I need to make the switch to Microsoft 365 but don’t know how

There are many benefits of switching to Microsoft 365. From your organisation’s perspective, Microsoft 365 uses pay as you go licensing, meaning you pay for only what you need and won’t need to buy more licences than necessary to ensure you are correctly licenced. This means it is easy to scale up or down, depending on your organisational needs at any given time, so you can easily buy additional licences, and stop paying for ones you don’t need. Microsoft 365 and the tools it contains will make it easier to manage, audit and control what your users are doing.

You can reduce the amount of on-premise infrastructure you need to support Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and Skype. And because it is cloud-based, Microsoft 365 keeps itself up to date by default, meaning your users will always have access to the latest, most secure versions of all its applications. There are benefits from a user perspective too. It is intuitive and easy to use because it’s targeted at the user, not the administrator. The applications in Microsoft 365 will be familiar to your staff, including standard tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, storage and document management services like OneDrive and SharePoint, and communication and collaboration apps like Teams and Yammer.

For advanced users, programmes like MyAnalytics can help create better work habits. At the same time, PowerApps enable users to easily create bespoke mobile and web applications to manage a wide variety of business functions. It can be accessed anywhere, and on any device, via an internet connection, making communication and collaboration between your staff more straightforward, and making your organisation more agile and flexible. It’s also safe and secure, with a guaranteed uptime of 99.9%, helping to streamline the efficiency and enhance the productivity of your workforce.

How do I make the switch to Microsoft 365?

Making the decision to switch to Microsoft 365 is probably an easy one for your organisation to take. What is more challenging is designing, implementing and managing your migration in the right way to ensure you get the maximum benefit from your investment, but also minimise any potential issues or pitfalls. Here are a few key things to bear in mind to help make your switch to Microsoft 365 a success:

Create a strategy

As with every other aspect of your organisation’s ICT, creating a strategy at the outset is key to making your Microsoft 365 migration a success. At the very least, you’ll need an understanding of what you are looking to achieve from your migration, along with an idea of what your minimum viable solution will look like. This means identifying which components of Microsoft 365 will bring the most value to your organisation at the initial point of migration, plus any elements you may wish to add in later. Typically, organisations choose Exchange (for email), SharePoint (for document management), OneDrive (for personal file storage), and Teams (for instant messaging/communication), plus a few other standard applications, including the usual Office suite of products.

Identify the required licensing

There are several Microsoft 365 licensing options available, and the one you will go for will depend on the type of organisation you are. Do you need a Business or Enterprise licence, or are you a not-for-profit? Also, have you considered what features you want to be licenced to use? These should all be considered as part of your strategy before you decide on the best option for you.

Identify required remediation activity

Before you start, you’ll need to identify and understand the activities your organisation will need to take to prepare your existing environment, so it’s ready to migrate. Typically, the amount of remediation work will relate to the complexity of your existing environment, your network connectivity, firewalls and proxy servers, and your active directory, Exchange and SharePoint environments, among others. Your remediation activity needs to be documented, to give you a checklist to work through before migration can begin.

In the first instance, we would recommend using Microsoft Premier support or Microsoft FastTrack to complete the checks. Once this has been completed, AMDH will work with you to complete the remediation of the issues identified. We have a wealth of experience in Microsoft 365 migration in public sector organisations and SMEs and can help develop an appropriate plan of action, based on the depth and complexity of your system requirements.

Complete remedial activities

Once you have identified the remediation activities that need to take place, you need to press ahead with doing them.
This could take several months to complete, depending on what’s been identified. Again, AMDH can help your organisation manage this phase to ensure it is completed as quickly and thoroughly as possible, leaving you with the right foundations in place to make your migration a success.

Initial Setup

Your actual migration will start with the setup of your new environment’s baseline configuration. This will establish how Microsoft 365 will identify who your users are and let them in, along with setting up hybrid Exchange and SharePoint if required, apply and configure security options and complete any necessary network uplifts, such as increasing internet bandwidth.

Migration

Once all the above has been done, it’s time to start your migration. Most organisations tend to start by migrating users’ email accounts and SharePoint sites, but exact details will depend on the defined minimum viable solution in your Microsoft 365 strategy. Again, an external ICT consultant like AMDH will be able to provide the technical leadership and project management required to help make your migration a success.

Find out more

AMDH Services Ltd has a wealth of experience in Microsoft 365 design and migration. As an accredited Microsoft Partner, we can help you understand your organisation’s current environment and plan how to get your existing services into Microsoft 365. We can review the licensing you require for Microsoft 365 and, as a Microsoft Cloud Services Provider, supply the licences you need. We can also provide you with the best technical expertise at the right price to enhance the overall value of your investment in our services. To find out more, get in touch for an informal chat and a free consultation.