (per a May 2014 Bitglass survey of 81,000 firms), we have to ask ourselves, “What is holding organizations back?” Office 365 is a great product, and its subscription model makes it affordable for firms of all sizes while eliminating the hassle of licensing upgrades. Yet, adoption has been slow.

Based upon investigation and our experience, we postulate that several factors are impacting organizations’ decisions. One reason may be concerns about cloud security. Per the Bitglass survey mentioned above, 42% of companies are currently eschewing cloud adoption due to security concerns.

We find this development unfortunate, because the cloud absolutely can be safe with stringent security mechanisms and a reputable provider. However, that is a discussion for a different article. For the purposes of this discussion, it is evident that even this amount of “cloud concern” cannot be the only factor hampering Office 365 adoption.

In our opinion, another issue is the complexity of the move, itself. Office 365 is a great productivity tool, once it is up and running. However, implementing it is more involved than most organizations realize and ongoing operation is not completely hands-off. Consider these key tasks involved in the migration:

  • Determine which versions of on-premise Office are running and who is using them. Decide if everyone is a migration candidate.
  • Choose an Office 365 model. There is a variety of price points for the offerings, each of which includes a different set of applications and tools.
  • Install the on-premise versions of all applications on user’s machines and devices (up to five per user), potentially with hardware upgrades being involved.
  • Document all email accounts and confirm which ones should move to Office 365. If they are web-based, determine if they should remain open and accessible individually (Office 365 will sync with rather than replace them) or if the users can migrate to Office 365’s email service completely. Back up the email stores and import them into Office 365. Notify all contacts of new email addresses, if appropriate.

After migration, the organization will also need someone to administer Office 365 and provide Help Desk support. Commonly requested support issues include resetting passwords, setting mailbox and/or folder permissions, and more.

We suspect (and have heard from others) that many companies run the Office 365 “trial” with the intention of adopting it fully. Then, they realize they do not have the time and expertise to merge all their Office resources and set up Office 365 completely. Alternatively, they end up with a partial migration that creates a mess and so abandon the product. In other words, they cannot manage a do-it-yourself move.

Microsoft recently initiated a program, called Fasttrack, designed to help companies get Office 365 up and running smoothly. Unfortunately for small and medium sized business owners, it is optimized for installations of 150 seats or more, and all of the help is remote or online. It also cannot start until a company purchases Office 365. Taking such an approach extends adoption time, because organizations cannot work with a tech team to perform advance planning.

For any company wishing to adopt Office 365, we recommend working with a local IT expert that has technological competence with Office 365 migration and management. We just happen to be one of those firms, so if you would like to know more or discuss such a solution, please fill out our inquiry form or give us a call at (770) 569-4600.

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